Monday, January 28, 2019
Media Releases

Phonics Check: Working to make sure no Victorian child is left behind

A Liberal Nationals Government will introduce a Phonics Check for all year 1 students.


The screening check involves a one-on-one session of 5 to 7 minutes with the teacher.


Implementation of the Year 1 Phonics Check will lead to more effective teaching of reading in our schools through early identification and support of children who experience difficulties in developing the necessary decoding skills that underlie effective reading.


Education spending in Victoria increased from $6.1 billion in 2001 to $15.392 billion in 2017 but despite this record amount of education funding, we aren’t seeing a corresponding improvement in basic literacy and numeracy skills.


Reading and numeracy continue to stagnate in Victorian schools according to the 2017 NAPLAN report released in December 2017, with no significant improvement in results.


In numeracy, Victorian students in years 5 and 9 have gone backwards since 2015.


In reading, year 9 continued a downward trend achieving a mean score below 2008 levels, while the year 7 reading score was essentially the same as it was in 2014.


PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) results have barely changed:


•                    Reading: scored 516 in 2000, but only 507 in 2015.

•                    Scientific literacy:scored 513 in 2006 and the same in 2015.

•                    Maths: scored 511 in 2003,dropped to 499 by 2015.


NAPLAN (National Assessment Program –Literacy and Numeracy) results show similar trends:


•                    Reading: year 9 2017 results worse than in 2008, year 7 results were the same as in 2014.

•                    Numeracy: years 5 and 9 have gone backwards since 2015.


In early reading, failure to identify(decode) a word is the most common impediment to comprehension.


The one-on-one screening check is to identify if students are attaining the appropriate level of literacy skills to succeed. Early identification of below-standard skills will allow for a program of early intervention.


Early identification of decoding difficulties is essential for identifying children who need extra support and help to overcome existing or potential reading difficulties.


Attributable to Shadow Minister for Education Tim Smith:


Daniel Andrews promised to make Victoria the Education State, but all he has done in three years is expand the divisive and ideological Safe Schools program and slapped a slogan on licence plates.


Despite billions of extra dollars in education funding, Victoria’s literacy and numeracy results are flat-lining. 


More of the same is going to fail our kids, and that is why we need to get back to basics with the curriculum and focus on what’s really important: literacy and numeracy.

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