Literacy and Numeracy

“NSW (state) primary schools will intensify their focus on literacy and numeracy this year, with the introduction of a new syllabus mandating the use of phonics when teaching children to read and the recruitment of almost 1000 curriculum specialists.” Jordan Baker, SMH February 1, 2022.

Anything that offers students access to support in developing these foundational skills is of great value because literacy and numeracy are the keys that allow students to access and make sense of their world.

“Foundational literacy and numeracy focus on providing every child with basic skills in their early life.”

The ability to attain basic literacy and numeracy skills in an early and foundational stage of schooling is a key focus of classroom learning, because the capacity to develop and use these skills not only creates the potential for a successful time at school but also form the foundation for a successful life.

 “One quarter of Australian 11-12 year olds don’t have the literacy and numeracy skills they need.”  The Conversation, 2020.

“Literacy and numeracy remains a key focus at all levels, with particular emphasis on development in the early stages of education. The NAPLAN results for the school are consistently above the National and State averages for both Literacy and Numeracy. These results reflect the school’s reputation for academic excellence and value adding.”
St Columba Annual Report

St Columba has always underpinned its engaging, innovative and date-rich educational teaching and learning model with a strong focus on developing literacy and numeracy skills in the earliest years of schooling. Our professional educators have an ongoing commitment to developing these foundational skills as a key part of our School’s educational life.

While the renewed focus on literacy and numeracy in state schools is admirable, St Columba has been strategically focussing on these skills for several years.

Some years ago, using NAPLAN and other educational data, we became aware that some students were not progressing well in literacy and numeracy areas. It was then decided that a whole school approach, based on proven best practice, would be implemented to ensure that every St Columba student was given the needed support in this area of skill development. This led to the creation of our Literacy and Numeracy Coordinator role.

The work of these exceptional educators has ensured that we use the best data, follow the best practices and offer the best support to our classroom teachers in this key educational area.

The bottom line is, when you are looking at what is important in life and education, literacy and numeracy really “count” (Please excuse the excerable pun!).

  • An increase in literacy and numeracy by one skill level is associated with an increased likelihood of employment of 2.4 and 4.3 percentage points for men and women, respectively
  • An increase in literacy and numeracy skills is associated with a similar increase in the probability of employment, whether a person had a degree, diploma/certificate or Year 12 education
  • An increase in literacy and numeracy by one skill level is associated with about a 10 per cent increase in wages for both men and women. This positive association is equivalent to that of increasing educational attainment from Year 11 to Year 12 or to a diploma/certificate
  • Up to 40 per cent of the association between education and employment is attributable to literacy and numeracy skills
  • More than half of the “penalty” that affects the wages of people is explained by their lower literacy and numeracy skills


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