Page 787 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 9 March 2005

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environments which will equip them with skills for the future. The curriculum principles and framework are constantly updated and improved. The new ACT curriculum is based on there being essential areas of knowledge that all students are required to know and understand. The new curriculum is more adaptable and flexible than the previous curriculum in acknowledging the range of ways that students learn and what it is essential for them to know in the 21st century.

Ongoing work would draw on the expertise of curriculum leaders in our schools and school systems, and of curriculum experts, professional associations, and academic institutions, in a rigorous and collaborative process. The work ahead is challenging and exciting. It provides a significant opportunity to revitalise professional dialogue about what and how our students should learn. The new principles and framework will support teachers and schools in developing and creating an innovative learning experience to achieve the best possible outcomes for all students. It is an exciting time for education in the ACT, and I look forward to the work ahead, and to being involved with students, teachers, parents and the community in this work.

MR GENTLEMAN: I have a supplementary question. Can the minister outline the consultative framework engaged in by the government and the reaction of the education community and other stakeholders to the launch of the new curriculum.

MS GALLAGHER: The work involved in putting this important framework together was extremely collaborative. There was extensive consultation around what was needed, where we wanted to be placed and how schools could be involved in that. There were a number of organisations involved in the development of the framework. It was headed up by the curriculum renewal task force, with representatives from the Department of Education and Training, the Catholic Education Office, the Association of Independent Schools, the ACT Council of P&C Associations, the Association of Parents & Friends of ACT Schools, the Australian Education Union, the Independent Education Union, the University of Canberra, the Curriculum Corporation, the Indigenous Education Consultative Body, the Council of ACT Education Associations, government school principals, primary and secondary, the ACT Chamber of Commerce and Industry, students from government schools, students from non-government schools, the School Board Forum and the Canberra Institute of Technology.

As you just heard, 15 key educational stakeholders were involved in a collaborative process, making sure that students at any school in Canberra, non-government and government, have access to the most up-to-date, leading the way, provision of education in their schools. I will now outline the individuals who have not been involved in this. One: Mrs Dunne. Mrs Dunne does not like the curriculum framework. She is the sole voice of dissent in this framework. Maybe these 15 leading ACT education stakeholder groups have it all wrong! The comments Mrs Dunne has made include, “The ACT government is hooked on the discredited education fashions of the 1960s.”

Commentator after commentator have said this is leading the way with curriculum development in Australia. It is placing us at the forefront in the new millennium rather than the 1960s. She expresses the concern that it “doesn’t provide any subject matter” and that it is “student centred”. So there should not be students involved in it—we have got that wrong—and it is not based on any subject matter. Mrs Dunne is not a teacher and neither am I. We are not experts in curriculum design or development. We do not

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