Page 2708 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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teaching workforce here in the ACT remain a priority for our government and indeed governments across the country. The recent COAG meeting in Sydney also identified this as a priority, with first ministers recognising the critical role teacher quality plays in delivering better educational outcomes.

I was pleased to see the Queensland Premier and our ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr agreeing to work together to develop options to progress school reform in school education as a result of that COAG meeting. I believe the ACT Labor government’s commitment to teacher quality will help us all as we continue to raise the bar for the profession of teaching.

The teaching profession here is strong, and the results of our students show, year after year, just how wonderful our teachers are. But this is not an excuse to be complacent. We must continue to strive for excellence so that our education system is one that our community can continue to be proud of. Canberra is seen as a wonderful place to raise children, and our quality education system is a big part of that. We need to ensure it stays that way. We need to adopt a range of measures to ensure that our teachers are supported and are at the cutting edge of teaching practice.

The ACT government has taken a leading role when it comes to instituting measures that will substantially improve teacher quality. In 2011 this government established the ACT Teacher Quality Institute, which has in turn set up a framework for the teaching profession that is focused on quality improvement, not just regulation. The institute works to build the professional capabilities and standing of all ACT teachers, whether in Catholic, independent or public schools. It works by registering all teachers seeking to work in ACT schools, ensuring that our teachers are appropriately qualified and continue to uphold the standards of the teaching profession.

Alongside the institute’s role is our plan to introduce a literacy and numeracy test for all new public school teachers. This will enhance teacher recruitment here in Canberra. Like a lot of professions, the community expects a certain standard of our teachers. It is fair to say that a high standard of literacy and numeracy is expected. That is why this government’s plan to introduce a literacy and numeracy test is important, to ensure that our teachers have literacy and numeracy levels in the top 30 per cent of the country.

The Teacher Education Ministerial Advisory Group was established in February 2014 to examine how new teachers can be better prepared with the right mix of academic and practical skills needed for the classroom. The ministerial advisory group finalised its report into teacher quality in Australia earlier this year. The report found that there is a high degree of variability in the quality of training provided to initial teacher education students and recommended changes to initial teacher education that are practical and achievable. The report concluded that universities alone cannot reform the training of our teachers. Successful reform will require collaborative partnerships between universities, school systems, teacher regulatory authorities and governments.

The advisory group’s recommendations seek to achieve improvements in both the content and delivery of initial teacher education courses in Australia. These recommendations are important, and the ACT is already leading the way in

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