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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (25 August) . . Page.. 4119..

MS MacDONALD (continuing):

of the year awards and support for transition into different phases of schooling; and indigenous children and young people achieving outcomes equitable to the total population.

In the 2004-05 budget, our most recent budget, $3.3 million over four years was allocated to further support indigenous children and families in the ACT. More than $1.6 million over four years was committed to support learning and retention for indigenous students in government schools, with particular focus on improving literacy and numeracy.

Improvements in literacy and numeracy will also be addressed through $868,000 over four years for indigenous early childhood support. This initiative will support indigenous children from birth to six years of age, through increased opportunities for participation in early childhood education at Koori preschools. This will enhance the social, emotional, literacy and numeracy development of indigenous children.

As previously stated, literary and numeracy skills form the crucial building blocks in our children's lives. All students deserve the support required to develop and refine these critically important skills. That is why events likes National Literacy and Numeracy Week as well as Book Week are so important in raising awareness about the significance of developing sound literacy and numeracy skills in our community.

This year, National Literacy and Numeracy Week will run from 30 August to 5 September and will celebrate and acknowledge the progress Australia's schools, teachers, parents, families and community members have made towards raising the literacy and numeracy levels of all Australians. Now in its sixth year, National Literacy and Numeracy Week showcases the hard work school communities are undertaking to improve literacy and numeracy skills and recognises the outstanding results that have been achieved.

In fact, tonight, five awards for outstanding contributions to improving literacy and/or numeracy will be presented to individuals in the wider community who have made a significant contribution to improving literacy and numerous skills; and, on Friday night, 14 schools across the country will be recognised for the significant improvement of their students' literacy and numeracy skills. The week helps raise community awareness about the importance of all Australian students developing effective literacy and numeracy skills and builds on ACT and national initiatives to improve literacy and numeracy standards among young people.

At 11 am on 3 September, students from across Australia will take part in a national simultaneous story time with the reading of the children's book The Muddled up Farm, written by Mike Dumbleton and illustrated by Jobi Murphy. An initiative of the Australian Library and Information Association, the event will emphasis the importance of young children aged three to eight learning to read and enjoy the experience.

Schools will also have the opportunity to participate in the fun and educational program "Reach for the stars". "Reach for the stars" is a free numeracy-oriented mass involvement activity for schools. Following on from its success in primary schools in 2003, the activity has been expanded this year to include junior secondary students and will involve learning in core areas, including measurement, representing and analysing

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