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National Literacy and Numeracy Week.



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Commonwealth Minister for Education, Science and Training

Media Release

NATIONAL LITERACY AND NUMERACY WEEK

21 May, 2002 MIN 75/02

Today I have pleasure in announcing arrangements for the 2002 National Literacy and Numeracy Week.

National Literacy and Numeracy Week (NLNW), to be held from 2 to 8 September this year, highlights the importance to Australia of all students developing effective literacy and numeracy skills.

The week demonstrates and celebrates the hard work of schools and their communities and acknowledges the outstanding results that teachers and students are achieving through innovation and exemplary teaching and learning practices.

The Howard Government will provide a total of $200,000 in awards to schools able to demonstrate that they are having a positive, measurable impact on their students’ literacy and numeracy achievements.

The Government has a firm belief that appropriate partnerships between business, governments and the community can help to build individuals’ skills, benefit society and enrich all our lives. This year’s NLNW sponsors include Dymocks Literacy Foundation, the Commonwealth Bank, Australia Post, Faber-Castell, Lovatts Crosswords and Puzzles, Franklin Electronic Publishers, Coles supermarkets and the AFL.

These important sponsors are enthusiastic in their commitment to improving literacy and numeracy skills and know they can help to create better understanding of the importance of children developing these vital skills early in their lives.

Commonwealth Bank CEO, David Murray, said the Bank sought to enhance levels of literacy and numeracy with its program of primary school e-Learning Grants.

"All Australian primary schools are eligible to apply for one of seventy $5,000 e-Learning Grants - whether they are just starting out with online learning or already have well established technology based learning programs," Mr Murray said.

Applications for grants close on 28 June 2002.

Another first for NLNW 2002 is the incorporation of National Simultaneous Story Time into the week. Story Time is an initiative of the Australian Library and Information Association and promotes improved literacy by encouraging schools and early childhood centres to read the same book, simultaneously, to 3 to 8 year old children, across Australia. Story Time will take place at 11am Eastern Standard Time, on 4 September.

Reading, writing and numeracy skills are the foundation for achievement for the rest of our lives.

This is why parents must be reassured that their children are succeeding and keeping up at school. To ensure this happens the Commonwealth Government has provided strong leadership to ensure that students in Years three, five and seven are assessed against national benchmarks in literacy and numeracy. This testing measures students’ literacy and numeracy progress and identifies potential problems so that they can more quickly and appropriately be addressed by schools.

We have now seen the release of two years’ literacy data and the first year of numeracy data that show most students are achieving an acceptable level. I am encouraged by the results so far which show in 2000, some 92.5% of Year 3 students across Australia met the reading benchmark, with some 87.4% of Year 5 students meeting the standard. The results in numeracy were similar, with some 92.7% of Year 3 students and some 89.6% of Year 5 students meeting the benchmark.

But there is still work to be done. There are still students who need help to achieve satisfactory standards and the Commonwealth will maintain its commitment to ensuring that they are supported.

The Government is determined to push ahead with reforms that ensure that parents are well informed about their children’s progress at school.

I urge all schools to support National Literacy and Numeracy Week.

For further information also see: www.dest.gov.au/literacyandnumeracyweek

For further information: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095

DEST: Alison Richens 0412 652 590

Media Release Attachment

NATIONAL LITERACY AND NUMERACY WEEK

21 May, 2002

NLNW Awards

This year in NLNW, the Government will provide $200,000 in cash awards to schools that have demonstrated excellence in teaching literacy and numeracy. A total of 14 Excellence Awards of $10,000 each, and 60 Achievements Awards of $1,000 each will be made to schools that can show that they are having a substantial, positive impact on their students’ literacy and numeracy learning.

Awards go to schools that are able to show improvement, not just those scoring highest in literacy and numeracy levels. Award-winning schools will be able to use their prize money for a range of activities to support further improvements in literacy and numeracy.

Awards are open to all schools catering for students up to Year 10. Schools applying for awards must demonstrate that they are implementing programs that have made a positive, measurable impact on their students’ literacy and numeracy achievement. Innovation, sustainability and school community support/participation are other important criteria.

The NLNW Awards will be presented by Dr Nelson at a special ceremony in Sydney on 30 August 2002.

NLNW Sponsors

Sponsors will provide prizes and promotional support throughout the week. Prizes they donate will be distributed through various media promotions including competitions and give-aways and as gifts to Excellence award winning schools.

The Commonwealth Bank is a new sponsor of NLNW in 2002. For the first time, as part of its ongoing commitment to education, the Commonwealth Bank will offer a total of $350,000 in e-Learning Grants to primary schools, in conjunction with NLNW. Seventy schools will have the chance to secure a $5,000 grant to develop ways of e-learning and teaching that complement the aims of National Literacy and Numeracy Week.

See the website for more details at www.dest.gov.au/literacyandnumeracyweek

National Simultaneous Story Time

National Simultaneous Story Time (Story Time) is an exciting new addition to National Literacy and Numeracy Week 2002. Story Time is an initiative of the Australian Library and Information Association. It has a strong literacy focus and aims, through the novelty of a national, simultaneous event, to emphasise the importance of young children learning to read and importantly, learning to enjoy reading. The book to be read this year is Mrs Wilkinson’s Chooks, by Melbourne author Leone Peguero and illustrator Mike Spoor. Story time hopes to have as many children as possible reading the same book, at the same time, right around Australia. Story Time focuses on libraries, both school and public and aims to involve children aged 3 to 8 years.

Ms Peguero will be attending the special function at Bronte Public School today.

Literacy and Numeracy Champions

Literacy and Numeracy Champions are special Australians who have a personal commitment to spreading the message about the vital importance of ensuring that all our young people develop adequate literacy and numeracy skills to give them the best possible chance to complete their education and participate fully in Australian society.

Champions will provide interviews in the lead up to and during NLNW 2002 and wherever possible, will be present at official NLNW functions.

Other Literacy Champions for 2002 include children’s authors, Margaret Clark, Gary Crew, Phil Cummings, Glyn Parry and Kim Caraher.

The contribution these people make to promote the value of children’s literacy and numeracy learning to the wider community is greatly appreciated and should not be underestimated. Their status as role models for young people makes them powerful allies in what is, after all, an issue for all Australians.

Previous winners of NLNW Awards

(Details of the 2001 Winners can be found at http://www.dest.gov.au/literacyandnumeracyweek/2001winners.htm)

Improving literacy and numeracy is a collaborative effort. Each year through NLNW, inspirational stories emerge of schools tackling unique and difficult challenges; of schools working with their communities to improve the learning environment for their students, and in so doing, improving learning and creating better futures. Three examples are:

1. In the Northern Territory, a small Indigenous school on Groote Eylandt (in the Gulf of Carpentaria) faced significant issues of non attendance and lack of culturally appropriate material for its literacy program. The Angurugu school community worked together to develop books based on people and events in the local area. The books cover just about every area of the children’s lives, including ‘special’ topics like hunting but mainly ‘everyday’ subjects like shopping, playing, art, sport and

maths. The books were (and are) a huge hit and had the added benefits of increasing attendance and engagement, leading to better literacy scores for the students.

2. In 1998, St Christopher’s Primary School in Melbourne’s Airport West had the worst literacy test results in the archdiocese of Melbourne. These days, when St Christopher’s examine their results, they are above the all schools average in every area. So successful has been the current literacy program that teachers from other schools regularly visit to see the program in place. The improvements came as the result of a major cultural change in the school, with a strong commitment to resources, time and professional development. Parents too have played an important role in achieving success. The school provides training for parents so that they can act in a support role both in the classroom and at home.

3. Burwood Public School has a school population that is 89.1% non-English speaking background with children largely drawn from the Asia-Pacific region, Korea and China. In 1996, the school recognised the need for a paradigm shift from the traditional rote learning of number facts that is predominant within the culture of their student population to authentic numeracy. They designed a program that changed the whole school learning environment through the use of language and literacy anchored in authentic numeracy tasks linked across all the key learning areas. Initially designed as a three year program with a variety of initiatives to be undertaken over that period, it now underpins all numeracy teaching because of the staff’s on-going commitment to best teaching practice and the needs of the students. School assessment indicates that impressive progress has been made to raise numeracy standards at the school, particularly in the areas of estimating, inferring and problem-solving.