Closing the Gap for Indigenous Australians - Expansion of intensive literacy and numeracy programs and individual learning plans 

Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (DEEWR)

Key Elements

The Australian Government has committed a further $56.4 million to the national goal of halving the gap in the literacy and numeracy achievement of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students within the next decade and to halving the gap in Year 12 attainment or its vocational equivalent by 2020.

Through this measure, the Australian Government will work with education providers to expand evidence-based intensive literacy and numeracy approaches that have succeeded with Indigenous students.

The measure will also ensure every Indigenous student has an individual learning plan. The plans will identify each student's learning needs, so clear and precise intervention strategies can be implemented. Teachers will be encouraged to share these plans with the families of Indigenous students so that families can be part of their children's learning improvements.


In 2006, the gap in the years 3, 5 and 7 reading, writing and numeracy national benchmark testing results of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students was between 13 and 32 per cent.

Many education providers already require teachers in schools to develop individual learning plans for Indigenous students. They also use a range of intensive literacy and numeracy programs to cater for the individual needs of students.

Whilst these programs are demonstrating promising outcomes, more needs to be done to accelerate the pace of change to achieve the challenging target of halving the gap in the next decade.

The Australian Government, in partnership with a number of education providers, is supporting intensive literacy programs such as the National Accelerated Literacy Program (NALP) and Making Up Lost Time in Literacy (MULTILIT).

This measure will also support the Government's actions under the National Action Plan on Literacy and Numeracy and encourage schools and Indigenous families to come together with high expectations for the future of Indigenous students.


A key objective of this measure is to identify those programs demonstrating the biggest improvements to Indigenous educational outcomes and then expand and integrate them into other schools.

Both the individual learning plans and the expansion of literacy and numeracy programs components of this measure are expected to start in schools at the beginning of the 2009 academic year.

Professional development support will be offered to assist teachers to prepare and maintain individual learning plans for every Indigenous student for every year of schooling up to Year 10. This will be developed collaboratively with education providers.

Initially the literacy and numeracy component of the initiative will focus on extending high impact literacy programs more widely and establishing an evidence base on numeracy and mathematic programs which are working for Indigenous students.

Total Government Funding

The Australian Government has committed total funds of $56.4 million over four years.

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