Starters: some quick observations… Some 30% of our students speak a language other than English at home. Yet no discernable difference in education performance at age 15 between Australian students from English-speaking backgrounds and Non-ESBs (PISA) In fact, Australian students from English-speaking backgrounds are less likely to complete Year 12 than NESBs…. (LSAY) The post-school outcomes of ESBs are as good, if not better, that NESBs.
Does this mean … ….that we don’t have a problem? …. or that we need to frame our policy questions differently?
The policy pragmatist’s approach : What matters and how can we fix? A two pronged approach: We know that competency in the language of instruction matters – for both children and parents. Priority: English immersion and ongoing support We know that literacy is a good predictor of education outcomes – for all students. Priority: Monitoring, prevention, early intervention, scaffolding for all at-risk
English as a Second Language – New Arrivals (ESL-NA) program Australian Government provides funding under the ESL- NA Program to States and Territory Governments to assist with the cost of delivering intensive English language tuition to newly arrived migrant and refugee school students. Minimum of 6 months intensive English language tuition for newly arrived migrant school students and 12 months for refugee school students. Intensive English language tuition is provided in Intensive English Centres in metropolitan areas or within schools. Where tuition is provided in schools, students are expected to receive a minimum of 10 hours of ESL assistance per week.
Language, Literacy and Numeracy Program (LLNP) Available to job seekers aged from 15 years. Assists with language, literacy and numeracy skills to enable participants to achieve sustainable employment or undertake further education and/or training. LLNP provides up to 800 hours of contextualised training tailored to meet the individual needs, aspirations and circumstances of the client.
Adult Migrant English Program – AMEP education and settlement program “basic” English skills - reading, writing, speaking, listening Up to 510 hours tuition for adults, but also available to 16-18 year olds who are unable to attend English classes in school. Up to 400 additional hours English language tuition is available for some humanitarian entrants under the Special Preparatory Program.
States provide a range of language support programs also … Time to Talk (Western Australia) Oral language package for NESBs and Indigenous students in early school years to build on English native language skills
ESL specialist teachers Recognised courses at graduate and post graduate levels. There is no unmet demand in our universities… …but do we have adequate numbers opting for these courses? How well do we provide for ongoing professional support? … what about mainstream teachers – all teachers are teachers of English and literacy ?
But by far the focus is on literacy skills… $577.4M in 07/08 Federal Budget to fund a range of literacy support projects across states and territories – some specifically targeted at migrant students Reading Recovery including vouchers for one-to-one tutoring for primary and secondary students with low literacy skills Assessment tools and teaching resources State Literacy strategy for whole-of-school approach to literacy (NSW) Professional development in literacy teaching (NSW, Qld, Vic, NT…. ) Extra specialist literacy support for teachers (ACT) Parents as Tutors (ACT) …… and the list goes on…..
Outside the school… A big emphasis on reading resources: Significant investment in children and family friendly library services Early Childhood Learning Resources for parents, carers and practitioners to introduce and develop early literacy and numeracy learning to young children Home Interaction Program for Parents and Youngsters (HIPPY)
And the final word is on … monitoring, assessment, reporting…
We monitor general progress of our immigrants… Longitudinal Survey of Immigrants to Australia (LSIA) Respondents from an administrative Settlement Database and followed over time Topics covered include English language proficiency and learning, education and qualifications, employment, health, labour force activity and more. First two (out of three) surveys completed included migrants at least 15 years of age
..And we are starting younger and staying longer with monitoring and assessment in schools… Longitudinal qualitative information on our youth (15- 25yos) (LSAY), tied to PISA and maybe TALIS in future Ministers agreed to standardised assessment in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 in schools Have we got balance between accountability and formative assessment right? Now rolling out nationally Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) Community-based school readiness tool In the year before compulsory education 5 domains (physical health and wellbeing, social competency, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, communication skills, general knowledge)