Literacy and numeracy pathways


Professional Learning pathways support schools’ priorities in literacy and numeracy according to the needs of teachers and students.

The pathways display an overview of the professional learning and resources available to support schools.

There are 5 primary pathways and one secondary pathway currently available with more to be added throughout 2024.

Primary pathways

Primary pathways provide a recommended order for engagement and scenarios with examples of how you can tailor a pathway to suit individual contexts.

The podcast 'explaining the literacy and numeracy pathways' provides more information on the primary pathways

Explaining the literacy and numeracy pathways (primary)

[Musical introduction]

Rosie Farnham

Hi everyone we acknowledge the Custodians of the land and today we join you on Dharug land.

Welcome. I am Rosie Farnham, Leader Literacy and Numeracy coordinator. I'm here with Shannan Salvestro, Literacy coordinator K to 6 and Linda de Marcellis, Numeracy coordinator K-6..

We join you today to talk about professional learning pathways the Literacy and Numeracy team have designed to support you..

I will preface that this is a resource for NSW Department of Education staff..

So let's begin! Shannan and Linda

Shannan Salvestro

Hi Rosie.

Linda de Marcellis

Hi Rosie.

Rosie Farnham

Can you tell us more about the pathways and how they can support leaders and teachers?

Shannan Salvestro

Yeah, yeah, we'd love to. Look the the pathways that we've developed are a really great resource because look, the first thing that we wanted to really do was to provide something that really gives a full overview. It's like the full menu of all the options that literacy and numeracy have team have developed and that we offer for our schools and our teachers. So we really wanted to have something, a resource to show what is available but also how those things fit together and in particular suites of learning and how the different pieces that we have actually complement each other because you know there is so many things that we have developed in that we provide. So you know I'm sure that can get quite confusing and people not knowing where to start. So we also put some things in there to support people with that.

Linda, maybe like to talk about the scenarios .

Linda de Marcellis

Yes, so after you have a look at what sort of professional learning pathway you might want to sort of explore first, we then have scenarios and the scenarios are to support schools and leaders and especially AP, C&Is in positioning themselves about what the whole school might need to have a focus on our or individual teachers or stage in groups of teachers. And then we've tried to give a few different scenarios to capture different school contexts and different settings based on sort of, you know, understanding this state and understanding how schools operate and work.

Shannan Salvestro

Actually, can I just add something on there?

Linda de Marcellis


Shannan Salvestro

Because something I just thought about while you were talking as well is what we hope that this resource also does is to also remind people that while they are engaging with our. professional learning and our resource is that they, you know, really take the time to you know. Use that best practice in engaging with professional learning so you learn doing the learning but then also putting it into practice and reflecting on that practice. So it is really trying to promote a learn, do, reflect cycle of engaging with all of our learning in our resource is.

Linda de Marcellis

Yeah, great. Thanks for explaining that. Thank you. Thank you, Shannan.

Rosie Farnham

I think that's a really important part of our pathways that you know, we learn a little as leaders and teachers. Then taking that theory into action in the classroom, what does that theory look like in practice and then reflecting with how your students are progressing in literacy and numeracy and reflecting with other leaders and other teachers as well with you.

I know that we have 4 pathways to literacy and to numeracy. Shannan, could you tell us a little bit more around the focus of the literacy pathways?

Shannan Salvestro

Yes. Yeah, sure Rosie Yeah. That's exactly right. There are 2 pathways for our literacy professional learning currently available.

So the first one that I'll talk about is our effective reading professional learning pathway. So this one is really focusing on that effective reading professional learning suite that that we've been developing and if when you do have a look at the pathways document you really on that second page, where it's got that real overview of what's available within that pathway is really what I want to point out first. An what that does is it sets out the key pieces of professional learning that is in that suite which is we've got four pieces available within that suite. It's effective reading, phonological awareness, effective reading. Phonics focus on vocabulary and fluency, so it really shows how one links to the other. But then when you look at the pathway, when you do get your hands on the document and have it have a look, you'll also see that underneath each of those key pieces. Some other resource is that come from the literacy numeracy team that actually helped to either complement or they connect in some way and we've listed things there like assessments and other readings or other podcasts or other PL pieces that you can do that maybe aren't necessarily strictly in that suite of learning, but you could be doing to help connect all of that learning together and we talk about how they complement that learning so that it really can come as a as a full package.

Rosie Farnham

Great support in literacy in those focus areas, Shannan.

Shannan Salvestro

Then we've also got our second literacy pathway which is the focus on understanding texts pathway. Now this is also about support with reading, but it is focusing on those big pieces that we've got that come in what we call our focus on understanding text suite of learning. Now a big pieces in that suite the components of reading, we've also got focus on vocabulary, and fluency and just like the effective reading pathway, we've also got underneath that some suggestions on what things complement those bigger pieces of learning.

We've got some other professional learning like some things from our lead learner suite listed there that just the particular ones that align with those bigger PL pieces. But we've also got some shorter podcasts you could listen to, we've got where our resource where you might want to go and. Explore some resources as well that particularly link.

Rosie Farnham

Really beneficial professional learning where we can see the DoE resources and how we can work through those resources to really look at student and teacher needs as well.

Linda, 2 numeracy pathways, can you tell us a little bit more around those as well?

Linda de Marcellis

Yeah. Well, well, thanks, Rosie. Just like Shannan said, they really are quite similar in their layout. So once you get a handle on our new receive pathways, which are number and place value and then operational sense, you'll see a really nice connection between the layout of literacy and numeracy.

I'd also like to pull out the key is, how Shannan was describing that there are other pieces to the professional line to support, because we understand the teachers won't all be ready for or requiring that professional learning so we use the key where we have assessments, resource is statewide staffrooms like e-learning, other e-learning and even like Shannan said with the podcast. Because I do feel like when you're using the pathways you really need to tailor it to teachers' needs and sometimes those needs are varied amongst your staff.

But if we go back to number and place value, we definitely have some great pieces of learning here around the support that we've done with mathematics, strategy and we've got 'becoming mathematicians', 'how numbers and fractions work', 'exploring patterns' and 'quantifying collections'. And then we also have the improving reading and numeracy suite around number and place value and applying decimals across the curriculum. Can I say that these aren't just cater six, they do actually expand out. So these pathways are actually good for schools that are working with their local high school that they might do some learning together. And really support that middle years.

And then when we moved to operational sense, we're talking about additive thinking, and multiplicative thinking. And again, there's 7 pieces that we've identified across improving literacy and numeracy within additive and multiplicative thinking, Becoming mathematicians, Additive flexible Thinking and Multiplicative Thinking.

Then we also have our blended learning professional learning which is 'additive strategies' and ;multiplicative strategies'. What I like about our pathways is that we've got really short sharp pieces or we've got really longer and more comprehensive. So we can go, you can actually. As look at a 30 minute professional learning or something that's like 10. 5 hours and it's across 2 days where it's done in different stages of the term to really focus on a very specific area.

Rosie Farnham

Great, thank you so much. That really gives a great explanation around how those pathways display an overview of that professional learning and resources available.

Shannan Salvestro

Now you actually might notice something about the when you do look and you compare between the 'effective reading' pathway and the 'focus on understanding text' pathway, you might actually notice something. So when I was saying that both of our pathways have those big pieces of PL that apart of those suites, you might actually notice that 'focus on vocabulary' and 'fluency' actually appears on both of those pathways. Don't be confused by that. That's just because those pieces of learning have actually been developed and written in a way that they actually fit in both of those pathways and in fact, 'focus on vocabulary' also fits in our focus on creating text pathway. So it's actually a really important piece of PL that focus on vocabulary because our schools and our teachers can do that particular PL and do that from the perspective of that reading or vocabulary for writing, and it does suit all of those pathways, so don't be confused when you do see that double up there. That's not an error, it's because it fits in with all of those pathways.

Linda de Marcellis

And if I can just add, even though this is just more broadly about the literacy numeracy, I think it's really important that you do go in and really have a closer look at those documents because that's when you'll start to see, hang on a minute, even if I am in operational sense, I might actually have to go back to the number of place value because some of the teachers may be missing and so we haven't connected those two, so that's sort of the difference between sort of the literacy ones and the numeracy. If you want to do further understanding within number and place value, you could be an operational sense and realising that teachers will need something from there so you can go back.

So It really is important to have a great look at these documents, look at them together and then see what it is that your school and your teachers need.

Rosie Farnham

How should leaders and teachers use the pathways?

Shannan Salvestro

Yeah, well, there's a number of ways that these pathways could actually help you. Like I was saying earlier, it does an end like we've heard from Linda and I about our pathways that there is that overview of what's available so that you can sort of cherry pick and put together and tailor what is suitable for your school, so. If you actually look at all of the pathways documents that we have, as you scroll through, you'll see that there are scenarios that have been provided. So those scenarios that Linda was talking about earlier, but that would be, I would point our leaders and teachers to those scenarios. We've tried to provide a number of, I guess it like examples of how a school might actually use, you know, the information that they've got at hand, use what they, you know, they have to then look at the the what's available an actually then tailor what their pathway is going to be for their school and their context. Because it might look very different to, you know, you might not. It might not be appropriate to do everything in that suite of learning, or everything that we've said complements it might be. If you look at those scenarios that they might just, they might pull out the things that they need for their context,

Linda de Marcellis

Yeah. And I was thinking around when schools are looking at their Literacy and Numeracy 5 Priorities or they're looking at, you know, very specific whole school learning or Priority 3 which is around teaches that they could come to the pathways to exactly what Shannan has been saying, you know, really individualised and customise it to their school or to their teachers. But another way that leaders could come through here is through the guides and we know that we've got the reading and numeracy guides and it might be that you've looked through some of those key elements and thinking. What can I do to support my teachers around additive strategies or number and place value?

Then you would want to come into the pathways and have a look at where could we start and where can we build our professional knowledge. Because if we're looking at the teaching and learning cycle, you know, once we've got where we understand where our students need to go to, and it could be through some assessment that has been undertaken in the classroom. It might be the gap of teacher knowledge that needs to be built. And so the pathways really is a great way to see yourself and identify where your teachers are at through the scenarios and through the catalogue of what's available.

Shannan Salvestro

Yeah, that's a really good point Linda to bring in the reading and numeracy guides and that you might want to go back to that because that will support some of those conversations on what it is that you that you need.

I'm also thinking that using that when using those scenarios and the guides for your, I guess, your inspiration that it might also be important to point out that some schools and some contexts might need to have individual pathways. They might not have one pathway that's suitable for a whole school approach because they might have a situation where the leaders in the school, actually need a different pathway to perhaps some of the classroom teachers, or even amongst the classroom teachers there might need to be some individualised pathways just to account for, you know, we've got teachers with varying needs and varying expertise, so we need to take into account and can use the pathways document to help them develop those individual pathways as well.

Rosie Farnham

A really beneficial document using as we said the pathway with the scenarios to ensure that you strongly prepared for that literacy and numeracy professional learning you're planning on, you know, supporting staff and especially those priorities that you're looking at it within your school context.

Sounds great. OK, where do we find these pathways? I'm sure we've got lots of keen interest.

Shannan Salvestro

Yes, yes, We have got a lot of interest in these in our pathways and they are available on the literacy and numeracy website. But like you mentioned earlier, Rosie, they are in the section of our website that our DoE staff will know is called 'inside the department'. So you do need that DoE login to actually access them. We have podcast notes that if you come out of the podcast you can go into the podcast notes and we can actually put the link in there so that you can get to them directly. But also we've got the literacy and numeracy statewide staff room, so will also have the link there. And if you're not a member of that statewide staffing, this might be a good time to get onto that.

Rosie, can I ask you - there also available in an AP, C&I channel, would you like to talk about that?

Rosie Farnham

Yes, for our Assistant Principal Curriculum instruction we have an MS Team, the AP, C& I channel. So if you go into the 'Welcome' channel, the introduction channel, you'll see important links and we have to find them there. We also have an AP, C&I Yammer page that all leaders across NSW can access (DoE) and so they're actually included in the Yammer page as well under our file.

Linda de Marcellis

Well thanks Rosie. I think it's now time to sort of end this podcast and get people to go straight into the website or the Yammer page or Microsoft Teams to find those appropriate literacy and numeracy pathways.

Thanks for having us and we really enjoyed talking about this and we really do hope that these are useful documents.

Always give us feedback - we love to improve on what we're doing and if there is something else that we could and we would be more than happy to do so.

So thanks Rosie for having Shannan and I here today.

Rosie Farnham

Thank you Linda and thank you to Shannan for providing us with an update on these very beneficial documents for all our leaders and our teachers.

Shannan Salvestro

Yeah thank you and bye for now!

[Music to fade]


Effective reading

This pathway shows the integration between the the department’s ‘Effective reading’ suite of professional learning, reading resources and assessments. The scenarios provide an example of how the the ‘Effective reading’ professional learning and complementary resources could be sequenced in a pathway, aligned to a school’s identified focus area.

Focus on creating texts (new)

This pathway shows the integration between the department’s writing, vocabulary, and spelling professional learning and related resources. The scenarios provide an example of how the focus on creating texts professional learning and complementary resources could be sequenced in a pathway, aligned to a school’s identified focus area.

Focus on understanding texts

This pathway shows the integration between the department’s reading, vocabulary, and fluency professional learning and related resources. The scenarios provide an example of how the focus on understanding texts professional learning and complementary resources could be sequenced in a pathway, aligned to a school’s identified focus area.


Number and place value

The pathway provides a snapshot of the professional learning available for number and place value including how it integrates with resources and the Interview for Student Reasoning (IfSR) assessment suite. The scenario provides an example of how numeracy professional learning and complementary resources could be sequenced in a pathway, aligned to a school’s identified focus area.

Operational sense

The pathway provides a snapshot of the professional learning available for operational sense and how it integrates with resources and the Interview for Student Reasoning (IfSR) assessment suite. The scenarios provide an example of how numeracy professional learning and complementary resources could be sequenced in a pathway, aligned to a school’s identified focus area.

Secondary pathways

The secondary pathways have 3 components:

  • Leader professional learning

  • Whole school professional learning

  • Focused professional learning

The Learn Do Reflect cycle provides a framework for the effective application of learning into classroom practice.


Secondary professional learning pathways - numeracy

The numeracy pathway builds upon the professional learning completed during the whole school professional learning phase to support teachers of Years 7 to 12 with targeted numeracy professional learning opportunities.

The pathway includes 3 specific numeracy focus areas: Statistics and probability; Measurement and geometry and Number sense and algebra.

A specialised professional learning section highlights Numeracy for EAL/D learners and Supporting the HSC minimum standard.


For literacy and numeracy support, join the Literacy NSW and Numeracy NSW statewide staffrooms (staff only)


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