Minister addresses National Education forum Thu 2 August 2012 Nick McKim Minister for Education and Skills The Minister for Education and Skills, Nick McKim, today addressed a national education forum to highlight how Tasmania is leading the nation in early years education. Mr McKim, addressing the 2012 Biennial Education Forum by videolink today, said that the early years was a key priority for Tasmania. "The successful Launching into Learning initiative is now delivered in all Government primary schools across the state and reflects the Department of Education's commitment to birth to four programs," Mr McKim said. "The philosophy of the Launching into Learning initiative is to intentionally support parents as their child's first, ongoing and often most influential teachers." Mr McKim said that the Launching into Learning Longitudinal Study 2007-2014 Progress Report for 2011 showed the real, tangible difference LiL is making to the lives of Tasmanian youngsters. "For example, an assessment of the 2011 Prep group showed that the 1235 students from 114 Government schools who attended LiL sessions regularly in 2009 achieved improved educational outcomes across all main performance measures," he said. "The percentage of LiL students below minimum standard in reading (10.6%) on Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) first assessment in Prep was about half that of non-LiL students (20.3%), an improvement of 9.7 percentage points. "The percentage of LiL students below minimum standard in maths (11.6%) on PIPS first assessment was about two thirds that of non-LiL students (17.8%), an improvement of 6.2 percentage points." Mr McKim said that Tasmania was using current best practice from Victoria, ACT and the United Kingdom to develop improvement and accountability processes for all our schools. "In 2012, 11 networks of schools and colleges across three Learning Services were established as part of the Department's Strategic Plan," Mr McKim said. "Senior school principals were appointed as Principal Network Leaders to support school principals with a focus on school improvement and accountability. "As the Minister for Education and Skills in Tasmania, I'm very proud of what schools are doing in Tasmania to achieve excellence and equity in education."