Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2013 Week 5 Hansard (10 April) . .
In 2012, the ACT Teacher Quality Institute, in partnership with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership, conducted a pilot process to be used for the certification of teachers against the highly accomplished and/or lead levels of the teaching standards. Through the pilot, 16 ACT teachers from across the three education sectors became the first teachers to be accredited against the Australian professional standards for teachers.
Further, in partnership with the University of Canberra and the Australian Catholic University, an ACT teacher mentor program was developed. Last year, almost 300 teachers from across the three sectors were funded to participate and a further 200 teachers will be funded to commence the program this year.
Through the empowering local schools initiative, the government has provided ACT government school principals with more direct involvement in the selection and development of their staff. Principals can now recruit the highest performing pre-service teachers for their schools.
MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.
MR GENTLEMAN: Minister, how important is it to have a commitment to teaching excellence in the ACT?
MS BURCH: I thank Mr Gentleman for his question. It is absolutely critical that we focus on teacher quality. We have strong investments in the bricks and mortar, and our capital program and our continued commitment to bring on new schools in those growing areas of Canberra are something for us as a government in Canberra to be proud of. But for the teachers, where the rubber hits the road is in the classroom, and that is around quality teachers. In many ways it is no accident that the ACT performs well in NAPLAN and other results, because again it goes back to the quality of our teachers.
Ongoing support through the executive teacher professional practice, through the Teacher Quality Institute and through our investment in supporting teachers, for example with the literacy and numeracy positions also within the school system—that goes to the teachers. Providing that ongoing coaching and mentoring of teachers does make a real difference, and the results of that are seen in the classroom, where the sons and daughters of our community get the best education on offer.
MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Health. Minister, can you update the Assembly on progress with expanding the emergency departments at Canberra and Calvary hospitals in terms of both capital expansion and staffing?
MS GALLAGHER: I thank Mr Gentleman for the question. The Calvary hospital emergency department expansion project commenced in October 2012 and was completed in December last year. This has allowed for capacity for an extra six treatment spaces, consisting of four chair areas and two consulting rooms being