The Tasmanian Government has a goal to achieve 100 percent literacy in the state, and within that aim, a target that all grade 7 students will start high school above the expected level of reading by no later than 2030.
A number of Australian research studies indicate that between 10 to 16 per cent of students are perceived by their teachers to have learning difficulties that have support needs which extend beyond those normally addressed by classroom teachers under differentiated teaching practices.
Within the population of students with learning difficulties there is a smaller sub-set of students who show persistent and long-lasting learning impairments. These are identified as students with a learning disability. It is estimated that approximately 4 per cent of Australian students have a learning disability. In Tasmania, this is equivalent to around 4,360 students.
Students with a learning disability have a neurological disorder, rather than intellectual impairment, and present with varying degrees of unexpected under-achievement in one or more areas of literacy; reading, spelling or writing, and/or numeracy, 80 per cent of whom struggle with reading.
Each of these children have the right to receive the appropriate support and interventions to enable them to become literate adults and participate fully in our society and economy, as per the Tasmanian Government’s goal.
To achieve the Tasmanian Government’s aim that all grade 7 students start high school above the expected level of reading by no later than 2030, children with learning disabilities will need appropriate intervention and support at the intensity required.
This submission proposes a policy solution and capacity building program to support children with learning disabilities become literate as well as supporting the educators in the system and the Tasmanian Government achieve its target.