Page 3351 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 20 August 2008

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teachers can use to improve the quality of their teaching and enhance the learning environment. Schools have also been provided with the best of curriculum resources across the country, including online resources and CDs to support their teaching programs. Support is also being provided to clusters of schools to encourage and ensure continuity of the same language from primary school through to high school.

A student’s overall wellbeing is critical to the successful achievement of academic outcomes. An important element of building a better future for our children through education is support for their wellbeing. This government has allocated $14.6 million to provide 16 additional teachers to high schools as pastoral care coordinators—one for every public high school in the ACT. Pastoral care coordinators commenced at the start of the 2008 school year and are offering a range of pastoral care and student welfare initiatives for ACT public high school students and their families. The pastoral care coordinators coordinate whole-school student pastoral care programs that take a personalised approach to supporting student wellbeing. They also have a role in supporting staff to promote and increase student attendance and engagement with learning and ultimately their connection to school.

The government has also allocated over $3.4 million over four years to the Moving Forward initiative, which has delivered an additional eight teachers as career advisers—one in each college. This will ensure that students have the very best advice and support in making decisions about their post-school pathways. It is very important to provide this for their future because it is always an uncertain time. No matter how confident you might be at that particular time in your life, you will be needing post-school advice on what you plan to do once you leave school.

The ACT government has also been a national leader in advancing the physical activity levels of school-age children. Three specialist physical education teachers have been appointed over the next three years to strengthen the capacity of public primary school teachers to deliver quality physical education experiences for their students. The ACT government provided $1.2 million in the second appropriation bill to support this commitment. This year, we instigated a physical activity challenge for the first time and this has proven to be a highly popular strategy for engaging students in physical activity.

A recent Access Economics report stated:

Education is increasingly becoming the ‘engine room’ of modern economies. If we get this part of the economy right, most other things ought to fall into place …

Research indicates that communities with a strong commitment to education can enjoy not only greater economic prosperity but also higher levels of participation in the community, greater social cohesion and integration, lower levels of crime and social disadvantage, and a more trusting, equitable and just society.

I noted with concern today that the number of Indigenous people in our jails has doubled, to 28 per cent of the prison population. If we are to break this cycle, we need to have these sorts of initiatives in place early on, to try and break that cycle. It is most important that we have these programs in place within the education setting. It is

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