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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Wednesday, 12 August 2015) . . Page.. 2714 ..

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (12.22): I thank Dr Bourke for moving this motion today because l always like to take the opportunity to talk about how the ACT education system is leading the nation on improving teacher quality. Members are, of course, aware that following the most recent COAG meeting in Sydney, the Chief Minister announced that the ACT would work with Queensland on developing options to progress school education reform across Australia. The announcement has firmly placed on the national agenda a commitment from all levels of government to improving student outcomes. As minister for education, I am very pleased that the ACT, along with Queensland, has been asked to lead this significant piece of work.

As I have said many times, I believe every Australian child, regardless of their background, location or school setting, should have the right to the best education we can provide. I believe this in my core, and it is central to the Labor government’s policy agenda. We as a community have the responsibility to ensure this right is realised, and we need to ensure that we enable the optimum education conditions for every child. We know the keys to achieving a goal such as this is school funding based on student need, moving the decision-making closer to the delivery point and, of course, the quality of teachers; and this goes to the core of the motion today—a focus on teacher quality.

Research clearly tells us that the quality of the teacher is paramount to achieving student outcomes. All teachers must be encouraged, supported and required to become as good as they can possibly be, always striving to be great teachers. Improving teacher quality is so important to achieving high student learning outcomes that it cannot be left to chance. Everything we do to improve teacher quality needs to be purposeful and well planned.

The improving teacher quality national partnership provided the impetus for the national collaboration effort that produced a number of tangible and practical mechanisms for improving teacher quality, such as the Australian professional standards for teachers, the Australian professional standard for principals, agreeing on nationally consistent processes for certifying teachers against those standards, and a nationally aligned teacher registration processes.

Locally, the ACT response to that national partnership was highly collaborative and cross-sectoral, involving the Catholic sector, the independent schools and the public education system. As a key initiative of the national partnership, the then minister for education and now our Chief Minister, established the ACT Teacher Quality Institute as an independent statutory authority to focus on improving and building the capacity of those entering the ACT teaching profession. I note that Mr Doszpot made no reference to TQI. Perhaps after his visit at the end of this week he will see and recognise the valuable work they do.

The institute has continued this collaboration and cross-sector focus in all of its subsequent work. The TQI has maintained a very active and highly engaged partnership with the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership in implementing nationally agreed initiatives to improve teacher quality.

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