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Awards reflect marked improvements in literacy

"No matter where they live or what size their school, literacy and numeracy programmes are producing wonderful results for our young Australians," the Minister for Education, Training and Youth Affairs Dr David Kemp said today.

Announcing the major winners of the 2000 National Literacy Week Awards, Dr Kemp said he was delighted with the marked improvements highlighted by entries from schools in all regions of the nation.

"The award winning entries show what can be achieved when teachers, students and communities work together towards a common goal.

"Whether it’s a two-classroom school in outback Australia or a major metropolitan primary school with more than 900 students, children across Australia are benefiting from innovative literacy and numeracy programs.

"Literacy and numeracy are life skills and it is in the national interest to ensure our young people are as prepared as possible for the future."

Dr Kemp said he was particularly pleased to see such a high number of schools from disadvantaged areas and indigenous communities in the list of the major award winners.

"While I have been impressed by all the winning entries, I was particularly inspired by the story of Yipirinya School in the Northern Territory.

"Until recently Yipirinya’s 12 and 13 year old students could not even read a kindergarten text.

"Today this class avidly reads Roald Dahl and Paul Jennings novels and the confidence engendered by their success in learning to read and write has flowed through into many other areas of their lives.

"This was achieved through the hard work and commitment of staff and students, using a special literacy programme developed by the University of Canberra in tandem with a language and culture programme that teaches students in their own first language about ceremonies, bush foods and traditional stories.

"It is wonderful to see this hard work and commitment being rewarded, and the awards will act as a strong motivation for other school communities to achieve similar success."

Dr Kemp commended all schools which had nominated for National Literacy Week Awards, saying the submissions reflected marked improvements in literacy results.

"The National Literacy Week Awards have provided an opportunity for schools to demonstrate the excellent results they are achieving in literacy and numeracy. And schools are taking up that opportunity, as demonstrated by this year’s winners."

"While the winning schools have shown particular excellence in their programs and outcomes, there has been a very encouraging improvement across the nation."

Dr Kemp also congratulated State and Territory Governments and noted that the quality of the submissions reflected the willingness of all governments to join the Commonwealth in this important endeavour.

A total of 292 entries were received for the National Literacy Week Awards for literacy and numeracy achievement.

The Awards consist of eight major awards of $10,000 (Government Primary Schools); three major awards of $10,000 (Non-government Primary Schools); and 60 awards of $1,000 (government and non-government primary schools).

Further enquiries can be made via www.australia.org.nz

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