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Students will have to pass minimum literacy and numeracy standards to graduate from high school under reforms to WA’s senior secondary system.

Premier Colin Barnett said today that WA would introduce a minimum literacy and numeracy assessment in Year 10 from next year.

Students requiring extra support would then be given targeted educational programs throughout the rest of their schooling and ongoing reassessment to meet graduation eligibility.

“The community has a right to expect that students will leave school with a minimum level of literacy and numeracy that meets the demands of everyday life,” he said.

“The State Government has listened to tertiary educators, training providers and employers, who have told us that more can be done to ensure school-leavers are better equipped to pursue further education or enter the workforce. These reforms will do that.

“We will provide parents with the confidence that when their children leave school they would have met minimum literacy and numeracy standards.”

Education Minister Peter Collier said the changes would also mean that students would have to achieve an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR) or a minimum Certificate II in vocational training programs to graduate.

The Government will scrap the current three-staged course structure, which allows Year 11 and 12 students to study subjects at three levels of difficulty, because too many have been choosing easy options.

“Literacy and numeracy standards are suffering as a result,” he said.

The staged courses would be replaced by a simplified system with a choice between general and ATAR courses.

“In the lead-up to the implementation of these reforms, stage two examinations will be optional in 2014 and 2015,” Mr Collier said. “These reforms are designed to engage students in rigorous educational programs to prepare them better for life after school.”

Mr Collier said there would be opportunities for all students in all schools to complete a Certificate II or higher in training programs.

“There is a huge demand for people with trade skills in this State and it is imperative that our young people leave school with the skills that set them on the right path,” he said.

He said the reforms to the WA Certificate of Education would be introduced in 2015 for Year 11 and 2016 for Year 12 students to coincide with the implementation of the national senior secondary curriculum in WA.