Review calls for overhaul to literacy and numeracy teaching

Review calls for overhaul to literacy and numeracy teaching

ACT schools are set for a shake up to how they teach literacy and numeracy after the Territory’s Government accepted the recommendations of a major review aimed at lifting student achievement in these critical areas.

The review, conducted by the Literacy and Numeracy Education Expert Panel, said that “to achieve equity and excellence in education, our schools need a system wide approach to teaching and learning”, outlining 8 recommendations for consideration.

The recommendations proposed were a system-wide approach; a culture of high expectations; a consistent and centrally supported curriculum; evidence-informed teaching; consistent assessment and diagnostic tools in every school; a multi-tiered system of supports in every school; listen to and engage students, families and the community; and effective implementation.

On Thursday last week, ACT Education Minister, Yvette Berry announced that the government had accepted all 8 of the Panel’s recommendations in principle.

“I’ve heard there is a broad desire across the ACT community for a more consistent system-wide approach to teaching and learning in ACT public schools,” Minister Berry said.

“Teachers and school leaders have told us they want more centralised curriculum support and consistent assessment tools that provide real-time feedback, so they can use their professional judgement on what really matters – delivering high quality teaching.”

Berry said rather than being a ‘one size fits all’ approach, the changes will “guarantee that every ACT public school supports every student to realise their potential.”

“It’s also about ensuring our schools use the best teaching approaches for all students, and provide targeted supports to those who need it,” she said.

The Australian Education Union ACT Branch President Angela Burroughs said the Panel identified a need for a more consistent approach to curriculum, teaching, and assessment across the Territory’s school system.

“It makes the case that greater system consistency is essential to improving literacy and numeracy outcomes and helping to reduce teacher workload,” Burroughs said.

“The Panel noted that ACT schools have a proud history of great diversity in its education system. However, it said that this must evolve to ensure greater consistency and to make real inroads to reduce the workload of teachers and school leaders.”

In terms of next steps, the Panel has provided comprehensive implementation advice.

“We know that for reform to be effective, it must be resourced and supported by the profession. We urge the ACT Government to fully resource the implementation plan and to continue the constructive, consultative approach taken by this review process,” Burroughs said.

“By properly resourcing the implementation plan, the Minister will be sending a clear message to teachers that they matter; to prospective teachers that they will be very well supported in ACT public schools; and to the community, that ACT public schools are great places for all children to learn.”

Work will now begin on designing a four-year implementation plan. In the meantime, the Territory’s Government is inviting principals to be a part of this work, with the view to having the changes rolled out from the start of the 2025 school year.