Page 3350 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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workforce to improve the literacy and numeracy outcomes of all students. Providing targeted professional development for literacy and numeracy coordinators in every school has been identified as an effective way of building teacher capacity. Mr Assistant Speaker, you cannot underestimate the importance of literacy and numeracy as the building blocks for further education. So this is a very substantial imitative.

In addition, the government has committed $3.3 million to a suite of strategies designed to improve the literacy and numeracy of Indigenous students. Indigenous students from kindergarten to year 4 are being provided with explicit and systematic support to improve their literacy and numeracy development. This funding will also be used to provide support for and to mentor higher achieving Indigenous students in years 6 and 10 to successfully transition to high school and college respectively. Indigenous education officers based in high schools will support one or more high schools and contributing primary schools and work to improve attendance and establish the connection between the schools and their Indigenous communities—another very important initiative.

Studies have also shown that effective educational leaders are vital in assisting teachers in the delivery of engaging and challenging curriculum programs. In recognition of their key role, the government is providing current and aspiring school leaders with quality professional learning in educational leadership, including quality teaching, evidence-based practice and the integration of ICT into the curriculum. In 2008, professional learning in school leadership for principals will focus on Indigenous education. Principals will engage in discussions about the collection, analysis and use of data to inform the development of strategies to improve student outcomes, and particularly the outcomes of Indigenous and disadvantaged students. Seventy-seven schools have joined the Dare to Lead program to improve educational outcomes for Indigenous students through innovative resources and teaching methods.

In recognition of the importance of sustaining effective leadership for our schools, $420,000 over two years has been provided to develop existing and aspiring educational leaders at all levels of the ACT Department of Education and Training. This initiative includes a mentoring program for newly appointed leaders, a residential program to be offered to selected aspiring leaders and a new leadership framework outlining the leadership skills required at each level of school leadership.

As part of our overall focus on quality teaching, this government has also provided funding of $300,000 to provide professional development, including high-quality interactive language training for primary school teachers and language teachers, to ensure quality programs for students. This initiative has been implemented because of the research that demonstrates that studying other cultures and languages enhances intercultural understanding and prepares our children and young people for participation in a culturally diverse and globalised society.

In 2008, teachers have been provided with numerous opportunities to undertake targeted professional learning in languages education. Eminent speakers have addressed teachers and provided practical strategies for teachers to engage students in sustained languages learning. This year, high-quality language-specific and ICT professional learning workshops are being provided, focusing on resources which

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