Page 1281 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 5 May 2015
continuous learning and growth a rewarding one, both as individuals and as members of a respected profession. I say to all ACT teachers, whether they are in government schools, independent or Catholic schools, that I appreciate their efforts and the work they do, as do all the Canberra families who have students across our schools. I present the following paper:
Teaching Quality in the ACT—Ministerial statement, 5 May 2015.
That the Assembly takes note of the paper.
MS FITZHARRIS (Molonglo) (10.31): I thank the minister for raising this matter today because I know just how important having a quality teacher can be. The issue of teacher quality has taken on more and more importance in recent years, not because I believe there is a crisis in teacher quality in the ACT; rather, it is because the evidence continues to show very strongly the positive impact a highly capable, quality professional teacher has on student outcomes. This, no doubt, is not a surprise to many of us. I am sure none of us believed that the teacher in front of the classroom was a benign force. However, what has struck me, particularly since my own children started primary school, is the level of impact a high quality teacher has on their students.
The research has shown that a teacher is the largest in-school factor that contributes to a student’s outcomes. It has been shown that having a good teacher, as opposed to an average one, for five consecutive years is enough to close the performance gap between students of low SES and their more advantaged peers. Similarly, it is perhaps more important to note that while high quality teachers improve student results, the reverse is also true. Poor quality teaching has a net negative impact in student achievement. We as leaders in our community must ensure that in front of every class across the ACT is a capable, well qualified and supported teacher. To achieve this we cannot simply rely on chance. A good teacher is not something that simply emerges from the ether.
For too long I think that as a society we have just assumed good teaching simply happens. However, we must aim to ensure that we have good teachers by design. We must ensure that we have in place the systems and policies that support prospective teachers through their initial education and then again mentor and guide them through the first phases of their career. Dr Ben Jensen, previously of the Grattan Institute, now CEO of Learning First, noted that there are four key strategies needed to lift the quality of the teaching profession. These are: improving the quality of those seeking to enter the teaching profession; lifting the quality of the education and training received through initial education courses; continuing to develop the professional skills of teachers once employed in schools; and promoting, recognising and retaining effective teachers while seeking to remove ineffective teachers.
I am pleased, therefore, to hear from the minister about the leadership shown by the ACT towards the systemic improvement of teachers. In particular, I would like to congratulate the government for the establishment of the Teacher Quality Institute in 2011. As Minister Burch noted, since its establishment the TQI has worked very hard