A report today says some parents are paying out to push their kids to the front of the class, now employing speech pathologists to give their kids an edge in the nation-wide testing scheme.

A Senate inquiry into NAPLAN has heard some parents are claiming rebates on the therapy, adamant that its more than just tutoring. In a submission to the inquiry one Sydney-based assistant principal said she knew of several worried parents calling in the experts, since the national test scores began being published in 2010.

If a GP agrees a child is suffering a medical condition, Medicare rebates for speech pathology are available for up to $451.50 per year - closer to $1000 under some private plans. With several pathologists now advertising NAPLAN-specific help, they say their services deal more with the ‘fundamental precursors’ for literacy; vocabulary, grammar and the ability to formulate meaningful sentences.

The standardised NAPLAN tests were first introduced in 2008, a senate inquiry looking at their effect will commence hearings today in Melbourne.