Improvement measures for literacy and numeracy

Your school will have a range of improvement measures within your Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP) that relate specifically to literacy and numeracy improvements.

While all schools will have system-negotiated targets embedded within their SIP, your situational analysis will highlight your school’s contextual needs and inform the identification of school-determined targets and improvement measures.

Examples of contextually relevant literacy and numeracy improvement measures, which are intended to guide your thinking as you develop your Strategic Improvement Plan (SIP), are provided in the following material on specific equity groups.

Principals have the responsibility for determining the most appropriate ways of using the total annual school funding to meet the identified learning and support needs of all students, and those who meet the specific criteria related to each equity loading or targeted funding area.

The skills developed in the first 3 years of formal schooling enable students to take on progressively more demanding learning tasks and successfully progress through upper primary and secondary school.

There are some key considerations in the early years of school when planning for literacy and numeracy improvement, such as:

  • variance in student capabilities in literacy and numeracy on entry to school within classes or year groups – (see Best Start Kindergarten)
  • diverse experiences of transition from preschool to Kindergarten
  • diverse cultural backgrounds or family expectations
  • variance in teacher knowledge of and expertise in early years literacy and numeracy research and classroom practice.

Students in the early years of school require key literacy and numeracy skills to ensure success in learning across the curriculum.

Effective reading instruction in the early years of school summarises research and concludes that to be most successful, 5 key components must be taught explicitly, sequentially and systematically. The components identified as essential to reading instruction in the early years are:

  • phonological awareness
  • phonics
  • vocabulary
  • fluency
  • comprehension.

Research highlights the importance of oral language as an additional component that is essential to reading development.

To know what to teach first, schools should examine their Best Start Kindergarten Assessment results to identify areas of strength and then target teaching to areas of concern. These will inform tailored approaches to planning and programming. PLAN2 Areas of Focus can be established and used to support targeted teaching and monitoring of identified literacy and numeracy priorities.

Best Start Kindergarten Assessment identifies students' literacy and numeracy skills on entry to Kindergarten and feedback is used to develop and implement plans and programs for the targeted teaching of identified literacy and numeracy priorities at cohort, group and individual student levels.

The Best Start Year 7 Assessment has been retired and will be replaced with the Transition to Year 7 assessment from Term 1, 2023 – this new assessment is only available to students who did not complete the Check-in assessment in Semester 2 of the previous calendar year.

Access the learning progressions for:

The HSC minimum standard is set at Level 3 of the Australian Core Skills Framework and describes skills in reading, writing and numeracy that are useful in everyday life, for work and further study.

Examples of effective practices secondary schools have used for supporting student literacy and numeracy development from Year 7 through to Year 12 can be found within the School discoveries modules.

See more information on explicit literacy and numeracy teaching and learning activities on the HSC minimum standard resource.

Support for schools can be accessed through the School Services Finder. Specialist staff are available to advise schools on existing resources and provide professional learning and classroom practice support for schools P-12 to implement curriculum priorities and programs.

Literacy and numeracy professional learning

  • Professional learning resources are available to support teachers and school leadership teams in the teaching of literacy and numeracy in Primary and Secondary schools.
  • Teaching and learning resources are available to support the teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy in schools.
  • Assessment advice provides essential information for teachers. A suite of assessment resources tools are also available to assess students' literacy and numeracy skills at different stages throughout schooling.
  • NESA's work samples aligned to grades - collaboratively reviewing work samples that have been aligned to syllabus expectations is an effective way to assist teachers to have a clear understanding of the standards at each stage level.

Learn more

Find out more about School Excellence in Action.


  • Teaching and learning


  • Literacy
  • Numeracy

Business Unit:

  • School Performance – South
Return to top of page Back to top