Report highlights need for action on Year 1 literacy, numeracy checks

Media Release
  • Minister for Education and Training

The Turnbull Government has released a landmark report from a panel of principals, teachers, speech specialists, academics and researchers into the need for literacy and numeracy checks for Australian Year 1 students.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said the report highlighted that early success in reading and number sense is a powerful predictor of later achievement and that Year 1 literacy and numeracy checks help teachers identify and support students who may be falling behind.

“We’ve seen national and international tests that highlight while Australia has an excellent education system, our results have stagnated or even declined in some case,” Minister Birmingham said.

“This report plainly highlights the need for action.

“The evidence is clear that early phonics and numeracy checks can help to boost outcomes for Australian students.

“The idea behind these checks is to ensure students don’t slip through the cracks. By identifying exactly where students are at in their development early at school, educators can intervene to give extra support to those who need it to stop them slipping behind the pack.

"Basic literacy and numeracy are the building blocks upon which future school success depends. The establishment of such skills is too important to be left to chance.

“Importantly, these skills checks are far from a confronting test but rather a light touch assessment that ensures teachers, parents and schools know at the earliest possible stage if children aren’t picking up reading or counting skills as quickly as they should, enabling them to intervene rapidly.

“Checks like these already happen at some schools around Australia but we cannot allow some students to be overlooked while others benefit from early identification. We must be focused on delivering reforms that evidence from teachers and researchers have shown us will boost student outcomes.

“We’ve locked in a new funding system for schools alongside an additional $23.4 billion investment and we need to focus on exactly how those extra resources are used to support students.”

Minister Birmingham welcomed the report as an independent examination of how literacy and numeracy checks can benefit Australian schoolchildren.

“I've already shared this report with state and territory ministers and hope that, when we review its findings together later this year, we can put politics aside to ensure Australian students get the support they need to succeed in their early years and throughout their school lives,” Minister Birmingham said.

“I’d like to thank Dr Jennifer Buckingham and the members of the expert advisory panel for their work on this report as well as their leadership and expertise on an issue that has the potential to significantly boost Australian student outcomes.

“While several literacy and numeracy checks already take place in some schools, the report highlights significant gaps in methodologies and content.

“This report outlines an overwhelming case for well-developed phonics and numeracy checks and I look forward to discussions with my state and territory colleagues and education authorities across the country about how trials and implementation can be rolled out.”

The expert advisory panel’s report is available at: https://www.education.gov.au/national-year-1-literacy-and-numeracy-check-year-1-check

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