Kealy: Wim­mera schools primed

The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - Front Page -

Mem­ber for Lowan Emma Kealy be­lieves pri­mary schools in her elec­torate are per­fectly placed to play a ma­jor role in dra­mat­i­cally lift­ing lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy stan­dards in re­gional Vic­to­ria.

She said she had no doubt schools across the Wim­mera and West­ern Dis­trict had high-qual­ity teach­ers who if bet­ter equipped could lead the way in lift­ing statewide ed­u­ca­tion re­sults.

“The Lib­eral-na­tion­als are con­fi­dent of stim­u­lat­ing im­prove­ments right across the state. But per­son­ally I can see no rea­son, con­sid­er­ing the peo­ple en­gaged in the ed­u­ca­tion in­dus­try in our re­gion, why we couldn’t set the pace,” she said.

“It’s what our $80-mil­lion Brighter Fu­tures Fund to lift ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties in ru­ral and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties is all about.”

Ms Kealy said es­tab­lish­ing foun­da­tions to get chil­dren ‘up to scratch’ with lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy needed to hap­pen much ear­lier than Vic­to­rian La­bor was sug­gest­ing.

“Work on im­prov­ing school lit­er­acy and nu­mer­acy stan­dards must hap­pen in the early years of ed­u­ca­tion, not later and es­pe­cially not when teenagers have reached Vic­to­rian Cer­tifi­cate of Ed­u­ca­tion level,” she said.

“Year 12 stu­dents shouldn’t need to be wor­ry­ing about their ba­sic lit­er­acy or nu­mer­acy lev­els by the time they reach year 12. That’s when they are sup­posed to fo­cus on pre­par­ing to leave school to pur­sue ca­reers or ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion.

“La­bor’s plan to iden­tify stu­dents with learn­ing prob­lems at the end of their school­ing doesn’t make sense. It must hap­pen at the be­gin­ning.

“A bet­ter ap­proach is to teach and test chil­dren to read and write and un­der­stand maths in the early years of school so they de­velop strong foun­da­tions from the very be­gin­ning. When chil­dren start school their young minds are at their most im­pres­sion­able and ca­pa­ble of ab­sorb­ing in­for­ma­tion that can set them up for life, let alone get them through VCE.”

Ms Kealy said if the Coali­tion won gov­ern­ment it would en­sure the youngest Vic­to­ri­ans would have a brighter fu­ture by in­vest­ing in bet­ter schools and early learn­ing and es­tab­lish­ing pro­grams.

“This in­cludes a phon­ics test in year one to check that our kids are build­ing a foun­da­tion for life­long learn­ing,” she said.

“If elected, the $80-mil­lion Brighter Fu­tures Fund would im­prove sup­port for par­ents and chil­dren in the early years of school­ing and we’ll see it right here, in our part of the world.

“We’ll also in­vest in early lan­guage and lit­er­acy pro­grams with a $16-mil­lion grants pro­gram to give our most vul­ner­a­ble young Vic­to­ri­ans a help­ing hand be­fore they even start school.

“And don’t for­get our Free School Books for Stu­dents pro­gram, which will ease the bur­den on fam­i­lies buy­ing text­books for chil­dren from years seven to 12.”

Ms Kealy said lat­est Aus­tralian Early De­vel­op­ment Cen­sus re­sults showed 15 of Vic­to­ria’s 20 worst-per­form­ing mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties for early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion were in ru­ral and re­gional ar­eas.

“Year 12 stu­dents shouldn’t need to be wor­ry­ing about their ba­sic lit­er­acy or nu­mer­acy skills by the time they reach year 12” – Emma Kealy

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