Page 2712 - Week 09 - Wednesday, 12 August 2015

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The advisory group talked about gaps between knowledge and skills regarding universities preparing their teaching graduates, and those skills and knowledge that are needed for teachers to thrive in the classroom. Of course, state and territory governments and non-government schools are the employers of teachers, so it is important that they work closely with the federal government and commit to the findings that the advisory group has delivered and which the federal government has now endorsed.The ACT government has demonstrated an appetite and a willingness to date to ensure that teacher quality is an important driver of education reform. But as research shows, Australia is losing ground on international rankings and we cannot and must not be satisfied that the ACT is doing better than other states, so everything is okay, as the last line in this motion today suggests. “To ensure ACT students continue to achieve excellent school outcomes,” as the motion proposes, could be interpreted to mean we are doing enough and we should simply continue to do what we are doing, or more of the same.

There is lumpiness in our school results. We do have better results in some areas than in others and we do know that literacy and numeracy are important but are not widely and consistently delivered to acceptable standards. We also know that the previous federal Labor government’s $540 million literacy and numeracy program did not deliver any significant improvement in either literacy or numeracy in any state. So it is not just about throwing a bucket of money at the problem. Improving student outcomes across the board and throughout all schools, and not just highlighting the shining stars in our system, must be the focus for the future.

I again thank Dr Bourke for this motion today and commit the Canberra Liberals to supporting better education outcomes for all ACT students.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (12.18): The ACT Greens are happy to support the motion before us today calling, as it does, on the government to work with all stakeholders to improve teacher quality and to ensure excellent outcomes for our students. The ACT Greens believe that high quality, free and equitable education is a cornerstone of a healthy democracy and is fundamental to Australia’s continued prosperity.

We understand that learning is a lifelong process fostered in both formal education and informal settings from early childhood through adult life, and we believe everyone should have equitable access to an education that meets their needs and aspirations and gives them the skills and capacity to participate in society. The Greens are committed to closing the gap in academic achievement associated with students’ socioeconomic status and cultural background.

We would like to see improved educational and training outcomes for young people with a disability or a learning difficulty by expanding and diversifying alternative settings and programs within schools for students with complex learning needs or experiencing barriers to mainstream education. It is important that a diversity of teaching methods are considered and evaluated in this objective, as we know there is a

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