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Primary principals support federal government inflight to win literacy battle

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M ED IA R ELEA SE DR DAVID KEMP, MR Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs K3104 12 April 1999


“The National Literacy and Numeracy Plan is making an enormous positive impact in our primary schools,” said the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs, Dr David Kemp, today.

“Our children are the winners out of all of this. They are becoming better equipped with the vital life skills of reading, writing and counting that will prepare them for the life choices they will make,” said Dr Kemp.

Dr Kemp was announcing the findings of a study titled The Place o f Literacy and Numeracy in the Primary School Curriculum conducted by the Australian Primary Principals’ Association and the University o f Melbourne. The report investigated changes in the primary school curriculum over the past three years, and the priority given to literacy and numeracy in the primary school. It was based on a

survey o f nearly 500 primary schools.

The report shows that as a result of the implementation of the National Literacy Plan there is now a much greater emphasis on literacy in the early years.

“Despite the demands imposed by a rapidly expanding curriculum, the time and importance attached to literacy and numeracy teaching has increased. The project has shown that many primary schools and teachers are spending more time on developing the vitally important skills o f literacy and numeracy, and teachers should be commended for their efforts,” said Dr Kemp.

“This renewed commitment to literacy and numeracy in the early years of primary school is a direct result of the National Literacy and Numeracy Plan agreed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers of Education in 1997 ”

The National Literacy and Numeracy Goal agreed by Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers is That every child leaving primary school should he numerate, and be able to read, write and spell at an appropriate level.

The study found: • there is now greater clarity about the literacy standards that schools are expected to achieve; • many students arc making better progress in literacy and numeracy, over the last three years; • there are increased resources devoted to literacy, particularly for “at-risk” students;

• underachieving students have benefited most from the curriculum changes; • access to professional development and support has increased for literacy; • teachers’ confidence about ensuring success in literacy and numeracy has increased.

“Schools should be congratulated for being able to respond to the education needs o f our young students,” said Dr Kemp.

The release of this information supports the aims of the National Literacy Plan and the Commonwealth is looking forward to the imminent release of the literacy benchmarks in reading by all State and Territories. Copies o f the report available from website address: httny/

Media Contact: Samantha Herron 0412 639 754 or 02 627 77460