Peter Gutwein

Premier of Tasmania

12 March 2021

Jeremy Rockliff, Minister for Education and Training

New literacy target to improve education outcomes

Improving literacy outcomes for all Tasmanians is a clear priority of the Tasmanian Liberal Government.

While we are continuing to build on progress that has been made, there is still a long way to go. We need to pick up the pace, I want to see our rate of improvement accelerated.

That’s why I am announcing an ambitious new target that by Year 7 all students will meet an expected reading standard that is above the national minimum, and by no later than 2030.

This target will apply to all students who currently participate in NAPLAN.

Meeting this target will require a concerted and sustained effort.

I have asked the Department of Education to determine this standard against the Progressive Achievement Test (PAT) which will be used in all Government schools.

Critical to our success will be ensuring we have the systems and processes to help identify as early as possible, those learners that are not meeting the expected standards, and intense support can be provided where needed.

Teachers will be supported through professional learning and resources to strengthen their capacity to ensure learners, across the years, are able to meet the expected standards.

As we know, Phonics is essential for children to become successful readers and spellers/writers in the early years of schooling.

Starting this year, all Government schools will have evidence-based phonics instruction in place from Prep to Year 2. A guide is being developed for teachers which will be available in Term 2.

The Year One Phonics Check will provide an initial indication for teachers to inform the provision of supports, while the Progressive Achievement Test will be a further tool to identify where more intense, targeted support is needed.

If we are to achieve our aspirational goal for all Tasmanians to be functionally literate, we need to recognise that literacy is a whole of community issue and work together across government, industry and community.

That is why I am also pleased to also announce we will establish an expert advisory panel to oversee the development of a community-wide framework to achieve a Literate Tasmania.

This panel will be co-chaired by the Secretary of the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Jenny Gale and Professor Natalie Brown, Director of the Peter Underwood Centre for Educational Attainment.

This group will undertake a review of the current literacy programs and supports across our community and provide recommendations on how we can continue to improve our approach.

I am proud of the significant work occurring across our community and the commitment I see to improving Tasmanians lives by lifting our literacy levels.

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