The Rudd Government is meeting its election commitment to deliver a National Action Plan on Literacy and Numeracy.
The Government will commit $577.4 million over four years to support schools to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes, starting with those schools and students most in need of help.
As part of the Education Revolution, the National Action Plan will be developed in partnership with schools, state and territory governments and non-government school systems.
Over the coming months, the Australian Government will work with these partners to develop an evidence-based approach to improving results and evaluating success in improving literacy and numeracy.
The previous Government used literacy and numeracy as ideological weapons in its attempt to bypass state schooling systems and promote its favoured teaching methods. Previous programs, including summer schools for teachers and vouchers for private tuition, were fragmented and ineffective, and lacked rigorous evidence or evaluation. They failed to provide much needed additional resources to our schools to help them assist struggling students improve their literacy and numeracy skills.
The new National Action Plan will draw on results from the National Literacy and Numeracy Tests due to be held in May 2008, and on evidence from around the world about what works. The Australian Government has invited State and Territory Governments to propose pilot programs in disadvantaged school communities to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for students.
Existing literacy and numeracy programs will continue throughout 2008, and careful evaluation will identify what can be learned from them. However, these programs will be redirected into the National Action Plan from 2009. Further details of the new approach will be released following consultation.
As an integral component of the National Action Plan, the Rudd Government will provide $10 million to gather research and data to inform an evidence-based approach to literacy and numeracy programs and teacher professional development. This is about finding out what works.