Page 5842 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 7 December 2011

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As the minister has emphasised, this agreement has a far-reaching effect and rewards. It recognises our quality teachers and allows for significant positive reform. I am sure that the minister would agree with me in thanking the former minister, Mr Barr, for passing on to him a great education system. Mr Barr should be justly proud of his achievements and that of his directorate.

Once again I would recognise the significant role our teachers play in delivering quality teaching to our ACT students and I thank them.

Motion, as amended, agreed to.

Education—English as a second language

MR DOSZPOT (Brindabella) (4.07), by leave: I move the motion as amended:

That this Assembly:

(1) notes:

(a) that approximately 12 percent or nearly 4 900 students in ACT public schools have been assessed as requiring English as a second language (ESL) support, an increase of 35 percent since 2000;

(b) that under the current rating scale, only 55 percent of students identified in need of ESL support in ACT government schools attract ESL funding;

(c) that this continued lowering of English proficiency was the subject of several recommendations in the Legislative Assembly Standing Committee on Education, Training and Youth Affairs report, Inquiry into the Educational Achievement Gap in the ACT, of May 2010;

(d) that ESL school based facilitators, many of whom have no ESL qualifications, rely heavily on the support of two ESL executive officers, based in the Education and Training Directorate, who provide specialist ESL professional development for the entire Education and Training Directorate workforce, including advice and in-service programs;

(e) that the ACT Government had decided to cut 50 percent, or one of two, existing ESL executive officer positions, despite the objections of ESL teachers and their union; and

(f) that this will have the potential to further reduce the capability of ESL teachers, given the two officers currently have workloads well in excess of current demand; and

(2) calls on the ACT Government to:

(a) retain existing staff until consultations have been held with ESL classroom teachers and their representatives as to what their needs are in respect of professional development, departmental support and resources; and

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