Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2004 Week 10 Hansard (26 August) . . Page.. 4309..
MS DUNDAS (continuing):
There is work to be done through our universities and through the department on looking at this problem to see what we can do to address it. Teachers spend a lot of time working to become teachers. Their degree is a four-year degree. Why are they leaving so soon after they have taken up the profession? What can we do to help them stay and do what they have trained to do?
Another issue that we picked up on was what is going on at the CIT, a slightly separate entity, as part of the teaching profile of the ACT. Whilst a lot of work has been done within the CIT to change the teaching profile, to move away from a casual work force to a more permanent work force, there is still work that needs to be done in relation to the CIT's recruitment practices. At the moment, they are devolved to each of the faculties to meet their immediate needs in relation to the courses they are presenting.
The committee believes that there is scope for a more centralised mechanism, especially as the CIT is moving away from a casual work force to a more permanent work force, and there is a need to find more permanent jobs for that casual work force to see how the faculties can work together and whether there is scope for centralised recruitment and being able to share teachers across different areas. I hope that the CIT will take that recommendation in the good faith with which it was presented and that the government will be able to work with the CIT on that issue.
Special education is another subject I want to touch on. It was not something that we were required to look at specifically, but independently a number of submitters raised as an important issue that teachers are not being given the support they need to work with young people with high needs and that we actually have working with special needs kids teachers who have not been properly trained to work with these young people. That has a negative impact on the teacher and it has a negative impact on the young person. If we support these teachers by enabling them to get the training they need so that they will be better equipped to deal with the special needs of these young people there will be a better outcome for all.
Training is available in the ACT to enable teachers to get the greater skills they need to work with a greater diversity of young people. That is something that I think the government needs to prioritise. I recognise that this report has come down on the last sitting day of the Fifth Assembly, but I urge the government to look specifically at the needs of special needs teachers and those teachers who are working with high needs kids to see what can be done to support them today and how these recommendations can be fast-tracked to give teachers more support in that area of need.
Again, I thank the community for its participation in this inquiry. I thank all the teachers and principals who worked on this inquiry as well. I hope that we will be able to do as the title says and help shape the future of teaching in the ACT with this report. I commend this report to the Assembly and to the government.
MR SPEAKER: Before proceeding further, I acknowledge and welcome the small group of students from MacKillop Catholic College who are with us today.
MS MacDONALD (11.59), in reply: I will be brief in my reply. I thank Mr Pratt and Ms Dundas for their comments, which show quite clearly that we were pretty much of