Page 3378 - Week 11 - Tuesday, 20 September 2005

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for students and families through a schools equity fund and additional funding for preschools. In 2004-05, there has been a focus on ICT, healthy students and the needs of our indigenous community. In the second appropriation we delivered on our commitment to ICT with the provision of interactive whiteboards. In the most recent budget, we put in added investment for students with a disability, greater support for preschools and a school building renewal fund. My government has continued to support education through all its budgets to prepare our students for the future. Key to this commitment is providing our students with high quality curriculum, well remunerated and supported teachers and a state of the art teaching and learning environment.

In summary, the net result of the over 40 Stanhope government education and training initiatives since we came to government is $94.1 million, or a 27 per cent increase on the 2001-02 Liberal government budget. This amount includes the 2005-06 budget initiatives of $24 million. Investing in our children’s education is, I believe, the best means of securing jobs for our young people and a continuing solid future for the ACT.

The government is also ensuring that the curriculum has relevance for students and that they are motivated to engage with their learning. To achieve this, an integrated curriculum renewal program for the ACT from preschool to year 10 across eight broad learning areas will be established through the curriculum renewal project. This will result in a renewed contemporary ACT curriculum that establishes what students should know, understand and be able to do in 12 years of schooling.

Is this 1960s faddish renewal, as the opposition has spuriously suggested? It is vital that our schools provide students with the knowledge, skills and attributes that they will need to lead productive and happy lives and contribute to the community. The new ACT curriculum framework defines what is essential for every child to learn at school to prepare them for the 21st century, the century that we are in.

It is a forward-looking curriculum framework already incorporating significant directions, such as financial literacy, that the Australian government and other states and territories are only starting to take up. The new ACT framework is being developed through a rigorous process of research and consultation involving teachers, parents and students from all school sectors, academics and community organisations.

The ACT has consistently lead Australia in literacy and numeracy. ACTAP results released in July of this year show that, for reading in years 3, 5 and 7, ACT students ranked highest or second highest in Australia. The ACT has maintained the trend of previous years, with at least 95 per cent of ACT year 3 students achieving at or above the benchmark standard for reading and numeracy. The ACT year 7 benchmark results in 2003 for reading, writing and numeracy were amongst the highest in Australia.

In September of this year, our students again shone with the release of the results of the year 6 national science assessment measuring scientific literacy. The ACT achieved a mean score of 430 and was the only state or territory with a performance significantly above the national mean. In the year 6 national science assessment, student results are reported against proficiency levels ranging from 2 to 4. Seventy per cent of ACT students achieved the proficient standard or better compared with 58 per cent nationally and 13.6 per cent exceeded the proficiency level compared with 7.7 per cent nationally.

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