Our performance in summary
- In NAPLAN 2012, the mean scores for ACT students were top or equal top across 16 of the 20 areas tested. The ACT continued to excel in reading, as the highest performing jurisdiction in Australia every year since 2008 and significantly ahead of the national mean.
- The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in the ACT at or above the national minimum standard was higher than the proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in Australia at or above the national minimum standard. This applied to all tests and all year levels in NAPLAN 2012.
- 86.2 percent of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in public schools achieved a Year 12 Certificate in 2012.
- 88.3 percent of public school year 12 students achieved a Year 12 Certificate in 2012.
- 93.5 percent of 2011 public school year 12 graduates were employed or studying in 2012, which exceeded the target of 92.0 percent.
- The attendance rate of public school students in years 1 to 10 in 2012 was 91.4 percent.
- 91 percent of year 10 public school students in 2012 proceeded to public colleges in 2013.
- 80.8 percent of students and 86.0 percent of parents and carers were satisfied with the education provided at their public school in 2012.
- 100 percent of parents were satisfied with the learning and developmental progress of their child attending an early intervention program in 2012.
- In 2012-13, 591 visits to licensed education and care services were conducted to meet requirements of the National Quality Framework for Early Childhood Education and Care.
- The number of apprentices and trainees in training in the ACT increased by 13.5 percent in 2012, compared with a national increase of 1.6 percent.
- The number of ACT VET students from non-English speaking backgrounds rose by 45.8 percent in 2012, compared with 6.6 percent nationally.
- In 2012, 92.2 percent of ACT VET graduates were employed or in further study after training, compared with 88.0 percent nationally, the highest rate of any jurisdiction.
- The ACT target for the number of funded training hours has been exceeded consistently over a number of years and in 2012-13 was exceeded by 8.6 percent.
- 93.9 percent of staff were retained by the Directorate during 2011-12.
Our performance is discussed in more detail in Sections A8, A9, B and C.
Our planning framework and direction setting mechanisms
The Directorate's vision, priorities and performance measures are expressed in the Strategic Plan 2010-2013: Everyone matters. Priorities in the Strategic Plan are derived from the higher level education and training objectives contained in The Canberra Plan: Towards Our Second Century and the associated underpinning plans. The Canberra Plan provides a basis for achievement against these important government objectives. The hierarchy of the Directorate's planning framework is presented in Figure A2.1.
Figure A2.1: Planning framework
Source: Planning and Performance Branch
Our Strategic Plan is underpinned by key organisational planning documents. The work program for the period 2012-13 was contained in the operational plans for 2012 and 2013 which provided details of key priorities and activities for the Directorate for each of the calendar years.
The operational plans broadly outline activities for the year and link performance measures from the Strategic Plan against these activities. There is regular reporting against the activities to the senior executive. Activities in the operational plans are translated into priorities and activities for business areas of the Directorate through annual business plans. Schools also address the priorities of the Strategic Plan and the operational plans through annual school plans. School Improvement in ACT Public Schools: Directions 2010-2013, together with the operational plans, guide school planning processes. School plans, endorsed by school boards, are published on school websites.
The Directorate has a number of internal controls designed to monitor and manage risk in delivering the Strategic Plan. The Internal Audit program and the Risk Management Framework are the primary risk management tools to manage, monitor and report on the Directorate's risk management and audit functions.
More information on the Directorate's governance arrangements, including risk management and the audit program, is provided at Sections C1 to C5.
Our organisational environment
The work of the Directorate is aligned with the Canberra Plan: Towards Our Second Century which places the ACT school system in a forward looking context. With one of the plan's seven strategic themes being 'excellent education, quality teaching and skills development', the Directorate's role is integral to achieving the Canberra Plan's overall vision.
Box A2.1: Fred Hollows awards
The ACT is the first education jurisdiction in Australia to introduce the Fred Hollows Awards program into schools. The Award encourages primary school students to follow in the late humanitarian's footsteps by making positive contributions at school and in their community.
The founding director of the Fred Hollows Foundation, Gabi Hollows, joined the ACT Minister for Education and Training, Dr Chris Bourke MLA for a special presentation ceremony on Wednesday 29 August 2012.
Ms Hollows congratulated 240 primary school students from across the ACT for the contribution they made to the life of their school and community throughout 2012. Dr Bourke acknowledged the Fred Hollows Foundation for the important role it has played in improving communities across Australia.
The Directorate continued to work with the Australian Government through the National Education Agreement, the National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development, the National Quality Framework on Early Childhood Education and Care and associated national partnerships in implementing national policy within local practice. In particular, the Directorate maintained strong working relationships with the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and the Department of Industry, Innovation, Science, Research and Tertiary Education.
Initiatives under the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform commenced in earnest following the endorsement of the ACT Implementation Plan by the Commonwealth in December 2012. This plan will guide reforms in the VET sector for the next four years. The four key areas of reform under the Agreement are quality, transparency, access and equity, and efficiency. The implementation plan illustrates that objectives of the National Partnership align with goals of the ACT population through high quality training through a well-regulated training sector.
In May 2013 the ACT Government signed an agreement with the Australian Government to move to the next phase of education reform in the ACT. The National Education Reform Agreement incorporates the National Plan for School Improvement and includes both national and local initiatives to improve educational outcomes for children and young people.
The Directorate maintained strong collaborative relationships with a number of national and local organisations supporting the delivery of education and training. The Directorate worked with the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority in the further development of the Australian Curriculum, in the development of standards and reporting for student achievement and in the administration of national assessment and reporting programs.
The Directorate supported the work of the ACT Teacher Quality Institute and the Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership to raise the standard of the teaching profession in the ACT and strengthen the quality and sustainability of the teaching workforce.
Close working relationships were maintained with a number of national authorities and regulators, to ensure high standards of education and training in the ACT. The Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA) is the national regulator for the vocational education and training sector. ASQA regulates courses and training providers to ensure nationally approved quality standards are met. The Australian Children's Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) has a national role to ensure that the National Quality Framework on Early Childhood Education and Care is implemented consistently and reliably, and worked with the Directorate as the local regulator on this basis.
In 2012-13, the Directorate continued to work closely with the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies, the authority responsible for the development of policy to ensure certification of senior secondary school studies in public and non-government schools in the ACT.
To enhance the likelihood of successful student transitions through the school system and beyond, the Directorate has developed strong links with the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT), the Australian National University (ANU), the Australian Catholic University and the University of Canberra (UC). Collaboration with CIT delivered innovations such as the incorporation of Flexible Learning Centres in Gungahlin College. The ANU Secondary College program is a collaboration between the Directorate and the ANU to provide an enhanced learning experience for year 11 and year 12 students in ACT schools and colleges. In 2012 and 2013 courses were provided in Conservation Biology, Chemistry, Japanese, Specialist Mathematics and Physics. From 2014 the ANU Extension Program will offer secondary students the opportunity to enrol in an ANU academic award program that will articulate into their tertiary studies.
Box A2.2: ACT student wins gold at national WorldSkills competition
In August 2012 a 15 member ACT team competed against thousands of competitors from across Australia in the WorldSkills national finals in Sydney. Three ACT students won medals, including Luke Wray (gold, wall and floor tiling), Timothy Knight (silver, carpentry) and Ryan Spiteri (bronze, restaurant service). Luke Wray (pictured) went on to represent Australia at the WorldSkills International Competition in Germany.
Luke Wray's passion and dedication for tiling is obvious and he attributes much of his success to his mentors and trainers, most of whom he works with.
When he completed year 10, Luke realised that higher education was not the right choice for him, and with that decision in mind, he set out to land himself an apprenticeship. His initial choice was to take the path of building and construction, however circumstances led him down a different path and he secured a tiling apprenticeship.
Luke's decision to take on a career in tiling is one he has never looked back on, "it is satisfying to know that I am learning a unique skill. Every day I am doing something different, be it designing, using different skills, meeting new clients… it always makes for a very diverse and interesting day and it keeps me motivated," says Luke.(Photo and story courtesy WorldSkills Australia)
Similarly, the UC Accelerate Program (UCAP), an initiative of the UC Schools Collaboration Partnership, provides opportunities to extend advanced year 11 and year 12 ACT students. In 2012 the program delivered the first two of its planned suite of courses. These courses were in Accounting and Design Foundation. The joint Steering Committee approved funding for another four courses to be developed in 2012, for delivery through UCAP in 2013. These courses were Creative Writing, Information Technology, Economics and Discrete Mathematics, with UC planning to offer four more courses in 2013.
The partnership between the Directorate and UC has provided professional learning and practice opportunities at the University of Canberra High School Kaleen and the University of Canberra Senior Secondary College Lake Ginninderra. Through this partnership, pre-service teachers have access to the classroom environment to develop their teaching skills. Similarly, teachers and students from the school and the college have access to the University's learning environment and resources. These opportunities have ranged across health, youth and justice studies, speech pathology and other professional areas.
The Minister for Education and Training represented the ACT on the Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood and the Standing Council on Tertiary Education, Skills and Employment. The Directorate is represented on senior official committees and working groups to support these Councils.
The Education Act 2004 requires that each public school has a school board as a way of sharing authority between the school and the local school community. The role of boards included establishing the strategic direction and priorities for the school and developing strong relationships between the school and the community.
Our close proximity to regional NSW provides opportunities for efficient service delivery to the wider community. The 2011 Memorandum of Understanding signed by the ACT Chief Minister and the Premier of New South Wales resulted in greater collaboration in the planning and delivery of essential services. Education and training was one of the priorities to progress under the memorandum. The Directorate joined with the Australian Bureau of Statistics and the Chief Minister and Treasury Directorate in supporting a cross-border utilisation project with the primary objective of collation of data and reporting of service provision across a number of ACT Directorates.
The Directorate worked in partnership with all other ACT Government Directorates in 2012-13 on the delivery of a broad range of services and programs to the ACT community. This included work with the Health Directorate to enhance the health and wellbeing of students in the public education system.
To plan for future schooling needs and advise on appropriate use of land adjacent to school environments, the Directorate collaborated with the ACT Environment and Sustainable Development Directorate and the Economic Development Directorate. Close working relationships were also maintained with the Community Services Directorate, to support children under care and protection orders.
Response to significant organisational change and revision to administrative arrangements
Ms Joy Burch MLA was appointed the Minister for Education and Training in November 2012 following the ACT Government election. Ms Burch replaced Dr Chris Bourke MLA who was Minister from November 2011 until the appointment of Ms Burch in 2012.
The Directorate experienced stability in the composition of the senior executive team in 2012-13, with the team remaining unchanged from the previous year. As at 30 June 2013 the team comprised: Ms Diane Joseph, Director-General; Ms Leanne Cover, Deputy Director-General; Mr Stephen Gniel, Executive Director, Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement; Ms Jayne Johnston, Executive Director, Tertiary Education and Performance; and Mr Mark Whybrow, Executive Director, Corporate Services.
Role in administration of legislation
The Directorate has responsibility for the following ACT legislation:
- ACT Teacher Quality Institute Act 2010
- Board of Senior Secondary Studies Act 1997
- Building and Construction Industry Training Levy Act 1999
- Canberra Institute of Technology Act 1987
- Children and Young People Act 2008, chapter 20
- Education Act 2004
- Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011
- Training and Tertiary Education Act 2003
- University of Canberra Act 1989
Amendments and updates to the legislation are discussed in Section B4.