Literacy K-12

Describes the objectives for ability, skills and competence of students, incorporating specific teaching practices and programs; and requirements for evaluation of effectiveness and responsibilities for K-12 teachers in reporting to parents, caregivers and communities.

Changes since previous version

2022 Oct 10 - updated links in policy statement to refer to updated Student Behaviour and Inclusive Education for students with disability policies.

Document history

2022 Jul 25 - updated the policy statement (sections 1.2 and 3) for compliance with the School Success Model and with the policy template (sections 4 and 5). Updated contact details. Changed the name of the implementation web page link from 'Literacy Policy Support' to 'Curriculum support and teaching resources'.

2020 Jun 29 - updated contact details and made minor changes to style guide.

Policy contacts and delegations revised.

Superseded documents

Focus on literacy: A position paper on the teaching of literacy 1997.

  1. Policy statement
    1. Literacy
      1. Literacy is the ability to understand and evaluate meaning through reading and writing, listening and speaking, viewing and representing.
      2. Literacy skills need to continually expand and diversify because our rapidly changing social and economic environment requires competence in a range of new communication forms and media.
      3. Literacy competence is central to achievement in all areas of learning as students progress through the early, middle and later years of schooling and into the workforce and personal life.
    2. Literacy teaching
      1. Literacy teaching in NSW schools will incorporate explicit and systematic instruction in the skills, knowledge and understandings required for students to be literate.
      2. In the early years, literacy teaching will include the explicit teaching of oral language, phonological awareness, phonics, vocabulary, reading fluency, reading comprehension, print conventions, grammar, punctuation, spelling and handwriting.
      3. Literacy teaching will draw on the strengths of a comprehensive range of evidence and research-based approaches to meet the learning needs of all students.
      4. Teachers will ensure students are equipped with a range of literacy practices and skills that support them in code-breaking and in understanding, using, analysing and evaluating texts for a variety of purposes and audiences.
      5. Teachers K-12 will develop and continually refine a broad and responsive set of effective literacy teaching practices to meet the diverse learning needs of students.
      6. Teachers K-12, across all key learning areas, are responsible for the teaching and learning of literacy skills, knowledge and understandings.
      7. Teachers K-12 will allocate sufficient time to explicitly plan, program and teach literacy to ensure students' achievement of syllabus standards.
    3. Literacy assessing and reporting
      1. Teachers K-12 will use school-based and statewide literacy assessment information to inform teaching and to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of teaching programs.
      2. Schools will report formally and informally to parents, caregivers and school communities on student literacy achievement using statewide and school-based assessment information.
  2. Audience and applicability
    1. All department teachers, schools, regions and directorates.
  3. Context
    1. Initiation of this policy occurred under the Office of Schools Plan 2006-2008 and the State Literacy Plan 2006-2008.
    2. As stated in the department's Strategic Plan, under the School Success Model all schools will set local measures focusing on HSC achievement, and growth in reading and phonics screening.
    3. This policy is to be used in conjunction with:
  4. Responsibilities and delegations
    1. Principals:
      • implement and monitor this policy in their schools.
    2. Principals, school executive and delegated teachers:
      • supervise policy implementation in schools and report to their school education directors.
    3. Directors, Educational Leadership:
      • support principals to implement this policy.
    4. Users:
      • verify this is the current and complete version of the document, located on the department's Policy Library.
    5. Literacy Coordinator K-6 and Literacy Coordinator 7-12:
      • provide advice on interpreting and implementing the policy
      • monitor, evaluate, review and report on the implementation of this policy.
    6. Director, Literacy and Numeracy:
      • publishes and ensures currency of the policy and support material
      • notifies staff of any changes to this policy.
  5. Monitoring and review
    1. The Director, Literacy and Numeracy monitors the implementation of this policy, regularly reviews its contents to ensure relevance and accuracy, and updates it as needed.
  6. Contact
    Director, Literacy and Numeracy
    02 7814 2751

    Literacy Coordinator K-6
    02 7814 2783

    Literacy Coordinator 7-12
    02 7814 2470
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