(Wollemi) tutors are teachers, who apart from their classroom teaching take on an additional professional task that requires specific study and expertise. They are selected to fulfill this task according to individual preference, professional commitments, and personal suitability for working with individual students and parents. But all members of staff, whether they are tutors or not, are involved in a team approach based on the common awareness that they are educators of the whole person, above all, by their personal example of their own virtues. Extract from “Parents for Education”

Virginia Monagle in Kappa Delta Phi Record (Autumn 1993)

 

The personalized Tutorial System is the most distinctive feature of Wollemi. The tutors support parents in exercising their privilege and duty as primary educators. An individual tutor, from amongst the teachers of the school, is appointed to each student as his mentor and given the necessary training to do the job.

The tutor meets with the boy in regular fortnightly tutorials, and meets each term with the parents in interviews to review progress and establish priorities. The focus is on leading the young person to think for himself and to work on acquiring the balanced strengths that he will need in adult life. Through his rapport and friendship with the student, the tutor provides an effective service of personal example, guidance, and advice. He helps the student develop positive habits and qualities in areas of character development such as responsibility, thoughtfulness and good use of time. A young person who has received this support throughout the years of his schooling will draw great long term benefit: he will have grown in qualities of character, he will have learned to look more objectively at issues, to better reflect on his strengths and weaknesses, and to set and monitor his own goals.

The tutorial is also an effective reinforcement for parents. Parents comment on how helpful it is, particularly when their sons are in teenage years, to be able to rely on a trusted mentor to reinforce key values with one’s son. The tutor is ideally placed to coordinate, on behalf of the parents, the efforts of all who are contributing to the education of their son. He is able to provide objective suggestions and useful observations for both the parents and the child's teachers. Close cooperation between parents and tutor ensures success.

The tutorial system as it operates in Wollemi is unique to the PARED Schools in Australia. As far as we know there is no other tutorial system that is one on one, for all students, and involving all parents in regular interviews, in which tutors are prepared to offer all the time that is needed to students when a student has a particular need. Clearly such a structure requires a considerable increase in staffing. Yet in these times when so much is being rediscovered about the importance of mentors for young people, and when research is showing that just one significant adult can make all the difference in the life of a young person, it is just common sense to put our emphasis in this direction.