Ed­u­ca­tion fund pledge

Benalla Ensign - - Front Page -

The Lib­eral Na­tion­als have pledged to tar­get early lan­guage and lit­er­acy pro­grams in com­mu­ni­ties, such as Be­nalla, where young chil­dren are at risk of fall­ing be­hind their peers.

If elected they have pledged to fund a $16 mil­lion grants pro­gram for com­mu­nity-driven early learn­ing pro­grams de­signed to pre­pare kids for school.

State Mem­ber for Euroa Steph Ryan said the Lib­eral Na­tion­als want to give young chil­dren a great start in their early years, so they do not spend their pri­mary and sec­ondary school years try­ing to catch up.

‘‘A good ed­u­ca­tion can change the life of a child, which is why im­prov­ing ed­u­ca­tion out­comes in the early years is so im­por­tant,’’ Ms Ryan said.

‘‘A child’s fu­ture shouldn’t be de­ter­mined by where they live.

‘‘These grants will make sure ex­tra ed­u­ca­tion sup­port is fo­cussed where our kids need it most.’’

Re­search shows young chil­dren who are given op­por­tu­ni­ties and sup­port to ex­plore, play, prob­lem solve, read and so­cialise in a group en­vi­ron­ment are bet­ter pre­pared for life and learn­ing.

Com­mu­nity-based pro­grams in the ar­eas where chil­dren are con­sid­ered most de­vel­op­men­tally vul­ner­a­ble, as iden­ti­fied in the most re­cent Aus­tralian Early Devel­op­ment Cen­sus, will be el­i­gi­ble for fund­ing.

Suc­cess­ful pro­grams must show an in­crease in pos­i­tive lit­er­acy out­comes, im­prove­ments in school en­gage­ment and greater re­silience in chil­dren.

By im­prov­ing early learn­ing, as a com­mu­nity we can set our kids up for life and make them ready for school.

The $16 mil­lion grants pro­gram com­ple­ments the Lib­eral Na­tion­als’ $80 mil­lion Brighter Fu­tures Fund, which is aimed at lift­ing ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties through bet­ter sup­port for par­ents and chil­dren in the early years of school­ing.

The Brighter Fu­tures Fund will be in­vested in in­te­grated ed­u­ca­tion hubs — a one-stop-shop for al­lied health, early child­hood, ma­ter­nal and child health ser­vices, and ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

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