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Life as a Tutor with The Smith Family's Catch-up Learning Program

Life as a Tutor with The Smith Family’s Catch-up Learning Program

We sit down with three of our tutors — Sally, Trent and Susan, to hear about the highs and the lessons of the program and get their advice for tutors thinking about applying. 

2021 has been a big year for ClassCover. Nine months in, and as well as rolling out a bunch of new features on the app, we have partnered with The Smith Family to help them expand the Catch-up Learning Program.   

Kids from lower socioeconomic backgrounds were already less likely than other students to achieve while at school and access greater outcomes after graduation, per research conducted by the organisation. When COVID hit, there was the potential for the gap to widen.  

With schools pivoting from in-person to remote learning for millions of kids around the country, a lack of access to digital tools left already disadvantaged youth at serious risk of falling even further behind. Enter — the Catch-up Learning Program.  

With a focus on boosting literacy and numeracy performance for primary-aged kids, The Smith Family leveraged ClassCover’s platform of over 50,000 teachers to kick off a 100-student pilot. At a time when in-school opportunities for relief teachers were few and far between, it wasn’t hard to find talented educators willing to lend their time to help kids in need.  

It’s no surprise then that the results of the 2021 pilot have been better than anyone could have expected. In literacy, 7 in 10 students made more progress than anticipated, with 6 in 10 reaching or surpassing the standard of their year level. Numeracy skills in general were weaker for students in the program. That said, 60% of students improved their performance in line with what was expected.  

So after the success of the first season, the program is set to be expanded into 2022 with a larger group of students. Here’s what ClassCover founder and CEO, Ben Grozier had to say about the news. 

“ClassCover could not be prouder to again be partnering with The Smith Family to connect hundreds of casual relief teachers seeking additional income with some of Australia’s most disadvantaged children. 

“We were elated with the result in the 2020/21 pilot. With refinement and what we’ve learnt from version one with us, we are highly confident that not only will be assisting even more children, the results will be even better.” 

Continuing our partnership, ClassCover is on the lookout for passionate educators to join our band of tutors. With that in mind, we sat down with three of our tutors from the 2021 program to get their take on the experience.  


You could say that Sally hasn’t taken the traditional path of an educator. From journalist to tutor, by way of tertiary educator plus stints as a NAPLAN marker and curriculum writer, Sally is the first to call out her non-traditional career trajectory.  

“I’m definitely not your typical teacher. I’ve tried to use all my skills, so now I’m a higgledy-piggledy mishmash of experience.”  

Turns out, that mix of experience made Sally the perfect fit to join the Catch-up Learning Program’s initial pilot. Here’s what she had to say about her favourite experience from the program.  


Physical education teacher, Trent was looking for a way to use his skills to help needy kids. While he knew he would get something out of the program as well, he says he underestimated the true impact the program would have on him. 

“There’s always a positive aspect when you’re helping people. What I got out of it though was just how much this program has helped the students who would probably fall through the cracks in mainstream education. 

“When you have a kid come back saying, “I got this right in class” and they can’t wait to get back on and do some more work. For me, I didn’t expect it to be that rewarding but I looked forward to tutoring most afternoons then. I just loved to see that growth and the happiness in their face.”  

Here’s what Trent had to say about the impact the program can have on students.  


For Susan, the Catch-up Learning Program was the perfect fit for her lifestyle. In normal times outside of the pandemic, Susan works as a casual relief teacher. When widespread lockdowns across Sydney saw Susan contending with three home-schooling children, she looked for an alternative that would let her keep her work/life balance.  

Tutoring turned out to be the ideal solution, allowing her to work from home and keep an eye on her kids while using her teaching skills to help needy kids.  

Thinking about applying as a tutor with the Catch-up Learning Program? Here’s Susan’s advice.  

Applications are now open for the Catch-up Learning Program 2022. Learn more and apply 

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