Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 12 Hansard (Thursday, 15 October 2009) . . Page.. 4615 ..
MS PORTER (Ginninderra) (4.40): I am very happy to be speaking today on the importance of developing and delivering policies that advance education for all students in the ACT. As we know, education builds skills, grows productivity and strengthens the economy. It is about our children and young people learning and reaching their full potential. Good education provides an opportunity for a better future for every student. Good education in this country lies in the provision of universal opportunity and our challenge is to produce universal outcomes.
This Labor government seeks to provide an education that is absolutely the best education for every child in the ACT. We will not accept disadvantaged young people being left behind; we will not accept high achievers being bored. Today I will highlight early childhood education and the importance of literacy and numeracy and teacher quality and how we are helping schools to plan for climate change. I will also update the Assembly on our almost half billion dollar investment in school capital works and our progress on the building the education revolution works.
Early childhood education and early intervention is the most effective way of enhancing educational outcomes for all. That is why we have developed our early childhood school model and established these schools across the ACT. This model is as significant a reform of education as the creation of our college system in the 1970s. We have built four early childhood schools and we are planning for more early childhood schools where they are needed most. They provide integrated services to children and their families.
Services include preschool to year 2 classes, childcare, family support services and maternal health services. Therefore, these schools are a one-stop shop for families. I am pleased to say that there have been strong enrolments and parents are very pleased with the way that their children have settled into care. Families have also welcomed the 15-hour preschool education in the early childhood schools. Particularly important to this unique educational model is the smooth transition that children experience going from childcare to preschool and school. We are advancing education for all students in the ACT.
The basics that matter the most in education are reading, writing and arithmetic. So Labor is investing in literacy and numeracy in all our schools. Our commitment of over $6 million will allow for 21 specialist literacy and numeracy teachers in our schools. They will work with other teachers to build their skills and professional development. We will improve student outcomes in literacy and numeracy. We are also expanding the u-can read program. We are rolling out the first steps reading and writing and count me in too programs as part of the ACT’s literacy and numeracy strategy.
We have a moral responsibility to give all our children and young people the best possible education. That means giving them the best possible teachers. What will make the most difference to a successful 21st century education? Teacher quality. Extra teachers and reduced class sizes are the necessary first step. That is why Labor is meeting our election commitments and reducing average class sizes across all age groups.