Kealy: Wimmera schools primed
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