Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Thursday, 16 August 2018) . . Page.. 3038 ..
I note that the work currently done by the Teacher Quality Institute might well be expanded to provide an ongoing assessment process. Again, I will be interested to understand how creating a “teaching evidence clearing house” might differ from the current work they do.
Elsewhere the minister refers to empowering learning professionals and moving schools to become inclusive learning communities. She talks about teachers and school leaders being “expert professionals highly skilled at working with their students”. She talks of “partnerships between schools, government and community service providers to allow schools to be community hubs for people beyond current students, such as their families”. And—hallelujah!—on page 11 we get the first mention of families.
That brings me to what I consider a few glaring omissions. The first is that there is little reference to the role of parents. We talk of schools, we talk of teachers, we talk of school leaders, we talk of communities—all core to education—but nowhere in the statement does the minister outline the role of parents.
The minister has had conversations with parents—I know this—and acknowledges that parents want the very best for their children, as I am sure she herself, as a parent, does. Parental engagement by the school is a key factor in providing the best opportunities for students that have not had the best start in life, or whose parents through language, health or other impediments are not able to support their child in their education.
On this point, I can speak with personal experience, having grown up as the child of parents who did not understand a single word in a school newspaper or in any notes sent home by a teacher. If it had not been for the engagement that my parents showed in different ways, I would not have had the opportunities to access the world-class education that I have. Some encouraging work was done a few years ago by a previous education minister, and I hope it is again a focus in the future.
The statement also makes no reference to choice in education, so one has to wonder what implications it might have for the substantial non-government education sector here in the ACT. I am not sure what opportunities for consultations the non-government has had in the future of education conversations. The minister references partnerships between schools and organisational systems around our learning communities—whatever that might mean—but does that include non-government schools?
She says that providing the education of the future requires systems that are harmonious with the directions set out by the future of education strategy. I am aware that with little information as to the scope or purpose of doing so, work is being done on altering the principles and objectives in the Education Act, which I understand is the first of a tranche of changes to come.
Home education appears to have also been overlooked in this statement altogether. Is that the first system that might become what the government calls non-harmonious,