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English Maths & Science Push at Schools

published  First Published: 05/02/2010
Article written by: SA Government Press Release
The subjects have been earmarked as the top three priorities for all State primary schools as part of the $105 million Primary School Skills for the Future program, announced last year.
 
Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith says that Australian-first mandated instruction times for students in English, maths and science will be phased in from this year.
 
Every student from Reception to Year 7 will spend up to 12 hours of each school week learning the three key subjects by 2013.
 
The initiative is backed with funds from the State and Federal Governments.
 
This is the most comprehensive effort in our States history to lift student achievement in all State primary schools, Dr Lomax-Smith says.
 
From the start of this year, we are phasing in mandated teaching times in English, mathematics and science of up to 12 hours each week in all State primary schools, Dr Lomax-Smith says.
 
We will be providing training in maths and science programs to each of the States 6710 government primary school teachers over the next three years, starting this term.
 
South Australias national literacy and numeracy test results last year showed improvement in nearly every category of reading, writing, spelling, grammar and punctuation and numeracy.
 
We want to make sure that childrens achievements continue to improve each year and this new initiative will support that goal.
 
The Primary School Skills for the Future initiative will:
 
SCIENCE
 
Provide training for all 6710 primary teachers in Primary Connections, an acclaimed national program developed by the Australian Academy of Science together with some of Australias eminent scientists and science organisations. The program aims to build teachers confidence and competence for teaching science. Research shows that students in classes where the program is used outperform their peers in classes where the program is not used.
 
MATHEMATICS
 
Provide training for all 6710 primary teachers in Maths for All, based on best practice in teaching mathematics and numeracy and successful numeracy trials in State schools. The program will help teachers to better understand concepts, develop diagnostic tools for use with students and know how to intervene when students misunderstand concepts.
 
ENGLISH
 
An intensive effort will begin in schools that require extra assistance to lift their literacy achievements. 140 school principals will be involved in a two-year program that helps them to become a Literacy Leader, 32 schools will be supported with literacy coaches, 13 Regional Leadership Officers will work in 58 schools to support improvement and Regional Directors will visit every school to help principals plan for improvement in test results.
 
Dr Lomax-Smith says every single person working in schools and regional education offices will be focussed on lifting student achievement.
We want to establish South Australia as a leader in science, maths and English education.
 
The Primary School Skills for the Future initiative will renew the focus on the fundamentals of schooling.
 
This initiative will add to our Early Years Literacy and Numeracy Program, which is providing $11.9 million to schools and preschools this year.
These are among the core skills that give young people the skills they need to move into high school and establish a foundation for success in their lives beyond school.
 
This will build on our reforms in early years education over the last seven years, including setting up one-stop Childrens Centres to support early childhood development, smaller class sizes from Reception to Year 3 and investment in early years literacy and numeracy.
 
New mandated weekly teaching times in State primary schools, to be phased in from 2010 are:
 
  • Reception to Year 2: At least 5 hours of English, 5 hours of maths and up to 1.5 hours of science by 2013.
  • Year 3: At least 5 hours of English, 5 hours of maths and 1.5 hours of science by 2011.
  • Years 4 to 7: At least 5 hours of English, 5 hours of maths and 2 hours of science by 2011.
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