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This article contains information that is for general information only and should not be used for the basis of making any decisions regarding education or anything else. It is solely the writer’s opinion of the writer’s experience of one open day at the school and the writer’s interactions with the people present on that day. The writer’s article is purely subjective. Facts and information may or may not be complete, accurate, reliable or valid reflection of the school in question.

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Best of luck with your search for the perfect school!

Tour Details

Thuy Pham the founder of Spectrum Tuition invited me on a personal tour of the Oakleigh branch of Spectrum run at Amsleigh Park Primary School

Stephanie and Jonas the franchisees of Oakleigh joined for some of the tour

Classes were being run at the time and I was able to sit in for about 10 mins in a scholarship class 

We didn’t formally meet any students but a few students came up to chat to Thuy while I was there

Overview of Spectrum Tuition

Spectrum Tuition is a tuition company that runs classes on Saturday and / or Sunday mornings in 13 locations around Melbourne.  The classes are run at campuses of local schools, using the empty classrooms of schools on the weekends.  

Rather than 1:1 tuition, tutors teach classes of about 10-15 students ( max 15 students ) in a classroom setting similar to school. Children are separated into their level of ability rather than based on age.  

At the Oakleigh campus, there were around 100 kids taking classes at Amsleigh Park Primary School on the Saturday morning when I visited.  

Spectrum only teaches foundational subjects of English and Maths.  They offer English and maths levels from Prep to year 12.  The classes run from 9.30 to 12.45 and include 90 minutes of maths, 15 minute break then 90 minutes of English.  

Spectrum offers tuition from Prep to year 12 and also offers tuition for private school scholarships and exam for entry into Melbourne selective schools.  Thuy says that Spectrum Tuition isn’t just for high achieving kids, students that are struggling at school benefit from the classes as well.  

The kids that go to Spectrum age range between prep to year 12 with the bulk of students from year 5 to year 8.  There are a mix of public and private students and gender balance is about 50:50. 

Spectrum Tuition Founder’s View 

Thuy is a woman with drive and a passion for education.  Spectrum Tuition was founded in 2001 by Thuy when she was only 18 years old and tutoring local kids in her area.  She has since gained many qualifications to further her expertise including Bachelors of Commerce, Arts and Teaching.  She is often featured in the media including Forbes, Business Insider and SBS and has written articles for media such as The Age. Her passion for education is obvious and she has dedicated her entire career so far to the improvement of education.  

Thuy’s view is that the Australian education system is in disarray with the shortage of teachers and often unsystematic way schools are run.  What she saw in her years of doing rounds at schools is that there is a huge inconsistency in education standards across schools.  There are some schools that have a more systematic method of teaching and some schools where what and how students are taught is very much ad hoc and dependent on who is teaching.  

Her view is that teachers often suffer from overwhelm and burn out as often they have to write lesson plans from scratch each time the material is presented rather than working from set lesson plans.  She says it’s a systems and a mentality issue rather than the fault of anyone in particular.  

She cites an example of a pre-service  teacher who, due to a staff shortages, was assigned  a legal studies class, despite having no background in legal studies AND having to generate a lesson plan on her own, when there was already one available.  Apparently this is common practice in schools and teachers are often asked to plan out their own lessons each year rather than working with set plans.  This leads to overworking of teachers and a haphazard approach to student learning.

This situation is confirmed by Stephanie, the Oakleigh franchisee who owns 2 additional franchises and who is an ex school teacher.  

Thuy feels passionately that this should not be the case if  classes were taught with set lesson plans set to the curriculum each year.  Then, the lesson plans can be refined and retaught every year leading to better outcomes for both teachers and students.  

Over about 20 years, Spectrum has grown from a local tutoring school to currently around 1000 students over 13 branches across Melbourne and will be starting up its first branch in Sydney in 2025.  

Underpinning the success of Spectrum are Thuy’s meticulous lesson plans in the form of individual workbooks with revision questions, concept explanations, examples and problems that are worked through each class.   Each 90 minute class is based on the material in one workbook, which the students work through during the class.  The workbooks are based on the Australian curriculum and used across all branches ensuring consistency of teaching.  

There is also a rigorous quality assurance process of tutor assessments each term to ensure the quality of teaching is of a high standard.  

Despite such huge growth, when questioned, what is the end goal of Spectrum? Thuy answers, it’s not in the numbers.  She says it’s not about how many branches of Spectrum there are, but how can Spectrum start a revolution in education in Australia.  

Thuy believes that all children should have access to the high quality materials and class plans for education.  Her aim is to get her system into schools to improve the system. 

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Spectrum Tuition Philosophy / Difference 

Thuy says that the difference between Spectrum and other tuition companies is that the material is based on the Australian curriculum and actually taught to students.  It’s not  memorisation practice.  It’s also not  computer based or just coaching through practice exams.  

What is taught at Spectrum are lesson plans based on the Australian curriculum.  All tutors use the lesson plans developed especially by Thuy for Spectrum.  This allows a lot of control over what is taught, how it is taught and when it is taught.  Having all classes use the teaching material created avoids the issues of the teachers having to reinvent the wheel each time the content is delivered.  The lesson plans are also continuously refined over the years.  

Each 90 minute class is highly structured.  There is time for revision of the previous class, time for teaching the material and time to work through problems on their own.  Each session a separate workbook is completed by each student which is then handed in for marking by the tutors.  

Tutors at Spectrum Tuition 

Tutors who work at Spectrum are all high achieving university students.  The tutors are selected on stringent criteria including mindset, attitude as well as an ATAR of over 90.  

Additionally they look for commitment to the role and ability to work Saturdays and Sundays.  Many of their tutors stay on for the length of their degree which helps with consistency for students.   

Stephanie and Thuy say that tutor jobs are highly sought after because of the personal development that comes with the role.  For a part time job, there is a lot of training and the opportunity to progress to roles higher up in the organisation.  

When starting out, tutors go through an online training course and are then slowly guided into taking classes of their own.  Tutors are assessed and observed every term and their marking is audited to ensure that they are delivering the classes to a high level.  

Spectrum also has morning meetings and tutorials teaching tutors skills like “how to encourage participation”, “ how to explain concepts” etc.  


I was invited to sit in to observe a scholarship math class.  Students were studious and engaged with the class and the tutor.  They were attentive and obviously intelligent, well-behaved kids who were there to learn.  Although quiet, I wouldn’t describe them as subdued nor was the class overly strict – there were a few kids casually working on the floor.  

A couple of pleasant interactions occurred while I was visiting:

  1.  An ex student came to visit her tutor and give her the good news that she got a place at MacRob – a highly competitive selective school.  She came with her parents to thank her tutor. 
  1. A young grade 5 student came up to chat to Thuy and expressed her gratitude for the classes.  She obviously knew Thuy quite well and came up to chat to her about her new school which she has just got a scholarship into.  

Thuy told me an inspiring story of a ex-Spectrum student who was a year 8 student at a school in Melbourne’s Western suburbs.  She desperately wanted to go to MacRob ( an all girls selective school ) because it was the only way out of a bullying situation happening at her school.  

After assessment, it was found that her English level was good but her maths was at a year 5 level and she needed to be at year 10 level to have a chance at sitting the selective school exam.  

She started at Spectrum, stuck to a personalised plan that was developed for her and after 6 months of tuition,  she ended up not only successfully entering MacRob but achieved in the top 11% for maths.  She stopped tuition after entering MacRob.  

Thuy explained clearly this child was clever, but had been let down by the school system.  Once she had high quality, targeted teaching, she was able to excel.  

Final words 

As parents, I think we entrust our children to an education system most of us don’t fully understand.  It always concerns me to hear about teacher burnout and shortages in the media and think this can’t be a good thing for the education of kids.  

It’s inspiring to hear that Thuy seems to have come up with a high quality, systematic way of teaching the curriculum and that she has her eyes set on introducing it into schools eventually.  

With a drive, belief and a mission like hers, I think it’s only a matter of time.  

If you are interested in learning more about Spectrum Tuition, please visit their website www.spectrumtuition.com

Spectrum Tuition is a sponsor of Melbourne Schools. Learn more about them here​ *

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