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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 13 Hansard (Thursday, 18 November 2010) . . Page.. 5644 ..

practicum and a range of in-service education opportunities, including targeted scholarships. New school centres of teacher education excellence will be created. Initially, these centres will be created in our early childhood schools, but in the long term we will extend these centres of excellence to all ACT school sectors. These initiatives will support our goal to have the best classroom teachers earning six-figure salaries and to have accelerated career progression for hardworking and enthusiastic teachers.

Importantly, the national partnership emphasises having a set of nationally consistent professional standards. These standards, managed and maintained by the Teacher Quality Institute, will be an essential part of the framework for rewarding top performing classroom teachers with six-figure salaries. Finally, and most importantly, at the local level the ACT has entered into this national partnership on improving teacher quality jointly with all school sectors. This involves the ACT Department of Education and Training, the ACT Catholic Education Office and the ACT Association of Independent Schools. This in my view is a tremendous opportunity for the sectors to work collaboratively on a broad range of reforms to improve teacher quality and teacher effectiveness in all ACT schools and this is because, as I have said many times, the old public/private debate in education is over.

The role of the institute will be threefold. Firstly, it will implement a registration process for teachers. This will facilitate greater career opportunities and enable a more accurate demographic picture to be maintained of the ACT teaching workforce. Secondly, the institute will play a significant role in enhancing the quality of graduate teachers through the accreditation of pre-service teacher education courses. The institute will also quality assure professional development programs. Finally, the institute will play a lead role in the adoption and contextualisation of national standards for teachers and teaching leadership in the ACT. As a result, a nationally consistent definition of quality teaching and leadership will be created.

Consultation within the ACT throughout 2007 and 2008 clearly identified support for an independent body to undertake these as part of a national approach to teaching reform and enhanced teacher quality. Upon its establishment, the institute will deliver on this commitment. These, however, will not be the only tasks for which the institute will have responsibility. This legislation also broadens access to professional recognition and continuing professional development for all teachers, including women, Indigenous persons and those traditionally disadvantaged in the labour market.

The institute will work collaboratively with all sectors to ensure that access to career opportunities and professional development is equitable and enhances student outcomes. The institute will create, manage and maintain leading edge teaching standards in the ACT. In parallel, the institute will work closely with employers to heighten the attraction, placement, development, retention and sustainability of a quality teaching workforce in the territory. A high quality teaching workforce will have wider benefits for the community and the economy as ACT students graduate and go on to either further education or join the workforce as more highly skilled, committed and motivated employees.

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