A1 The organisation
“Schools are interconnected systems —like ripples in a pond”
Hargreaves and Fink
Our vision and values
To ensure the ACT Department of Education and Training (the Department) plays a significant role in the future development of Canberra as a knowledge-based community, our vision is to see that all young people in the ACT learn, thrive and are equipped with the skills to lead fulfilling, productive and responsible lives. As we look towards realizing this vision it is critical that all students have an opportunity to benefit from its achievement. To this end, the Department has promoted a connected and inclusive culture where everyone matters.
Fulfilment of our vision is supported by a common set of values. We value honesty, excellence, fairness and respect. With these four anchors in place we have the internal capacity to help others aspire and achieve; to make a difference and do things better.
With a future-oriented vision we see ourselves as part of a connected community – a fluid network of experiences and opportunities. As suggested in our opening statement, and through our cover design, the interconnected nature of our school system promotes our ability to positively influence the lives of young people in the ACT.
The Department operates across a connected community made up of students in ACT public and non-government schools, their parents and carers, their teachers and administrative staff, as well as interested members of the public. The Department also caters to the needs of trainees and apprentices through coordination of activities related to training organisations and advisory bodies, industry and community organisations.
To meet the needs of this diverse community our role is to provide: early intervention education programs, public school education at preschool, primary school, high school and senior secondary college levels; registration of non-government schools and home education; and the planning and coordination of vocational education and training.
In February 2010, there were 38,853 students enrolled in 83 public schools. This represented 59 percent of the total ACT student population of 65,412 with almost nine in 10 (87%) preschool level enrolments in public schools.
Overall public school enrolment was up 573 students (2%) since 2009. By distribution this represents an increase of 410 students in primary, 68 in high and 66 in college sectors. This was the first time in over five years there was an increase in public high school enrolments. It was also the first time in more than 10 years that the increase in the number of enrolments in public schools exceeded the increase in the number of enrolments in non-government schools.
Since the last report in 2009, the total number of Indigenous students in ACT schools increased by 150 students (11%) to 1,480. The public sector continued to have the highest number of Indigenous students (1,208).
In 2010, there was an increase of 153 enrolments (7%) of students with special needs. Since the 2009 report, the number of students with special needs increased by 85 in public schools and 68 in non-government schools.
The Department’s organisational structure has continued to evolve to best meet its strategic and operational objectives. The new structure was implemented in January 2010 and coincided with the release of our new Strategic Plan 2010-2013: Everyone matters. The changes are forward looking, being designed to best position the Department for adapting to the rapidly changing context of the national education landscape.
The Department is comprised of four Divisions, overseen by a Senior Executive Team comprised of the Chief Executive (Dr Jim Watterston), Deputy Chief Executive (Ms Diane Joseph), and three Executive Directors (Mr Phillip Tardif, Ms Jayne Johnston, and Ms Leanne Cover).
Supporting the Senior Executive Team is a Corporate Executive comprised of four School Network Leaders and nine Branch Directors.
School Improvement Division
The Division of School Improvement aligns three branches around the Department’s strategic directions to optimise teaching and learning.
The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and Student Support Branch has responsibility for providing direction for closing the learning achievement gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and other students. The Branch also provides services for students with a disability delivered through practical and measurable activities, as well as providing services and programs to support student well-being. These initiatives provide improved levels of support for individual students and targeted programs to maximise their educational opportunities.
The Learning and Teaching Branch is responsible for curriculum development and renewal, improving teacher quality and leadership capacity, and literacy and numeracy programs. The Branch is also responsible for the delivery of early childhood learning and development services to schools. Together these enhance quality teaching and assessment, and improve the learning outcomes of students.
The Schools Network Branch is responsible for ensuring these services and programs are delivered through an integrated and comprehensive approach across four school networks. The School Network Leaders work with their principals to improve the performance of every school by focusing on enhancing accountability, increasing the availability and use of data and building the capacity of teachers.
Strategy and Coordination Division
The Department’s forward looking objectives are informed by an evidence-base that draws together intelligence about overall performance. In this respect the Division of Strategy and Coordination gathers, interprets and assesses a wide range of indicators, providing a system overview of status and progress.
The Division is responsive to the national reform agenda as described in the National Education Agreement and associated partnerships. Maintaining effective and strategic relationships with the Council of Australian Governments is a key component of the Division’s objectives.
The ACT’s unique and changing demographic make-up requires a comprehensive approach to school planning, with a view to achieving short and long-term efficiencies. The Division works with other ACT agencies to ensure Canberra’s social planning includes an educational focus.
The Division fosters a strong, ethical and collaborative organisational culture. With a responsibility for establishing effective governance structures the Division creates an environment from which stakeholder and client partnerships can develop.
The Division has oversight of the Department’s overall information strategy, managing effective communications within the Department, as well as with government, the community and media. The innovative and effective use of learning technologies is integral to achieving many departmental priorities.
In addition, the Division oversees departmental processes pertaining to legal matters and risk management. The Department’s records are managed through the Division, which also attends to necessary audits according to established schedules.
Corporate Services Division
The Department’s overall budget and financial arrangements are coordinated through the Division of Corporate Services. These arrangements are established upon a framework of financial policies that ensure the effective and efficient delivery of services.
The Division also has oversight of the Department’s human resources. This includes the recruitment and staffing of the teaching workforce. Its responsibilities extend to the coordination of Teacher Quality National Partnership reforms, the collection and analysis of workforce data, and the implementation of the Department’s workplace health and safety improvement strategy. The Division manages industrial relations and the development and implementation of all workplace agreements.
The Division manages the Department’s capital resources and is responsible for the overall management of six capital works programs: New Schools; Building the Education Revolution; Schools Infrastructure and Refurbishment; Capital Upgrades; Environmental Sustainable Design; and Repairs and Maintenance.
Tertiary and International Education Division
The Division is responsible for the overall management of vocational education and training, and non–self-accrediting higher education in the ACT, and for the marketing of ACT public education internationally. The Division’s responsibilities include vocational learning, and career and transition support for young people as they transition through school and as they progress to post-school options, and for the provision of strategic advice on these matters.
This involves managing requirements under national registration and monitoring and audit processes for vocational and higher education. It also involves managing all aspects of Australian Apprenticeships training and support for equity groups through the funding of targeted training programs.
The Division has a role in facilitating capacity building for providers through forums and workshops in vocational education and training (VET) and higher education. It is responsible for ensuring that appropriate industry and community consultation informs decisions about funding priorities and that vocational education and training is promoted in the ACT.
In addition, the Division of Tertiary and International Education is responsible for the welfare and support of overseas fee-paying students and aims to ensure that international fee-paying students have a positive experience and achieve excellent educational outcomes while they undertake study in an ACT public school.
Our clients and stakeholders
As expressed in the theme of our new Strategic Plan, Everyone matters, clients are an integral part of our operations. The Department touches the lives of over 60,000 school students and 20,000 VET students in the ACT, and their families and carers, on a daily basis.
Underpinning the achievement of our strategic priorities is a productive relationship with stakeholders.
Learning and teaching outcomes are advanced by successful collaborations with the community. During the year, Canberra College was the recipient of a national award recognising a ground-breaking school- community partnership.
School environments are enriched by the involvement of community associations, professional organisations, health care and early learning providers, and the rich resource of volunteers.
The National Education Agreement has heightened the importance of productive client-based relationships. The Department has built the education revolution in partnership with a host of contracted service providers. Together we have refreshed, refurbished and rejuvenated educational infrastructures to support learning and teaching and improve student access to state of the art educational facilities and environments.
With a greater focus on student pathways and transitions the Department recognises, and continues to encourage, the contribution of the tertiary sector, training organisations, employer associations and the myriad of national working parties and expert advisory bodies.
Equally, our clients rely on dependable educational services and accurate advice. In displaying leadership and corporate development we fulfil a critical role in supporting the work of media organisations, research councils, and Commonwealth agencies with independent charters to raise the standard of educational outcomes.
We maintain effective relationships with our employees and their representatives, so that together we can establish high-performing work cultures which are recognised as satisfying and rewarding.
The Department’s links with the community extend more broadly to engagement with the ACT Indigenous community, community organisations who make use of school facilities, and our colleagues in the non- government education system.
The Department continues to operate a range of processes for interacting with clients and stakeholders. One important process is through regular meetings with key stakeholder groups, such as the ACT Council of Parents & Citizen Associations, the Australian Education Union and the ACT Principals’ Association. Another is the process of community consultation, which allows all stakeholders to have a say on issues of importance to them. This included consultation on the review into special education.
With a focus on high-quality leadership and corporate development we are seeking to ensure that our clients and stakeholders recognise us as a responsive, innovative and high-achieving organisation that delivers on its commitments.
Canberra College recognised for its groundbreaking work in engaging students
An innovative program at Canberra College has been recognised nationally, receiving a National Impact Award from the Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard. As winners of the national award the school received $750,000 on top of the $100,000 it received as the winner of the state-level awards.
The awards are made to encourage school–community partnerships. The Canberra College program, ‘CCCares’, provides health and educational support to young students with children or who are pregnant so they can complete their year 12 studies.
CCCares has grown from about 12 students to 95 and those graduating have risen from one in the first year to 20 in 2008. It provides free health, medical and nutritional advice for students and their children, as well as childcare and preschool facilities, cooking classes, typing and other courses.
The award money will help to develop both the health and educational programs at CCCares and the newly created Australian Pregnant and Parenting Network. Through this the College will be able to provide advice and resources to other schools across the nation.
Staff, students of Canberra College and Acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard celebrating the recognition of the CCCares program. Photo courtesy of SDP Media (November 2009)