Strong Foundations for literacy and numeracy education across ACT public schools

Every ACT public school student deserves the very best education. We want to make sure that no child in Canberra is left behind.

That’s why the Government will start implementation of all the recommendations of the Final Report of the Literacy and Numeracy Education Expert Panel.

The Expert Panel’s overarching message to the ACT Government was that to achieve equity and excellence in education, ACT public schools need a system wide approach to teaching and learning. That’s what this Budget delivers and builds.

The 2024-25 ACT Budget invests $24.9 million over the next four years, funding will support the implementation of the Final Report’s eight recommendations, beginning from 2025. A new suite of system-wide literacy and numeracy initiatives, called Strong Foundations, will ensure all students at ACT public schools have access to consistent, high-quality literacy and numeracy education.

Under Strong Foundations, Canberra families will have access to:

  • evidence-informed and consistent teaching practices in every classroom
  • common assessments, including a year 1 phonics test
  • advice and resources for parents, to support their children with literacy and numeracy; and
  • multitiered systems of support for students in every public school.

Strong Foundations will contribute to reduced teacher workloads through more system support. It will also enable school staff to collaborate and move between ACT public schools without needing to learn new systems and ways of working.

From the start of 2025, each public school classroom from Kindergarten to Year 2 will receive additional funding for system-approved literacy and numeracy teaching materials and equipment, including decodable readers and mathematical resources. Additional teaching resources, such as lesson planning support, will also be made available to teachers.

The full four-year implementation plan for Strong Foundations will be shared with community later this year. As part of this four-year plan, the Expert Panel will be invited to undertake an annual independent review of implementation and report directly on progress to the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs.

In addition to Strong Foundations, which focuses on supporting students up to year 10, starting in 2025 the Board of Senior Secondary Studies will introduce new Bridging Literacy and Bridging Numeracy courses to support year 11 and 12 students. These courses are designed to support students who need additional targeted support to achieve the minimum standards of the Australian Core Skills Framework level 3 by the end of their schooling studies.

Quotes attributable to ACT Chief Minister, Andrew Barr:

“We know that investing in the education of our children provides life-long benefits and sets them up with the best chance for success.

“There is no better investment we can make in the future of our city than to ensure our children master the fundamentals of their education.

“This measure provides more resources and equipment for schools, more centralised support for teachers and a more consistent approach across the public school system.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Education Yvette Berry:

“I once again want to thank the Expert Panel and everyone who contributed to the inquiry for their work. We all want Canberra students to have the very best education.”

“Strong Foundations will give children and young people across Canberra a high-quality and consistent start to their literacy and numeracy education.”

“Teachers and ACT public schools already provide high quality education to all our students. Implementing the Expert Panel recommendations will strengthen the great work that is already happening and apply it more consistently across the public school system.

“This is an investment in learning for our young Canberrans to ensure that every ACT public school supports every student to reach their potential.”

/Public Release. View in full here.