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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 14 Hansard (Thursday, 9 December 2010) . . Page.. 6090 ..

MR SPEAKER: Mr Coe, you are warned for interjecting.

MR BARR: once teachers were drawn from the top third of graduates, increasingly they are being drawn from the middle third of graduates. And that is having a long-term impact on the quality of teaching within Australian schools.

PISA presents challenges for the Australian education system but also presents a compelling case for reform. And one would note that these issues, the issues identified by the shadow minister, are common, in fact, across all Australian jurisdictions. That might reflect a failure of policy at the federal level over an extended period of time. And who was in power over most of the last decade at the federal level? The Liberal Party of Australia! And what have we done in partnership with the federal Labor government since 2007? (Time expired.)

MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, do you have a supplementary question?

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, why is your department cutting support for students with special needs, given the findings of the OECD?

MR BARR: The department is not cutting resources. In fact, it is increasing resources and, I think most importantly, has a renewed focus on the quality of education; focusing on pedagogy, focusing on the introduction of a new national curriculum and on additional support for those students who might have English as a second language, who might have a disability, who might be suffering educational disadvantage.

That is the basis for the reform agenda in education over the last few years—the series of national partnerships that the ACT has entered into with the federal government, targeting additional resources into these areas of need—and it is a far cry from the sorts of education funding policies we saw under the federal Liberal government that directed resources not to areas of greatest need but to perhaps those who were the most effective lobbyists. That has been the problem in education funding.

Next year, clearly, we will see a rigorous and robust debate in education in relation to the federal funding review and we will also see the publishing of more data in relation to school performance. And it will see for the first time an assessment of the value add of how students’ performance improves and how student outcomes improve through the years of schooling, because for the first time students who were tested in 2008 under NAPLAN will be tested again this year and that data will be released, and that will give an assessment, and a true assessment, of the performance of all ACT students, not just a sample who were tested under PISA.

MRS DUNNE: A supplementary question, Mr Speaker?

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Mrs Dunne.

MRS DUNNE: Minister, why did the proportion of students not achieving the reading proficiency benchmark increase from eight per cent in 2000 to 13 per cent in 2009?

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