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Literacy and numeracy programs in schools

Literacy and numeracy skills are fundamental parts of the curriculum for all levels of schooling. This page highlights some of the programs available in schools. 

Literacy at school

During their school years, children and young people continue to learn and refine their communication skills. At school children will create and make sense of a range of written, visual and spoken texts.

To succeed in all learning areas, students need literacy skills and knowledge to:

  • understand, analyse, interpret and evaluate information
  • develop and express ideas and opinions
  • interact with others and participate in activities at school. 

To become effective learners, students need to be confident and motivated to use their literacy skills broadly. This can be observed when they:

  • manage their own learning to be self-sufficient 
  • work harmoniously with others
  • are open to ideas, opinions and texts from and about diverse cultures
  • return to tasks to improve and enhance their work
  • are prepared to question the meanings and assumptions in texts.

The Australian Curriculum Literacy Learning Continuum describes the 6 inter-related elements of literacy development.

Numeracy at school

At school, children and young people have opportunities to further develop logical thinking and reasoning so they can engage in all kinds of mathematical problem-solving.

Students become numerate as they develop the knowledge and skills to use mathematics confidently and purposefully across all learning areas at school and in their lives more broadly. In recognising and understanding the role of mathematics in the world, students learn the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions required for more complex mathematical thinking, reasoning and problem solving in a wide range of situations. 

The Australian Curriculum Numeracy Learning Continuum describes the 6 inter-related elements of numeracy development.

Literacy and numeracy development

To monitor the progress of a student’s literacy and numeracy development, teachers need an understanding of where the student is now and where the student needs to go next.

Learning+ tutoring program

The Learning+ pilot tutoring program provides selected South Australian public school students with free one-on-one maths tutoring with qualified teachers.

Phonics screening check

In term 3, 2018 (6-31 August), all year 1 students in South Australian Department schools will undertake the Phonics screening check

The Phonics screening check will support teachers in identifying students who need additional help with their phonics skills and help inform their judgement on the approaches to take to support individual students. 

National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions

The National Literacy and Numeracy Learning Progressions describe common pathways or developmental sequences for the acquisition of aspects of literacy and numeracy development. The progressions are a resource to:

  • locate the literacy and numeracy development of students and identify the literacy and numeracy development that should follow
  • facilitate a shared professional understanding of literacy and numeracy development.


The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests skills in literacy and numeracy that are developed over time through the school curriculum.

NAPLAN is an annual assessment for students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9. The assessments are undertaken nationwide, every year, in the second week of May. NAPLAN is made up of tests in the four areas (or ‘domains’) of:

  • reading
  • writing
  • language conventions (spelling, grammar and punctuation)
  • numeracy

Progressive Achievement Tests in Reading Comprehension (PAT-R) and Mathematics (PAT-M)

Students in years 3 to 10 annually undertake the online Progressive Achievement Tests in Reading Comprehension (PAT-R) and Mathematics (PAT-M) during weeks 7 to10 of term 3.

The PAT results support teachers in monitoring the progress of students’ development in reading comprehension and maths.


Literacy and numeracy continue to be important for students in the senior secondary years to successfully complete school and move into the world of further education, training and work. Year 10 to 12 students study towards the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE)

The SACE Board has recognition arrangements for students who successfully undertake International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme (IBDP) courses.

Targeted student support

The English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EALD) program supports students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds who are learning English as an additional language or dialect. It also covers the Intensive English Language program (IELP) and the New Arrivals program (NAP).

Students with special needs and learning difficulties may require learning programs to support their literacy and numeracy development.

Literacy Guarantee

The government’s Literacy Guarantee will implement a comprehensive program to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for all students, with the benefit to be most profound for those students with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.

Literacy and Numeracy Team

Phone: 8463 5990

Email: Education.NumeracyandLiteracy [at] sa.gov.au