Report highlights: COVID Intensive Learning Support Program

What the report is about

This audit examined a state-wide program to provide small-group tuition to students disadvantaged by the move to learning from home during 2020.

The audit assessed the design and implementation of the program.

What we found

The program design was based on research and data showing learning loss during 2020. 

The Department rapidly planned and developed the policy design and guidelines for schools. 

Governance arrangements matured during program delivery.

The Department changed the models for funding schools but did not clearly explain the reasons for doing so.

Government schools with over 900 students were disadvantaged by the funding model compared to smaller schools. 

Guidelines, resources and professional learning helped schools implement the program.

Staff eligibility for the program was expanded after reported difficulties in recruiting qualified teachers in some areas. 

Online tuition and third-party provider options were developed throughout the program.

There were issues with the quality and timeliness of data used to monitor school progress. 

Evaluation arrangements were developed early in the program.

Data limitations mean the evaluation will not be able to fully assess all program objectives.

What we recommended

  1. Distributing funds between schools more equitably and improving communication of the funding methods.

  2. Clearer communication about the intended targeted group of students.

  3. Reviewing the time needed to administer the program.

  4. Improve support for educators other than qualified teachers.

  5. Offer the online tuition program to more schools.

  6. Analysis of the effects of learning from home during 2021 across equity groups and geographic areas.

  7. Working with universities to increase use of pre-service teachers in the program.

The report also identifies lessons learned for future programs.

Fast facts

  • $337m in total program funding. $289 million for government schools and $31 million for non government schools

  • 12 days to develop the policy and provide costings to Treasury 

  • 290,000 targeted students in government schools and 31,000 in non government schools

  • 80% of schools were providing small group tuition by the target start date of Week 6, Term 1

  • 2–4 months was the estimated student learning loss from the move to learning from home during 2020

  • 7,600 tutors engaged in the program as at September 2021.

Further information

Please contact Ian Goodwin, Deputy Auditor-General on 9275 7347 or by email.