The Federal Government has announced a further $29.6 million in a new agreement with the Western Australian Government to help boost literacy and numeracy results in the state’s schools under the Improving Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership

School Education Minister Peter Garrett said the new funding will help more than 200 Western Australian schools build on strategies undertaken through the original Smarter Schools National Partnership, which ran from 2008.

National Partnership funding can be used by schools in a number of ways, including:

  • individual learning plans for students who need help with reading, writing or maths
  • dedicated literacy and numeracy coaches
  • homework centres for students who need extra support or attention, or whose home environment makes completing their school work difficult.

“Under the original National Partnership 194 WA schools received funding – benefitting more than 95,000 students,” Mr Garrett said.

NAPLAN data indicates that students in participating WA schools showed an improvement in scores and the investment is having a real and positive impact.  The percentage of students in the bottom two bands for reading in Grade 3 dropped from 27 per cent in 2008 to 21 per cent in 2011.  Grade 5 students in the bottom two bands in numeracy dropped from 32 per cent in 2008 to 20 per cent in 2011.

WA Premier, Colin Barnett, said Western Australia would introduce a minimum literacy and numeracy assessment in year 10 from 2014. Students requiring extra support would then be given targeted educational programs throughout the rest of their schooling and ongoing reassessment to meet graduation eligibility.

“The State Government has listened to tertiary educators, training providers and employers, who have told us that more can be done to ensure school-leavers are better equipped to pursue further education or enter the workforce. These reforms will do that.

“Western Australia is leading the nation by introducing this minimum literacy and numeracy standard requirement for secondary graduation.

“Along with the Independent Public Schools initiative and the transition of year 7s to high school, this significant reform to secondary education is yet another example of the Liberal National Government’s investment in our children’s future.”

Education Minister Peter Collier said the changes would also see students required to achieve an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) or a minimum Certificate II in training programs to graduate.

“There is a huge demand for people with trade skills in this State and it is imperative that our young people leave school with the skills that set them on the right path.”

The Minister said under the reforms, Stage 1, 2 and 3 courses would be removed and replaced with new, simplified year 11 and year 12 General and ATAR courses. He said this would encourage students to meet their maximum potential.

“Changes to WA’s education system announced under the previous government have allowed too many students to take the easier option, and literacy and numeracy standards are suffering as a result,” he said.

“In the lead-up to the implementation of these reforms, Stage 2 examinations will be optional in 2014 and 2015. These reforms are designed to engage students in rigorous educational programs to prepare them better for life after school.”

Mr Collier said the changes would incorporate the senior secondary national curriculum in the WACE.

The reforms will be introduced in 2015 for year 11 and 2016 for year 12 students to coincide with the implementation of the Australian curriculum in Western Australia.

More information is at: