In 2018, the Liberal Government in South Australia made an election commitment to implement a comprehensive and sustainable program to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for all students. The Literacy Guarantee model will see more than 500 teachers upskilled through professional development opportunities every year.

What they did: 

  • Introduced the phonics checks for all Year One students in South Australia. 
  • Established a Literacy Guarantee Unit in the Department of Education and Child Development as a central plank of their policy and appointed 13 literacy coaches. 
  • Replaced the brief internet based phonics course previously made available for teachers with intensive courses to primary school teachers, through half-day sessions focusing on teacher-directed strategies over the course of a term.
  • Provided teachers with follow up coaching, observation and feedback in their own classroom as they implemented explicit instruction.. 
  • Supported teachers who have undertaken the training to train others in their schools through professional learning groups or other models schools might already be using for shared professional development (for example, a professional learning community)


  • In 2020, 63 per cent of Year 1 students met or exceed the expected achievement level, up from 52 per cent in 2019, and from 43 per cent in 2018 when the check was first introduce for all Year 1 students.
  • 2020 also saw significant improvements for Aboriginal students (up 11 percentage points), students with a verified disability (up 14 percentage points), students who speak English as an additional language or dialect (up 13 percentage points), and schools serving the most disadvantaged communities (up 12 percentage points) when compared to the 2019 results.
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