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Literate Students found in School

Australian Education has been thrown into turmoil with new allegations that literate students have been found in the school system.

Opposition parties and education unions are calling for an investigation into how this could have happened.

"Parents are already trying move into areas where these literate students are, in the hope that their own children will pick up the same reading skills. This will place an even greater strain on education", said a union spokesperson who requested to remain anonymous.

"Parents will expect their children to be able to read as well. This will just mean more work and stress for teachers, who are are ill equipped to deal with the high expectations of parents".

The Federal secretary of the Australian Education Union, Mr Rob Durbridge was shocked at the revelation, saying it reflected inequitable access to preschooling and the need for universal preschooling.

"We need to get these children as early as possible so we can try to repair the damage that parents are doing. They are not qualified educationalists and could be harming their child's development and eventual integration into society".

"Parents have to understand that children who can read are under extreme peer pressure, and often end up unable to socialise, retreating to libraries and more books. They find it difficult to communicate in the modern, monosyllabic, hip-hop prose of their class mates".

"If left untreated this behavior can become addictive, and we do not support the establishment of separate reading rooms for this sort of activity".

Research also indicates many parents try to teach their own children to read, believing that being able to read "gives them an advantage".

Recent American studies do not support this theory and suggest it is pointless to have a child able to read before their mates can. These early readers tend to suffer from bullying. Some educational specialists suggest that learning to focus on small letters at an early age can also damage a child's eyes.

The NSW Opposition education spokesperson, Mrs Particia Forsythe called for more resources and reading recovery programs for teachers.

"These students are going to be a tremendous strain on the system. Some of them may even ask to use a library. We need to ensure that teachers have the necessary skills to reach these children".

"If they cannot have a safe room to read in, they will be reduced to sitting on park benches to read. We have to provide a caring environment, and safe reading rooms where these students can be supervised".

"It is important that NSW revise its policy. Students are beginning to fall through the net a lot early then anticipated. Staff are ill prepared to deal with literate students who have an increased reading ability".

The president of the NSW Teachers Federation, Sue Simpson, said the statistics revealed what teachers have been saying for some time. 'This is going to provide enormous pressure on teachers across the country," she said.

"If the Government does not act, we will once again be forced to take industrial action. Teachers are already doing it hard, trying to cope with regular sporting activities, and other after-hours school activity. Now we are going to be pestered by students wanting to use the library. We need more resources".

A spokesperson for the Education Minister, David Kemp, said the data was being used to determine allocation of the resources. More and more teachers are joining the reading recovery program.

"We are making enormous progress in the re-skilling of teachers and the data bears this out".

"We have to be careful with reading activities. Unions are holding us to ransom with their pay demands, and we cannot afford to waste funds on library books when we have continually increase salaries to prevent teachers going on further strikes".