When is the Right Time to Start Tutoring?

As an experienced educator, I’m often asked by parents when is the right time to start tutoring.

  • Prior to the Covid-19 Pandemic, we did not enrol students before their third year of school.
  • Throughout 2020 and 2021, we assisted parents with home schooling children of all ages.
  • In 2022, after multiple lockdowns in Australia and the resultant massive disruption to learning, we placed a greater focus on closing knowledge gaps of students at all ages.
  • In 2023, we have seen a high level of students returning to our premises for onsite tutoring. Many requiring support with knowledge gaps.
  • In 2024, we will continue to provide the flexibility of both onsite and online tutoring with a continued emphasis of closing knowledge gaps and supporting individuals wanting to gain an edge with their studies.

The right time to start tutoring is a fluid concept and is largely dictated by a child’s learning needs and other environmental factors.

All children have a thirst for knowledge and their minds are open to learning. However, as academic tutoring is delivered in a formal setting, it requires a child to have the ability to sit and engage with their tutor.

In our experience, the best results are obtained by students of any age when they willingly engage with one-on-one tutoring.

Younger Children

 Is small group or one on one tutoring best for younger children? 

  • Small group academic tutoring requires great skill by a tutor to engage younger students in a group after a long day at school.
  • Invariably this can lead to more of a babysitting role than the delivery of learning due to the concentration span of younger children.

For younger students, we recommend one on one tutoring. This should preferably be a weekend tutoring session as the mind of younger students is always fresher after a restful night. 

Primary School Students

How will I know if my child needs a tutor? 

  • Not keeping up in class, unable or unwilling to complete homework or not wanting to go to school are all signs of a child facing challenges with their learning.
  • Social interactions at school can also impact learning, both positively and negatively. It is important to establish there is no underlying problem of bullying that is impeding a child’s ability to learn.

Integral to engaging primary school students with learning is ensuring they are matched with a tutor that is also a role model. This allows for tutoring sessions to not only assist with catching up academically but also provides an avenue for developing life skills, social interactions, resilience and knowing how to speak up when confronted with issues.

Junior High School Students

Should we take the wait and see approach to the school year? 

  • Every child’s learning journey is different, so it’s often difficult to determine the right time to engage a tutor.
  • Each high school year is challenging to navigate. There are new subjects, new concepts within subjects, new teachers, new friendship groups and new demands on time as a result of increasing co-curricular and extra-curricular activities.

The consolidating, strengthening and expanding of subject knowledge and subject technical skills are important for Year 7-10 students. This allows for a strong foundation to be built in readiness for senior high school. Staying on track, challenging a student to reach their full potential, closing content knowledge gaps, and providing a supportive one on one environment for students facing challenges with their learning or school environment are all valid reasons for engaging a tutor.

It is never too late to engage a tutor. However, for junior high school students the advantages of engaging a tutor at the beginning of the academic year provides the best opportunity to a) secure an experienced tutor, b) master a subject from the beginning, c) be proactive on closing content knowledge gaps, and d) become familiar with curriculum so that class time is used to consolidate knowledge.

Senior High School Students

When is the best time to engage a subject specific tutor?

  • It is not unheard of, for senior students these days to have a tutor for every subject.
  • Engaging a role model tutor at the beginning of your VCE or IB journey allows you to set up your study programme the right way.

Mastering a subject takes time and the earlier you start in the year the more time you have to develop your understanding of subject concepts and topics. Students who have undertaken tutoring during their earlier school years often have solidified their study skills and can focus on subject mastery.  If a senior student is new to tutoring, then it is always recommended to commence tutoring as early as possible. Starting tutoring at the end of Year 10 sets up a summer holiday study programme in readiness for Year 11.

Tutoring in all subjects is not always necessary. Strategically focused tutoring on a subject or subjects is recommended. English and certain mathematical subjects are pre-requisites for many tertiary courses and tutoring in these subjects is always advised to maximise results.

Learning Differences

If a child in their early years of schooling is not learning at the expected level, then the earlier the intervention the better in order to identify the issue and take remedial action. At any age tutoring should not be the first enquiry you make as a parent. You need to establish what are the learning concerns via the school and adopt a multi-pronged approach. 

  • If the established concern is a gap in content knowledge, then securing a tutor as early as possible in the academic year is highly recommended.
  • If the concern is more focused on challenges with learning, then you may need to consult health professionals such as speech pathologists, occupational therapists, ophthalmologists and or audiologists.

Anxiety in children and young adults is a real and growing concern and has a significant impact on an individual’s ability to learn. 

  • Social media and the fallout from the pandemic as a result of multiple lockdowns has exacerbated anxiety in our younger generation.
  • There is currently an extensive waiting period for appointments with psychologists specialising in issues faced by young persons. Therefore, the first stop for learning challenges should be your family GP to discuss your concerns and they will provide you with the correct referrals.
  • This process can be frustrating given the delays in seeing specialists and getting the right plan of action in place. There are, however, specialised health groups that can provide the requisite testing all in one place.

Your GP will act as the central point in the process. Once a plan of action is outlined it often requires action from the school, health professionals and at home. Health professionals will sometimes recommend one on one tutoring to supplement what they are doing.

We work closely with speech pathologists, psychologists, specialised learning diagnostic groups and schools. When provided with a recommended learning plan by a health professional, we ensure this is incorporated into a weekly tutoring session.

There is no substitute for face-to-face learning at the younger age. Online learning has its place but active learning by doing in a supportive environment is strongly recommended for this age group in particular.

Older children also benefit from face-to-face learning. However, when considering whether face to face or online is the right choice for the child, other factors need to be taken into consideration such as the proximity of the learning centre, other family commitments and the engagement of the right tutor.

Gifted Children

Some children grasp learning concepts earlier than others. Sometimes these leaps in knowledge even out in the first few years of schooling. Parents of young children should be mindful not to push academic tutoring ahead of socialisation and participation in group activities such as sport and movement. A child at any age that is ahead in their learning should be assessed as to how to ensure they remain an active learner.

  • If you and or your child's school has recognised a leap in your child’s learning abilities, then again talking to the right professionals is the first step in putting a plan of action in place to ensure your child remains stimulated and engaged with learning throughout their schooling.
  • Academic tutoring of gifted children also requires careful skills to ensure current curriculum is bedded down before moving onto more advanced work.
  • We often work with a child’s teacher or home room teacher to ensure we are working alongside the school’s curriculum and homework set by the school.

The Avivo Way

At Avivo Elite Tutoring, we strive to provide a tutoring service that goes beyond subject learning by engaging young high achieving role model tutors. Continuity in tutoring, instilling good study habits, and providing strategies to manage factors that affect students during their school years including school and study stress are all part of the service we pride ourselves on.

If you feel now is the time to engage a tutor, please complete our enquiry form and we will be touch to discuss your child's learning needs.


Written by Sonia Francis | Founder | Managing Director | Avivo Elite Tutoring