Mixed reactions to specialist teachers

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SEVEN specialist literacy and numeracy teachers will be working in 14 Northern schools at the start of term three as part of the government's plan to improve NAPLAN results.

Four literacy and three numeracy teachers have been assigned to work with grade 6 and 8 students most in need at each of their assigned schools.

The allocation fulfils an election commitment to employ 25 specialist literacy and numeracy teachers, at a cost of $2.5 million, with seven to be employed in North-West schools and 11 to be employed in the South.

The aim is to improve next year's 7 and 9 NAPLAN results.

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff said an evidence-based approach had been used to assign teachers to schools.

He said they would work directly with students, individually and in small groups.

"We can identify students who would benefit from the program through NAPLAN results," Mr Rockliff said.

"(Specialist teachers) will also work with classroom teachers to assist them to cater to the needs of those students who are currently falling behind."

Mr Rockliff said teacher contact hours at each school would vary, based on the number of students identified as requiring specialist support.

Tasmanian Principals Association president David Raw said he was concerned about the teaching model being imposed on schools and the lack of consultation with the industry.

"We may get some students over the line and that is fantastic for those students but at the end of that time can we say that this program did that, or is it the product of the work that principals and schools have already been doing for the last three years in this area?"

Tasmanian Parents and Friends Association president Jenny Eddington said enthusiasm about the program had been minimal due to a lack of detail about its implementation.

"We have had quite a bit of feedback from schools who are not happy about this happening mid-year," she said.

Ms Eddington said it was interesting that a specialist teacher would be assigned to Hagley Farm School and Deloraine High School, as historically Hagley was primarily a feeder school for Prospect High.

Tasmanian Education Union president Terry Polglase said it was a wait-and-see scenario to see how successful the program would be.

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