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Back to school

As South Australian students return to school today, the State Liberals have restated their positive plans for the state's education system.

“The Marshall Liberal Team wants South Australia to have the best schools in Australia. Parents will have the opportunity to set us on that course when they go to the ballot box in March,” said Shadow Minister for Education John Gardner.

“After 16 years of Labor administration, our performance in the NAPLAN tests remains at the back of the class.

“Our suite of education policies are geared towards turning this around, with a focus on improving literacy and numeracy outcomes in the crucial early years of a child's schooling through our Literacy Guarantee – a package of measures designed to lift literacy achievement for all students, particularly those with dyslexia and other learning difficulties.

“A Marshall Liberal Government will bring South Australia up to speed with the rest of the nation by transitioning Year 7 into high school, in line with the national curriculum. We are the only state in Australia where Year 7 remains in a generalist primary setting – despite the fact that the national curriculum our students study is designed for Year 7/8 to be taught in a secondary setting with specialist teachers.

“That’s why the Catholic system and many independent schools in South Australia are moving that way, and even many R-12 government schools have moved their Year 7s into their high school/middle school environment.

“Another area where Labor has dropped the ball is the teaching of languages in schools, with a significant decline in second language instruction over the life of this government.

“In 2002, 11.8 per cent of Year 12 students undertook language studies. In 2016, only 4.9 per cent of students studied a language other English in Year 12.

“If elected in March, a Marshall Liberal Government will reinvigorate the study of languages in South Australian schools by introducing a broad suite of measures, some of which were copied by the Labor Party in their recent education announcements.

“Entrepreneurial education, tackling truancy, parental engagement in school education, stopping the scourge of drugs, and keeping children safe from bullying are the other key areas where we have already released policies.

“While the Labor Party and Nick Xenophon squabble and trade insults, the Liberal Party is the only Party focused on putting forward positive policies in education so that South Australia can have the best schools in the country.”