A bright future

Improving the health, wellbeing and education of our children
A bright future icon

Our young people are our State's greatest asset. They deserve our investment in their health and wellbeing, and our efforts to ensure they are ready to play a productive role in society and the economy of the future. Achieving these targets will require a whole of community effort to nurture and educate our children from birth to their final school years so they can thrive as adults. Strengthening current partnerships and forging new ones with families, parents, community, local government, business and academia will be essential to success. We will seek new ways to encourage wide participation in ensuring our children have a bright future.

 

Improve the health and wellbeing of children in the early years

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We want to make sure more Western Australian children are getting the best start in life to give them the greatest chance of future success.

What do we want to achieve?

By 2027, increase the number of children in Western Australia who are developmentally on-track on all five domains of the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) by 10%.

  • We all want a bright future for our children. We have a responsibility to give them the best possible start in life. 
  • All the evidence says that how a child develops in their first five years is critical to their future success.
  • Parents, families, communities, governments and service providers need to work together to support children in these early years.
  • The Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) is a holistic measure of children in their first year of school. Targeting an improvement in AEDC indicators is a way of focusing and improving our collective effort to ensure all children are ready to start school.
  • Building stronger foundations in the early years is supporting a brighter future for our children, our community and our State.

Interpreting the results

The graph shows the proportion of children assessed as developmentally on-track across all five domains of the AEDC: 

  • physical health and wellbeing
  • social competence
  • emotional maturity
  • language and cognitive skills (school-based)
  • communication skills and general knowledge. 

In Western Australia, 55.2% of children — or 17,945 children — assessed on the AEDC in 2015 were developmentally on-track on all five domains.  The intent is to improve on this figure by 10%. Results from the 2018 AEDC are expected to be available in March 2019.

The graph shows data for the percentage of children reported on track on all five AEDC domains in three year increments from 2009 to 2015.  The graph also shows the target of a 10 per cent increase to over 60 per cent in 2027.

 

Current activities

Below is a snapshot of some of the activities that are already underway to help achieve this target.

Election commitments

  • Supporting Communities
  • Educare

 

Increase student reading and numeracy

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We want more Western Australian children to have the basic reading and numeracy skills needed for lifelong learning, training and employment.

What do we want to achieve?

By 2024, WA NAPLAN Year 5 and 9 Reading and Numeracy mean scores improve by more than 10 scale points.

  • We all expect that students should leave school being able to read and understand numbers — for the benefit of the child and the wider community.
  • The National Assessment Program — Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual national assessment for all students in Years 3,5,7 and 9.
  • The focus on mean or average scores means the results of every student matters and all will be supported to do their best.

Interpreting the results

NAPLAN results are reported using a scale for each domain (reading, writing and numeracy). Each scale spans all year levels from Year 3 to Year 9 with scores that range from approximately 0 to 1000. 

All student NAPLAN results (other than exempt students) contribute to the State’s mean scores. The measure includes all schools, public and private, in Western Australia. 

The measure is focused on the reading and numeracy scores for Year 5 and Year 9 students as they relate to the final NAPLAN assessments in primary and secondary schools. The target does not include writing as the assessment of writing in NAPLAN is under review and is impacted by the move to online assessment.

The graph shows NAPLAN mean scores for Year 5 and Year 9 Reading from 2008 to 2017.  Targets are shown at 2024.
The graph shows NAPLAN mean scores for Year 5 and Year 9 Numeracy from 2008 to 2017.  Targets are shown at 2024.

 

Current activities

Below is a snapshot of some of the activities that are already underway to help achieve this target.

  • Pilbara Partnerships for Student Success to tackle issues impacting on children’s education and giving children and young people new opportunities.
  • Kimberley Schools Project to improve educational outcomes for children in the region to underpin broader economic and social development.
  • EdConnect — volunteers supporting students to improve their literacy.
  • Teacher Development Schools that support teachers to improve literacy and numeracy instructions.
  • A writing improvement course for school leadership teams to raise standards of student writing.  
  • A phonics toolkit to help teachers to build the foundation for children’s literacy.
  • A mandatory literacy and numeracy program for Graduate teachers.
  • Projects to build and strengthen numeracy teaching in our schools, including the Digitech Schools and Teachers Can Code initiatives.
  • 300 additional education assistants employed in WA public schools across the State, with a majority allocated to socially disadvantaged students and 49 per cent based in regional Western Australia. They provide extra learning support for literacy and numeracy learning and free up time for teachers to focus on teaching, ensuring the smooth running of classrooms and limiting distractions for other students.
  • 50 additional FTE Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers across 74 regional and remote schools to give local Aboriginal children additional assistance.

Election commitments

  • A Centre for Excellence in the Explicit Teaching of Literacy to improve literacy teaching in schools across the State. 
  • Investing in our Schools (investing in public school infrastructure and building new schools)
  • More Support for Children in the Classroom
  • Quality Education in the Regions 

Increase participation in STEM

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Increasing the number of Year 12 students completing more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) courses offers greater opportunities to our young people.

What do we want to achieve?

By 2024, have 85% of Year 12 students completing two or more STEM courses and/or STEM related vocational, education and training (VET) qualifications.

  • 75% of jobs in our fastest growing industries require STEM skills.
  • 90% of jobs will require digital skills in the next two to five years.
  • Increasing the number of young Western Australians with broader STEM skills will support our local economy now and into the future.
  • Achieving this target also means greater opportunities for employment and satisfying careers for our young people.

Interpreting the results

The percentage of Year 12 students studying two or more Year 12 STEM courses and/or STEM related VET qualifications has remained consistent at about 74% in the past three years since the introduction of the new requirements for the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) in 2016. 
STEM courses and qualifications are defined as:

  • Year 12 courses in the Mathematics, Science and Technologies learning areas of the Western Australian Curriculum;
  • nationally accredited VET courses identified as being STEM courses by the National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER); and
  • locally accredited VET courses classified as being STEM-related courses by the School Curriculum and Standards Authority.
The graph shows the percentage of Year 12 students completing two or more Year 12 STEM courses and/or STEM related VET qualifications from 2016 to 2018.  The target is shown at 2024.

 

Current activities

Below is a snapshot of some of the activities that are already underway to help achieve this target.

  • STEM Innovation Partnership schools that create and share exciting new approaches to STEM education.
  • The State STEM Skills Strategy encourages students to pursue STEM careers through a state-wide STEM awareness campaign and the STEM Enterprise Schools initiative.
  • Videos produced for social media inspiring young people from all backgrounds and walks of life to pursue STEM courses at school.
  • Independent Learning Co-ordinators will be located at 10 regional schools to supervise and help senior students studying courses through the School of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE).
  • Regional Learning Specialists to work with Year 11 and 12 students at regional schools, based at SIDE and visiting schools each term to provide specialist classes for students and extra support for Independent Learning Coordinators.
  • The STEM Learning Project provides teachers with new and engaging ways of teaching STEM.
  • The Governor’s School STEM Awards celebrates excellence in STEM education.
  • Scitech provides fun and engaging real world STEM learning experiences for young people across WA.
  • National Science Week is promoted and supported in our schools.

Election commitments

  • Investing in Science in Schools (converting existing classrooms to science labs)
  • Develop a State STEM Strategy 
  • Appoint a STEM Advisory Panel
  • Investing in our Schools (investing in public school infrastructure and building new schools)
  • More Support for Children in the Classroom
  • Quality Education in the Regions
Page reviewed 13 September 2019