Funding must continue for literacy and numeracy programs

The Australian Education Union (AEU) is calling on the federal government to continue funding highly successful literacy and numeracy programs in state schools.

In its pre-budget submission, the AEU urged the federal government to reconsider plans to end funding for the Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership, which is benefiting more than 10 per cent of schools across the country.

AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said the National Partnership funding was making a real difference for students, particularly those at risk in disadvantaged communities.

“The programs that schools have been able to put in place have been highly successful in improving the literacy and numeracy of students across the country, as the Gonski Review acknowledged.

“Whether it is intensive one-on-one support for students, early intervention programs, smaller class sizes or employing specialist literacy and numeracy teachers, the strategies adopted have made a real difference.

“We are urging the federal government to continue at least the current level of funding, which is $175 million a year, so the gains made so far are not lost.”

The AEU believes the continuation of the National Partnership funding is an important interim step while the federal government considers the recommendations of the Gonski Review for a complete overhaul of schools funding and an urgent injection of an additional $5 billion into schools ($3.8 billion for public schools) from the start of 2014.

Mr Gavrielatos said: “We want to see long term reform in the way public schools are funded so they do not have to rely on add-on funding such as the National Partnerships. But while final decisions are being made on the Gonski Review recommendations, the resources that public schools have must not be cut."

The AEU’s budget submission can be found at: www.aeufederal.org.au/Publications/2012/PreBudgetSub2012-13.pdf

Queensland Teachers' Journal, Volume 117 Number 3, 20 April 2012, p11