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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 2 Hansard (12 February) . . Page.. 807..


Amendment agreed to.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Adjournment

MR CORBELL (Molonglo—Attorney-General, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Water, Minister for Energy and Minister for Police and Emergency Services) (4.59): I think the Assembly has well and truly found its groove this week. I move:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

Education—gender gap

MR BARR (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Planning and Minister for Tourism, Sport and Recreation) (4.59): I rise this afternoon in the adjournment debate to outline further the ACT government's action to enhance educational outcomes in ACT schools. This government is acting to close the gender gap in English, maths and science. Traditionally, our girls excel in English whereas our boys are achieving better results in mathematics and science. There is no doubt that these subjects are the building blocks of education, and we need to ensure that students excel across the board in these key subjects.

Quality education relies, of course, on first-class facilities and smaller average class sizes but, above all, it relies on well paid and well trained teachers. We look forward to working with the commonwealth to reward our most accomplished teachers, and we look forward to developing a merit-based system that will help our best teachers achieve these higher incomes earlier in their careers.

Quality teaching relies on teachers who regularly adapt their teaching styles and techniques to meet students' learning needs. We know that a student's needs shift from primary to the middle schooling years and then on to college. Effective teaching should reflect these developmental changes. In light of the gender gap in student results in English, maths and science, the ACT government will evaluate the results of a Western Australian government trial of single-sex classes, and we will look to formally measure and evaluate the results in the ACT based on single-sex classes within our own schools.

I can advise the Assembly that a number of ACT schools have already taken the initiative to implement single-sex classes. For instance, Melrose high school has introduced single-sex year 7 English classes and is exploring the possibility of introducing single-sex maths classes. In addition, Belconnen high school conducts single-sex science year 9 classes to support girls, and single-sex year 10 English classes to support boys. Innovative programs for physical education, leadership, personal development and design and technology have been developed and delivered in single-sex classes in ACT schools. We would like to support these initiatives by systematically gathering the results and receiving feedback from the community.


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