25 August 2021

Catholic education acknowledges the hard work and persistence of school leaders, teachers and families on the release of NAPLAN 2021 results showing no significant impact on student literacy and numeracy achievement during the COVID-19 pandemic.

National Catholic Education executive director Jacinta Collins said the summary results also demonstrate an upward trend across most literacy and numeracy domains.

“Given the significant disruption for students during this period it’s encouraging to see improvement in literacy and numeracy achievement, particularly the steady upward trend in reading and signs of improvement in writing,” Ms Collins said.

“Not only have many school communities had to contend with long periods of lockdown and home learning, the impact of the pandemic on student and staff wellbeing and the economic and social impact on families has been felt right across Australia.

“It’s been through a concerted focus on literacy and numeracy, the agility and persistence of leaders and teachers to respond to this crisis, and the willingness and commitment of families to support their children and school communities that these early results show a good news story.

“There is still a way to go to lift standards for all students, particularly those experiencing educational disadvantage, and a detailed analysis of NAPLAN data will provide a clearer picture of the impact on vulnerable students,” Ms Collins said.

The Australian Government’s support of emerging priorities, such as the response to the COVID-19 pandemic, online learning, mental health and wellbeing and professional learning for teachers and leaders, is a welcomed approach in line with the focus on improvement across Catholic education.

The Catholic sector is undertaking ongoing research into approaches used during the pandemic to support online learning including literacy and numeracy. In order to build on the positive lessons learned, this work seeks to determine which strategies are most effective to improve learning and wellbeing outcomes for students.

There are 1,755 Catholic schools, educating 777,000+ students – or one in five Australian students and employing 100,000+ staff across Australia.


NAPLAN provides a national evidence base consistent across states and territories, contributing to the monitoring and evaluation of student progress and outcomes. The data from the assessments helps to inform teaching and learning programs. This information complements teacher judgement and the wide range of formal and informal assessments that are used in each school. Catholic education supports the importance of the National Assessment Program and its continual refinement.


Latest NAPLAN results reflect the persistence of educators and families

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