Page 1874 - Week 06 - Thursday, 5 May 2005

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MR GENTLEMAN: Mr Speaker, I have a supplementary question. Minister, how do these initiatives support children and teachers to achieve their best?

MS GALLAGHER: As I have mentioned, this government believes fairness and equity should always underpin our school system. I have mentioned before in this chamber and in public that ACT students perform at the highest levels, achieving excellence in all fields. Our latest ACTAP scores demonstrate that the ACT continues to lead the nation. Our schools excellence initiative provides an overarching framework in developing student learning, innovation and best practice in ACT schools.

Students are achieving high standards in reading, writing and numeracy. In Year 7 alone, reading results went from 91 per cent above benchmark in 2002-03 to 95 per cent above benchmark in 2004. Our students continue to achieve excellent results in writing, with results in 2004 comparable to those in previous years.

Students in the ACT have performed at a high level in numeracy, with 95 per cent of Year 3 students and 92 per cent of Year 5 students above benchmark in 2004. The results for Year 7 students against the numeracy benchmark are of concern—we admit that—being lower than those in reading and writing. This is a nationwide trend and the ACT results from 2001 to 2004 are among the best in the country.

These results and the great performance of ACT students have been reinforced internationally. The last PISA figures show ACT students in the same ballpark as students from Singapore—which maintains arguably South East Asia’s best education system—and Hong Kong. The PISA study looked at a mix of schools; however, in the ACT, public schools predominated. Recognition from this international study is a great achievement for the students and teachers of Canberra’s schools.

The valued teaching and support staff of ACT schools continue to be supported with fair rates of pay and excellent working conditions. They are supported through professional development opportunities and the refurbished facilities at the relocated centre for teaching and learning, an ACT government facility that provides a comprehensive library service, professional development opportunities and other facilities to improve teaching and learning resources for all teachers.

The work of the ACT government, in partnership with school communities, is delivering an excellent education system, which responds to the needs of students as individuals and supports them appropriately. The ACT government does not seek to create a one-size-fits-all education sector, but has worked towards an education sector that delivers.

It being 3.00 pm, questions were interrupted in accordance with the order of the Assembly.

Appropriation Bill 2005-2006

Debate resumed from 3 May 2005, on motion by Mr Quinlan:

That this bill be agreed to in principle.

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