Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2011 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 June 2011) . . Page.. 2093 ..
partnership between the University of Canberra, Lake Ginninderra college and the Kaleen high school. These schools provide students who wish to progress to university with unprecedented access to university staff and courses before they complete year 12.
Our education plan allows schools to explore new ways to challenge gifted and talented students, including through the smarter use of information and communication technology. We will also encourage and resource our secondary schools to better engage those students who are at risk of dropping out.
Not every young person in an ACT high school sees their immediate education future at a university. Luckily for our economy, many choose a path of skills training, to become, amongst other things, chefs, plumbers, electricians, or, as Dr Bourke alluded to this morning, dental technicians. We have already moved to ensure that no student gets left behind. We have done this with our “learn or earn” laws and through our youth commitment, the government’s partnership with industry and the broader community to better support all students in their education pathway. The new framework builds on this by allowing schools the freedom to build better quality vocational learning based on flexibility and partnerships.
We are working closely with school communities to generate new ideas. I want to see them implemented for the benefit of all students. It is why we are establishing a cross-sectoral committee to advise on the formation of a curriculum certification and regulatory body to monitor standards and to ensure curriculum coherence from preschool to year 12.
MR SPEAKER: Dr Bourke, a supplementary question?
DR BOURKE: Minister, given the emphasis you have given to the role of the teachers, can you elaborate on the steps the ACT Labor government is taking to attract and retain the best teachers?
MR BARR: Members would be aware that we went to the last election with a policy to attract and retain the very best teachers in our classrooms. We did this because we know that the most important factor in achieving great education outcomes is great quality teaching. We are working on the delivery of that plan. We have invested $3.9 million to establish the ACT Teacher Quality Institute—an investment, I note, that the ACT Liberals voted against.
The institute is responsible for pre-service teacher education, accreditation, teacher registration and certification of teachers against nationally recognised standards. The institute will assist the government in reforms to enhance the standards of professional development for ACT teachers. This includes merit-based career paths for teachers which reward effort and excellence in our classrooms, accelerated career progression for our most enthusiastic young teachers and six figure salaries for our best classroom teachers.
I am very pleased to advise the Assembly that the government made an offer to the Australian Education Union last week. That offer includes all of the initiatives that I have just outlined and it is available on the department’s website. We are currently