Transforming literacy and numeracy in the Middle Years

Braybrook College was one of the first schools to deliver targeted support under the Middle Years Literacy and Numeracy Support (MYLNS) initiative, ensuring students have the skills they need for work and life

The MYLNS initiative is the biggest single investment in individualised student support in Victoria's history.  Over four years, $183 million will be used to deliver intensive literacy and numeracy support to students who are at risk of finishing school without the literacy and numeracy skills they need for future work or study. The initiative also helps build the capability of all teachers in secondary schools to support these students.

The initiative builds on existing literacy and numeracy work in schools.

Teachers providing direct teaching support are central to its success.

  • Literacy or numeracy improvement teachers who have been appointed within schools and are given time release to provide direct teaching support to prioritised students. 
  • Literacy or numeracy network teachers who provide direct teaching support to prioritised students across a cluster of schools.

Making a commitment to change

At Braybrook College, principal Kelly Panousieris recognised the importance of literacy and numeracy support in the middle years.

Kelly saw how the improvement teacher roles could complement the school's existing literacy and numeracy work by providing targeted support for prioritised students.

Braybrook College recruited two existing teachers to the new improvement teacher roles in late 2018. Kelly wanted these improvement teachers to hit the ground running in 2019 and provide support to students.

'We have already started to notice a marked improvement in student's confidence, in some of their work coming through and in their ability to ask questions and seek assistance when needed' reflected Kelly.

Targeted support with students who need it most

Zoe Kendall is the numeracy improvement teacher at Braybrook.

Championing her new role at the school, Zoe spoke to other teachers about the MYLNS initiative at staff meetings. This paved the way for her to go into classes to support students.

Zoe worked in partnership with school leaders and colleagues to develop and agreed approach and lay the foundations for targeted intervention.

Zoe worked with students in small groups in the classroom to support their learning.

'Sometimes they're afraid to speak up, that they may not know something or understand something, or they're afraid to make a mistake,' explained Zoe.

'Working in a small group with them, they're allowed to make mistakes. They can share their ideas with me - it doesn't have to be in front of the whole class.'

'It builds their confidence, and they get an immediate response about their work which enables them to take risks and they can move on.'

In this more targeted learning environment, Zoe observed that her students' confidence with their maths work improved.

Focusing on data and best practice

Alex Ashley is the literacy improvement teacher at Braybrook College. He knew that supporting teachers would be a big part of his role and working as a team was essential to shifting student outcomes.

He built his knowledge in areas such as language acquisition and best practice interventions so that he could be a source of specialist literacy pedagogy for his colleagues.

Alex also recognised that understanding each student's literacy needs was critical. He developed student profiles for classroom teachers with information they could use to further develop their students' literacy skills and support student learning in class.

'A lot of these students have, understandably, put a fair bit of effort into avoiding the language demands in their subject,' explained Alex.

'So my role is to kind of help them to get unstuck and to disrupt the habits that they are leaning on to hide.'

The student profiles included suggested teaching strategies that would be most effective based on the individual student's strengths and areas for improvement. Sharing these student profiles with teachers equips them to develop the best opportunities for each individual student and plan their growth.

Embracing change in the middle years

See how Braybrook College is embracing the MYLNS initiative, and how the school's literacy and numeracy improvement teachers are having a positive impact on their students and across the school.

Become a literacy or numeracy improvement teacher

If you are interested in getting involved in the MYLNS initiative or you would like to learn more about becoming a Literacy or Numeracy Improvement teacher, please speak to your principal.