Specialist teachers watched by national educators

Brooks High School teachers Carolyn Abraham and Cilla Keenan with grade 8 students Laura Hampton, Georgia Howell, Jacob Baldwin and Marcus Robbers. Picture: MARK JESSER

Brooks High School teachers Carolyn Abraham and Cilla Keenan with grade 8 students Laura Hampton, Georgia Howell, Jacob Baldwin and Marcus Robbers. Picture: MARK JESSER

TWO of the 25 literacy and numeracy specialist teachers are excited about their new roles, which they say are being closely watched by national educators.

Numeracy teacher Carolyn Abraham and literacy teacher Cilla Keenan will be based at Brooks High School, but also working with pupils at Invermay and East Tamar primary schools.

Mrs Abraham will work with 20 year 6 and 8 students and Mrs Keenan will work with 50, all who have been identified from NAPLAN data.

Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff said he would be monitoring the roles and associated data for progress.

Mrs Abraham and Mrs Keenan said the specialist teacher initiative, which works with selected students, but also up-skills teachers at the schools, could set new norms in teaching.

‘‘This role allows us to work one-on-one with selected students, but it is not only about taking kids out of class ... it benefits all students because it maximises the amount of time each student has with their teacher,’’ Mrs Keenan said.

‘‘I understand that there is a bit of a focus on what is happening here, to look at the success of these roles and see if it might get picked up elsewhere.’’

Mrs Abraham said the initiative had the potential to change low literacy and numeracy rates in Tasmania.

‘‘It is a new way of approaching an old problem, and it is very targeted towards specific students,’’ Mrs Abraham said.

The $8 million state government funded initiative aims to improve year 7 and 9 NAPLAN results, and was influenced by an idea from the Grattan Institute.

Mr Rockliff said it would prevent students falling through the cracks.

‘‘The policy was developed as a result of looking at the results of NAPLAN and areas that needed greater assistance, whilst based on the Grattan Institute model of more intensive support.’’

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