Targeting literacy and numeracy

The NSW Government will fund the employment of additional 200 full-time equivalent teachers to target underperformance in literacy and numeracy across government and non-government schools.

Premier Barry O'Farrell said the investment of $24 million in 2012 is the start of a government plan to provide an extra 900 teachers across NSW schools.

The Minister for Education, Adrian Piccoli also announced the NSW Government had accepted the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Group on Literacy and Numeracy established last year.

"Under the expert leadership of Dr Ken Boston AO, the advisory group has recommended a plan of action to boost the literacy and numeracy of students in NSW and those recommendations will now be implemented," Mr Piccoli said.

The key recommendations of the advisory group are:

  • early identification of the level of attainment in literacy and numeracy of each individual child and tailoring a specific program of learning to that child's needs
  • change in teaching practice from a focus on the whole class to a focus on the needs of the individual student
  • using tiered interventions according to need where remediation in literacy or numeracy is needed.

Mr Piccoli said the change to the focus on the needs of individual students will involve three key elements:

  • personalised learning
  • diagnostic assessment
  • teacher professional development in the classroom under the direction of an instructional leader.

"What the Ministerial Advisory Group has made clear, is that not all students requiring special attention were being identified and given the appropriate attention – that needs to change," Mr Piccoli said.

Fifty hands-on instructional leaders will be appointed to public schools with the greatest need, with the first five appointed by the end of May.

A five-year independent evaluation of the program will start this year.

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