Page 2824 - Week 08 - Wednesday, 16 August 2017

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teacher professional standards. Recognition in this way is important because it supports a growing respect for the teaching profession. Raising the standing of teachers in the community through increasing professionalism was one of the clear lessons from my study trip to Finland and Singapore. It is also one of the issues the government is discussing with the community as part of the future of education process.

I have spoken a lot in this Assembly about the future of education work because it is a vital part of how the government is delivering on its commitment to education for the next generation. I reported last sitting week on the huge amount of activity in schools and across the community in this conversation. We have already received lots of submissions and had hundreds of conversations in a range of different ways to make sure that the process is as accessible as possible to as many people as possible.

I have personally heard from children, parents, carers, teachers, educators, school support staff, school leaders, school board members, academic experts, unions, community and health service providers, regulatory and government agencies and more. The conversation has spread right across the city, in both government and non-government schools. Just a few days ago, I had the opportunity to meet with a representative group of parents and teachers in Catholic systemic schools. This conversation continues, but already there are some clear themes that will help to inform the development of a strategy. I mentioned some of these a few weeks ago.

We are being told about the important role that schools have as hubs for their community and how this provides an opportunity for young Canberrans to be better supported with the things they have going on. Mental health, for example, is commonly raised, as is the need to support all children, regardless of their background or circumstances. Along similar lines, the community is raising the importance of seeing students as individual and unique people. Different students learn in different ways; they excel in different areas and struggle differently. All of this is normal and it is beautiful. Our approach to education needs to accept and respond to this.

Alongside that, the government needs to take a closer look at the things that are measured and evaluated for students, in schools and school systems. Data needs to be useful for supporting individual students and making school and system improvement. As the saying goes, what you measure is what you focus on. The things students are being taught also really matter. Students, as well as their parents, have often spoken of the need for young people to be prepared to enter adult life, with both the general capabilities they will need for work and also broader life skills.

The future of education work is a clear example of the government’s commitment to education. I kicked off this process talking about the government’s belief in a diverse and creative school system which embraces difference in our children, empowers teachers and educators and fosters excellence. I spoke of a thriving and inclusive education community where background, culture, gender, class, religion, sexuality, wealth or ability exclude nobody, a system where children learn together with others very different from themselves.

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