Travelling the Territory to get a clearer view of literacy 


Six researchers from CDU’s School for Social and Policy Research are gaining a taste of what is really happening in the schools of the Territory’s remote communities.

The team is spending six months visiting 39 schools, mostly in remote areas, to evaluate the Accelerated Literacy program, a teaching methodology designed to help Indigenous children who are falling behind in their reading.

Coordinator of the project, Research Fellow Claire Bartlett said she appreciated getting a real feel for how things were going in the Territory’s schools.

‘Much has been said about the challenges and problems remote schools face, with high teacher turnover and the inevitable issues associated with being geographically isolated,’ she said.

‘However, it is great to see how the program can work for kids in these schools, despite these issues.’

The research will form the basis of a report into the program, due for release next year, which will have a major influence on future planning decisions relating to the program.

In each school, the researchers are spending a week assessing the success of the intervention on improving student literacy levels and training and supporting teachers. This is achieved through classroom observations, teacher surveys and resource audits.

Once the schools visits are complete, the data collected will be compared to centrally stored data relating to student outcomes and teacher training. This will help give an assessment of whether effective Accelerated Literacy classrooms are having an effect on improved student outcomes.

‘The Accelerated Literacy program is a major initiative to address school literacy in the Territory. Through our work over the next few months, we hope to contribute to strengthening and growing the program so it can benefit more Indigenous children,’ Ms Bartlett said.

The National Accelerated Literacy Program is a partnership between the Australian Government’s Department of Education Science and Training, the Northern Territory Government’s Department of Employment, Education and Training, and Charles Darwin University.

For more information on the program and the evaluation, go to