Secondary school leaders say they need the help the Government has promised for students with poor reading, writing and maths.
Education Minister Anne Tolley says the Government will develop a plan for the sector that will start in 2012.
Details are yet to be announced, but the president of the Secondary Principals Association, Patrick Walsh, says schools need the help.
Mr Walsh says half the annual intake of Year 9 students at some schools have inadequate literacy and numeracy.
He says secondary teachers find it hard to address that while trying to teach a specialist subject.
Post Primary Teachers Association president Kate Gainsford says some students' literacy and numeracy is dire, and any help for secondary schools must be properly funded.