Page 2275 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2016

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Thursday, 4 August 2016

MADAM SPEAKER (Mrs Dunne) took the chair at 10 am and asked members to stand in silence and pray or reflect on their responsibilities to the people of the Australian Capital Territory.

Schools for all

Ministerial statement

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo—Minister for Corrections, Minister for Education, Minister for Justice and Consumer Affairs and Minister for Road Safety) (10.02): Today I am pleased to share with members the progress being made on implementing the recommendations of the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour. The report was handed down on 23 November 2015 and the schools for all program is now six months into implementation. Today I will outline the significant progress that has been made to date.

I have recently received the second quarterly reports reviewed by the independent Program Oversight Group. The reports cover the period from March to May 2016. Chair of the oversight group, Ms Carol Lilley, has advised me that the oversight group consider that the program is progressing well.

Since the publication of the first quarterly reports, there has been considerable work done on assessing priorities, dependencies and deliverables under each of the projects. As you would appreciate, this is a large body of work and as activities are progressed the dependencies and factors impacting on delivery schedules become more evident.

Ms Lilley also particularly acknowledged the ongoing commitment to collaboration that is evident across the three sectors: public, Catholic and independent schools. Several of the recommendations are being progressed by cross-sectoral working groups, sharing knowledge to ensure that all students benefit from the collective planning and implementation. From a whole-of-territory viewpoint, this is a great outcome.

A good example of cross-sectoral collaboration is the establishment of a project group, led by the Teacher Quality Institute, with representation from the Education Directorate, Catholic Education, the Association of Independent Schools, University of Canberra and Australian Catholic University. This group is progressing recommendation 13.1 to review and improve the theoretical and practical relevance of initial teacher education units with respect to teaching students with complex needs and challenging behaviours. This work is expected to be completed during 2017-18 allowing time for broad consultation and the delivery of key actions required to meet this recommendation.

I have requested that the Teacher Quality Institute ensure that initial teacher education graduates from ACT universities are trained in strategies to engage and address the needs of students with complex needs and challenging behaviours. This will be achieved by integrating the principles of inclusive education throughout the teacher education program or through specialised units within the program.

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