Yes! The only staff who are not teachers are our administrative staff and, in some Centres, teacher aides. We employ teachers instead of university students because even though the teachers are much more expensive, they are education professionals - university students are not. They don’t understand the psychology of learning and do not have the experience to recognise idiosyncratic learning differences. Our tutors know how challenging learning is for some students. Our tutors empathise with the students and lead them caringly to understanding and improving performance. We do not use computer technicians, accountants, or engineers to teach mathematics because, while they know lots of maths, they don’t know the syllabus, don’t understand child development, and don’t know how to teach. That’s what you pay us for in the long run – our ability to teach.
Frontrunner Learning Centres puts your child first – so what we teach, and the timetable on which we teach it is tailored to what your child needs. We put your child at the centre of the learning, and that’s how tuition should be. These principles are the foundation of the Frontrunner Learning Centres Programme. A programme might take six months to retrain the student and inculcate a positive attitude and another 18 months to make the long term positive difference, so they do not need tutoring again. Many students elect to continue after they have caught up or are ahead of their peers so they can stay in front. We don’t run courses! Courses are time-limited, inflexible and seldom intensively target the areas of weakness where students often need help. Essentially that is because a course doesn’t consider the specific needs of each student. In that situation, a child must do what the course requires – in the set time that the course requires. A 10-week course is done in 10 weeks – whether or not the child has learned the content and skills. It is our view that courses fail students, not the other way around.
All the information from the assessment and the lessons remains the property of Frontrunner Learning Centres. It will never be passed on to other parties unless you ask us to, the law requires it or, in the rare case, if monies need to be recovered. Once a student is no longer enrolled, the information will be kept for five years under NSW legislation. After that, it will be destroyed. Any assessment results where parents have not enrolled will be destroyed after three months.
Students who are working with us towards improvement will, on average, improve basic skills at about twice the speed of school classes. That means that in 6 months at our Centre we see (on average) an improvement similar to 12 months of school. The actual rate of improvement will vary – some students take to different topics more readily than others. For instance, inherent differences in general ability, developmental factors, and a student’s home environment can influence the pace a child improves. Some of our students make impressive strides forward and then plateau for a while. At first, some of our students regress because they have to unlearn erroneous methods or concepts before learning new, more efficient, or correct ones. Active and conscientious participation in the Frontrunner Learning Centre’s programme is a strong predictor of success. Following instructions, completing homework, regular attendance and asking lots of questions combine to contribute to a positive tutoring experience. Of course, if a child does not follow instructions, if the parents do not make sure homework is completed, or attendance is irregular, or makeup sessions not done, learning will slow significantly.
We call it STUDYWORK because it develops study skills and it is work. Our STUDYWORK (aka homework) reinforces learning. Eighty minutes with their tutor is helpful and is the core of our curriculum. Attempting and completing the studywork we issue to practise the topic, concepts, and skills makes learning much more likely to be memorised. Practice makes perfect. You wouldn’t expect that football training once a week would turn a football player into an Australian representative – you would expect hard training both with the team and in the gym if there were a chance at representative football. We give the highly targeted studywork in relatively small amounts to make recall quicker and increase automaticity. Not doing the homework will slow the improvement. The homework will not interfere with what your children learn at school. On the contrary, it will augment and give your child greater confidence. However, we understand that your child has many other important activities, most notably, the growing up process. We need to make sure that every student gets time just to be a kid!
Your child should need no help with the homework we issue them after the first few weeks. If you do need to continue to help your child with their homework, please inform your centre owner! If we think your child is getting the work correct, we progress onto the next level or skill set. If you do not have time to call, it is OK to put a circle around the question number to knot the problem, don’t make it a big issue with your child. Your involvement in the learning process is also essential. We’ve found that parents who don’t come into the Centre to talk with us (or who only visit in person every few weeks) tend to stay for too short a time and often pull the children out before any long-term improvement can occur. That is not only a waste of the child’s work, but it’s also a waste of money – they would have been better not to have started at all.
Don’t argue! Don’t let your child choose the battleground. Use your impassionate parent voice to inform your child that they can attend their Frontrunner Learning Centre willingly, or they can attend unwillingly. Regardlessly, you are the parent, and you are doing what is right for them. If you are experiencing difficulties with this, make sure you tell us. We can offer support and will try to find ways of making it easier for you. We have lots of experience at this. In our experience, most students are pretty happy to be at the lesson – their problem is usually about actually travelling to the class.
Call before the lesson. That small courtesy costs little but allows us to use that empty spot for someone else’s catch-up lesson.
We take cash or cheque or EFTPOS. Some families prefer to pay over the internet as Direct Credits into our bank accounts. All payments are due in advance of the tutoring session on the day or the whole term in advance. We do not offer payment in arrears. There are discounts available for early payment of fees. Ask your centre owner if they provide an early bird discount.
Your payment covers the time we set aside to teach your child. You have booked a time that time is payable. If you don’t use that time, it must be paid either in advance or before the next session. However, in most instances, we allow you to make up the missed lesson within the current term. If your child misses a lesson, you need to pay for it at the next class; that way, you can budget effectively and so can the Centre.
Please feel welcome to communicate with your child’s tutor or the centre owner as often and regularly as you think necessary. We know that the more feedback from the students and their parents we receive, the better our partnership will work for your child. After the session, time is precious, so you might like to call your Frontrunner Learning Centre to talk to the centre owner, who can organise a meeting with your child’s tutor if they do not answer your query. Of course, your child’s tutor won’t stop teaching your child to talk to a parent – picking a child up late means missing out on talking to the teacher. Sometimes, just talking to the tutor will make things easier. When parents and tutors work together, really positive things happen for children. We have had lots of experience at getting children over their hurdles – after all, at some stage, everyone gets to the point where they don’t need to continue. That is when we can graduate them from the Get in Front part of our programme and move to the Stay in front extension part, or your child can try to do it on their own without our help.
Our contract of mutual obligation requires you to provide two week’s written notice of your intention to withdraw a student from their tutoring experience before the end of the current term. The two weeks notice before the end of the current term allows the Centre to finish any topic on which the child is working and doing a reassessment as long as it is not too close to a previous assessment. That way, you can have the most up-to-date results in your hand when you finish. You also need to fill in a Finishing Questionnaire. Completing the finishing questionnaire is your opportunity to tell us what we got right and what we got wrong. We always appreciate parental comments so that we can improve our service. Our goal is to be the best tutoring service by helping your child to realise their potential.
Frontrunner Learning Centres and its entire staff, whether teaching or administrative, comply with the following legislation as required of all educational consultancies:
- NSW Child Protection (Prohibited Employment) Act, 1998
- NSW Child Protection (Offenders Registration) Act, 2000
- NSW Working with Children Act, 2001
- NSW Children and Young Persons (Care and Protection) Act, 2005