NT Education Minister Eva Lawler said while NAPLAN results indicated improvements in key areas, they also reflect that more has to be done to lift student achievement in literacy and numeracy; particularly for those students in remote and very remote regions.
Ms Lawler said Year 3 students were leading the way in Territory NAPLAN results with improvements in reading, spelling, grammar and punctuation.
“This is a positive reflection of the work being done by the Families as First Teachers program which was initiated by the NT Government. Making children education-ready from their first day of school is critical to boosting education outcomes,” Ms Lawler said.
“That’s why we intend to expand the Families as First Teachers program to 33 remote and very remote communities by the end of 2017.
“We must not stop our efforts here; we need to continue to deliver high quality teaching and learning programs right throughout schooling” Ms Lawler said.
Ms Lawler said in addition to the improvements at Year 3 level, Year 5 students were also showing sustained improvements in numeracy.
“While the results indicate non-Indigenous students in urban centres are performing at or above national minimum standard, the same is not the case in the bush where we still have a lot of work to do.
“Remote and very remote students, particularly at Year 9 level, continue to lag behind their counterparts elsewhere in the Australia.
“This is a reflection of the unique characteristics and diverse population of the Northern Territory, specifically the higher levels of socio-economic disadvantage.
“Addressing high levels of disadvantage requires greater levels of funding, something I will be addressing when I attend Education Council meeting in Melbourne.
“I would like Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham to visit the Territory so he can see first- hand the realities of education in our remote schools.
“I think this is the only way he can come to appreciate why cutting education funding, as he is threatening, is not viable and can only harm the future of Territory children.
“The Territory Government, on the other hand, has committed to additional funding of $31 million from January 1 2017, including $20 million a year for school budgets, $8 million for early intervention, disability and behaviour programs.
“This increased funding will be available support the recruitment of additional high-quality staff for Territory schools,” Ms Lawler said.