News

Author: Greater Charitable Foundation

An urgent need to focus on local literacy and education in the Taree region

Greater Charitable Foundation has committed $225,000 to the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation's (ALNF) Early Language & Literacy Taree Project over the next three years, which ensures up to 300 additional Indigenous primary aged children are supported.

This innovative, best practice program for early years education has been conducted in Taree since 2016 and incorporates speech and language pathology principles designed to improve the language and literacy outcomes of disadvantaged children, giving them an opportunity to start school ready to learn, engage and thrive.

Taree falls into the 5% most disadvantaged postcodes in the state1, while children in this region are more than twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable in the domain of language upon school entry than the state average2. One in seven children are living below the poverty line in the Mid North Coast3 and for too long the voices of these communities have not been heard, and their needs not met.

Together, ALNF and Greater Charitable Foundation are committed to ensuring that vulnerable and Indigenous children no longer fall through the cracks and are able to access the programs and resources needed to directly improve their education outcomes.

Greater Charitable Foundation CEO, Anne Long, said they were delighted to partner with the calibre of organisation such as ALNF which provide best-practice programs that positively impact the communities they service.

“Greater Charitable Foundation values the opportunity to partner with the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation in their efforts to address the challenges that exist in access to education in pre-school years. The Early Language & Literacy (EL&L) program aims to equip both teachers, parents and community members with the skills to help the young children of Taree be better prepared for schooling so they are able to perform to the best of their ability, regardless of socioeconomic status,” Ms Long said.

ALNF Co-Founder and Chairman Mary-Ruth Mendel stressed the importance of the funding in allowing them to continue to deliver this vitally important service in the Taree region.

“ALNF is exceptionally grateful for the generosity of Greater Charitable Foundation in providing this funding and allowing us to create transformative change on the ground. We look forward to continuing our work with this passionate, resilient and caring community, driven to give their children every opportunity to dream big and achieve their full potential,” Ms Mendal said.

Globally and in Australia, illiteracy continues to be a challenge faced by too many, creating barriers to independence, employment, health and wellbeing and ultimately, happiness. A child born to a mother who can read is 50% more likely to survive past the age of five. Within Australia, students from poor families are five times more likely than their wealthier classmates to perform poorly at school4. Today we reflect on the strides that have been made to improve equity in education but acknowledge that nationally and internationally more work needs to be done to ensure that our most vulnerable communities have a voice and can participate meaningfully in our society.

1 Dropping Off the Edge Report, 2015
2 AEDC, 2018
3 NCOSS, 2017
4 OECD, 2016