A majority Labor Government will launch the most ambitious literacy program Tasmanian schools have ever seen.
More than 350 additional teachers will be employed over the next six years to provide small group and one-on-one teaching to students who need extra help.
Labor’s $45.5 million plan, at full rollout, will also include the hiring of 20 additional speech pathologists to work with students as well as $1 million each year in professional development for teachers.
Labor Leader Rebecca White said this plan was an investment in Tasmania’s future.
“All children should be able to read and write by the time they finish primary school but right now too many still can’t,” Ms White said.
“A majority Labor Government will make sure we get the basics right for our kids by investing in 350 more teachers and 20 Speech Pathologists to help our kids get the best start.
“The Liberal Party is failing our children and it is having a massive impact on their education, employment and health outcomes.
“In reading, writing and maths, Tasmanian students underperform students in every other State, we’re simply not getting the basics right.
“We will mandate the Year One Phonics Check and teachers will use evidenced based programs to assist their students, improving outcomes for all students, while helping those who need the most support.
“Under Labor, Tasmanian students will leave school ready to achieve their full potential and unlike the Liberals we have a resourced plan to meet the ambitious goal of ensuring that by year 7 all young people will meet an expected reading standard that is above the national minimum by no later than 2030.
“Students who have specific learning needs will continue to work towards the goals in their individual learning plan, and where possible they will be working towards the new target in their plans.”
Shadow Education Minister Josh Willie said three groups of students would be assisted by the program and student progress would be monitored through the Progressive Achievement Test and NAPLAN. Students will continue to receive the required support until the end of primary school.
“Beginning in Prep, all students would receive general classroom instruction on phonics,” Mr Willie said.
“Students who are identified as struggling with reading through the mandated Year One Phonics Check will be provided with additional, small group instruction to be delivered in the classroom by a well-trained teacher for half an hour a day, for half the school year.
“A smaller group of students will require more intensive one-on-one support by a highly-trained teachers, likely on an ongoing basis for the duration of the school year.
“This three tiered instructional model and resource commits to the Primary Reading Pledge and research suggests an intervention on this scale would be sufficient to substantially improve the reading abilities of all students.”
Rebecca White MP
Josh Willie MLC
Shadow Education Minister