ACT Legislative Assembly

Paper petition

Subject:Support for students with learning difficulties
Eligibility:ACT residents
Sponsoring Member:Ms Elizabeth Lee MLA
Num of Signatures:1
Referred to Minister16/05/2019
Responded To:Yes

Information about the Principal Petitioner is available through the sponsoring Members of the Legislative Assembly contact details.
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TO: The Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly
To the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly for the Australian Capital Territory

This petition of certain residents of the Australian Capital Territory draws to the attention of the Assembly that:
• On the 21st of August 2012, Petition No. 138 with 625 signatures was tabled at the ACT Legislative Assembly.
• A subsequent Taskforce on Students with Learning Difficulties produced a report and forwarded to the then Education Minister Ms Joy Burch MLA
• All recommendations were agreed and implementation of the recommendations commenced but were short lived.
• In 2019 appropriate evidence based literacy instruction, identification and interventions are still greatly lacking for students with difficulties in learning to read, including dyslexia (a specific learning difficulty) in many ACT schools.

Your petitioners therefore, request the Assembly to:
bring to the attention of the ACT Minister for Education, Ms Yvette Berry MLA and Shadow ACT Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Ms Elizabeth Lee MLA, the need to recognise that students with difficulties learning to read, including those with dyslexia, are still disadvantaged in ACT Schools and that changes are needed to address the disadvantage and discrimination these students face.

Such changes to include:
1. Implementation of evidence-based literacy instruction in all ACT schools;
2. Explicit, systematic synthetic phonics instruction as part of the Five Keys to reading (Phonemic Awareness, Phonics, Fluency, Vocabulary & Comprehension) which has been proven to be the most effective learning system.
3. The provision of decodable readers which are a valuable and often necessary tool and a beneficial resource for teachers using explicit systematic synthetic phonics instruction in the classroom.
4. Early identification of students with reading difficulties through the National Year 1 Literacy & Numeracy Check in all ACT Schools.
5. Access for every ACT school to educational psychologists and literacy specialists qualified in evidence based literacy instruction.
6. Individual Learning Plans (ILP) for all students identified as having ongoing difficulties with learning to read, including those with dyslexia. The ILP must provide the student with appropriate support structures and include assistive technology, use of a reader, scribe and extra time during examinations.
7. Provision of qualified professionals such as speech pathologists and literary specialists for students requiring such support during school hours.
8. Liaison with local tertiary institutions to provide appropriate evidence-based preservice Teacher training courses and professional development opportunities for qualified primary and literacy teachers currently employed in ACT schools.

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