Page 2276 - Week 07 - Thursday, 4 August 2016

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In addition to the cross-sectoral collaboration, there are a number of highlights in the second quarterly reports that I would like to draw to the attention of members of the Assembly. As I have stated on other occasions, it is important to recognise that this program is not simply about actioning 50 recommendations. More importantly, it is about implementing a three-year program of cultural change. However, it is pleasing to see that the schools for all oversight group has endorsed the closure of nine recommendations since the program commenced this year.

To achieve the cultural change that we are talking about, each sector remains committed to long-term continual improvement against all elements of the program, including having clear future actions against recommendations that have closed. The next steps acknowledge the changing environment in education nationally and ensure that each recommendation is not an end point but establishes and embeds ongoing improvements. The quarterly reports from each sector demonstrate a strong focus on student wellbeing and building positive school cultures. All of this goes to the core of the expert panel’s intent of creating and providing safe, supportive schools for all students.

Madam Speaker, supporting the wellbeing of students—wellbeing for learning—is a key focus in our schools. The expert panel noted that “each child starts school and comes to school each day with varying capacities to participate, behave and learn. A student-centred approach takes into account the specific needs of each student in their family, peer and community contexts”.

Wellbeing for learning is an approach that encompasses having the right learning environments, evidence-based programs and well equipped staff to support inclusion and learning for all students. The quarterly reports show progress in each of these areas.

This progress is expressed in responses to a number of recommendations. Across all Canberra schools, the ACT has the highest take up rate of the KidsMatter and MindMatters programs nationally. These mental health programs are equipping teachers to invest in the social and emotional development and wellbeing of their students. Through the Principals Australia Institute, teachers and school leaders are being provided with professional development and support to implement these frameworks through whole school and community approaches.

In response to recommendation 9.1, 15 public schools have started implementing the positive behaviour for learning framework. Positive behaviour for learning, or PBL, is a whole-of-school approach to behaviour support that has a very strong evidence base in reducing problem behaviours and increasing academic outcomes.

The impact of PBL on student learning and wellbeing includes increased student engagement in learning, improved learning outcomes and decreased levels of problem behaviours. This has a positive effect on attendance rates, decreases suspensions and overall contributes to improved school climate.

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