Government Schools Education Council
Annual Report 2013-14
A. Transmittal Certificate
See covering letter.
B. Performance Reporting
B.1 Organisational Overview
The Government Schools Education Council (the Council) is established in accordance with section 54 of the Education Act 2004 (the Act).
The Council's functions are to advise the Minister on any aspect of the ACT public school system; and when asked by the Minister, to inquire into and give advice to the Minister on any aspect of the ACT public school system. Under section 66 (1) of the Act the Minister must present a copy of the advice to the Legislative Assembly.
The Council identified the following goals to be achieved in the 2013-14 year:
- Maintain a focus on key strategic, higher level issues impacting on public school education in the ACT, in particular the impact of the national agenda in areas of school funding and school empowerment
- Consider the challenge of achieving both high equity and high quality in ACT public schools
- Consider critically the non-government school registration and approval processes and how they might be improved
- Continue to meet with the Non-government Schools Education Council (NGSEC)
- Continue to engage in discussion with the Minister and provide advice on matters of importance to the Council.
The key issues considered by the Council in 2013-14 were:
- Empowered School Leadership – what are the possibilities, benefits and issues for our ACT public schools?
- The role of inclusive schools in achieving high quality and high equity
- How existing processes and procedures for in-principle approval and registration of non-government schools might be improved and how transparency around these processes might be enhanced.
- Achieving real access and participation of all ACT students in the Australian Curriculum
- Implementation of the Disability Standards for Education in ACT public schools
- School Funding reform and its implications for the ACT
- A proposal by the Minister to establish a new school education advisory council to replace the two existing councils
The Minister for Education and Training met with the Council to provide a briefing on current national issues impacting on the ACT and to discuss issues relating to possible enhancements to the existing non-government school registration processes and the feedback she had received from stakeholders on this matter and to.
At Council's annual meeting with the Non-government Schools Education Council, the Minister provided an update on issues relevant to all education sectors in the ACT. Representatives of the Teacher Quality Institute and school personnel then provided an update on the 2014 implementation of the Teacher Professional Learning Pilot across the three school sectors.
The Council identified the following items as goals to be achieved in the next reporting period:
- Determine strategies that may enhance the image of public schools within the ACT community and provide advice to the minister on this matter
- Consider the ongoing translation, implementation and effectiveness of needs-based funding in the ACT
- Consider the characteristics and benefits of community schools and provide advice to the minister on this matter
- Consider strategies to increase the number of teachers working in specialist fields with post graduate training and qualifications and the professional standards that might apply for these teachers
- Consider changes to the implementation of the Australian curriculum following the review commissioned by the Australian Government.
B.2 Performance Analysis
B.3 Community Engagement and Support
B.4 Ecologically Sustainable Development
C. Governance and Accountability Reporting
C.1 Internal Accountability
The Education Act 2004 (the Act) outlines the conditions under which the Minister may appoint or terminate the appointment of a Council member. As a statutory appointment the Standing Committee on Education, Training and Young Affairs is consulted on proposed appointments.
Sections 56 and 57 of the Act state that the Council must consist of the Director- General and the Minister must appoint the following members of the Council:
- a chairperson
- six people who, in the Minister's opinion, have experience in one or more of the areas of business and commerce, public policy, early childhood care, education, the special needs of young people and teacher education (the community members)
- 10 people who, in the Minister's opinion, represent the views of public school education (the education members), including:
- two education members chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing principals
- two education members chosen from nominations of the government teacher union
- two education members chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing parent associations of public schools
- two education members chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing students
- one education member chosen from nominations of organisations representing school boards
- one education member chosen from nominations of organisations representing preschool parents.
The council met six times between 1 July 2013 and 30 June 2014 including a joint meeting with the Non-government Schools Education Council in November 2013 to discuss matters of mutual interest.
Table GSEC 1: Role of council members and number of meetings attended/number of eligible meetings
|Mr Craig Curry||Chairperson||6/6|
|Ms Misty Adoniou||Community member||6/6|
|Ms Jill Burgess||Community member||4/6|
|Ms Deborah Evans||Community member||3/6|
|Ms Lynne Sheville||Community member||5/6|
|Ms Jan Tarbotton||Community member||5/6|
|Ms Alexandra Tolmie||Community member||5/6|
|Mr Roger Amey||Education members chosen from nominations of the government teacher union||5/6|
|Ms Wendy Cave||Education member chosen from nominations of the government teacher union||6/6|
|Mr Hugh Boulter||Education member chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing parent associations of government schools||5/6|
|Mr Denis O'Dea||Education member chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing parent associations of government schools||1/6|
|Ms Indigo Strudwicke||Education member chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing students||5/6|
|Mr Patrick O'Connell||Education member chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing students||5/6|
|Mr John Darcy||Education member representing Canberra Preschool Society||1/6|
|Mr Shane Gorman||Education members chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing principals||2/6|
|Ms Trish Keller OAM||Education members chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing principals||2/3|
|Ms Mandy Kalyvas||Education members chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing principals||2/2|
|Mr Tim Kinder||Education member chosen from nominations of the peak organisation representing school boards||3/5|
|Ms Diane Joseph||Member, Director-General, representing the Education and Training Directorate||2*/6|
Ms Leanne Cover *|
(representing Ms Diane Joseph)
The Council provided a submission to the 2014 ACT Government Budget with suggestions regarding the level of investments in public education for 2014-15 as follows:
- Building the educational leadership capacity of current and future school leaders to assist in reducing the number of students who are not achieving and ensure all students have access to high quality, evidence-based learning experiences.
- Using external evaluation strategies to enhance school performance and professional accountability, and give assurance that our ACT public schools are providing the highest quality education for all students.
- Increasing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families and communities to participate meaningfully in, and contribute to, individual pathways planning and education and training decision-making generally.
During the reporting period the Council also provided written feedback to the Education and Training directorate on the draft Safe and Supportive Schools Policy and the Gifted and Talented Students Policy. The Council Chair attended the Board of Senior Secondary Studies Recognition of Excellence Ceremony to acknowledge the successes of ACT students graduating from public schools and the Council was represented at the Student Voice in Preventing Bullying Conference.
The Council also provided Minister with comprehensive advice concerning the existing processes relating to the in-principle approval and registration of non-government schools in the ACT and how these might be enhanced.
Remuneration for the chairperson is determined by the ACT Remuneration Tribunal in accordance with section 10(1) of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1995. The current determination took effect on 1 November 2013. The chairperson is the only member to receive remuneration.
The Council has no funds for which it is responsible, and therefore does not receive or expend funds.
The Education and Training Directorate (the Directorate) provides secretariat and advisory assistance to the Council. The Council may call on directorate staff to address Council meetings or meet with members to discuss particular issues or programs relevant to the work of the Council. If required, the Council would have access to legal advice through the ACT Government Solicitor's Office.
Council sought and received updates from the Directorate on:
- Access and Participation in the Australian Curriculum
- Disability Education Standards Implementation
- School Funding Reform.
All new members are provided with the ACT Government Boards and Committees Code of Conduct and asked to sign a Code of Conduct/Conflict of Interest Declaration Form. These documents outline expectations regarding ethical behaviour in order to satisfy standards of probity and accountability that apply to the public sector. These documents also provide information to assist members in identifying, avoiding and disclosing potential conflicts of interest.
C.2 Risk Management and Internal Audit
Council operations are regarded as low risk and the Chair has put processes in place to monitor identified risks. No risk mitigation activities have been required.
C.3 Fraud Prevention
C.4 Legislative Assembly Inquiries and Reports
C.5 Auditor-General and Ombudsman Reports
D. Legislation Based Reporting
E. Human Resources Management Reporting
F. Financial Management Reporting
For more information contact the Chairperson or the secretariat for the Government Schools Education Council (GSEC):
- Mr Craig Curry
Government Schools Education Council
c/- Ministerial and Commonwealth Relations
Education and Training Directorate
GPO Box 158
CANBERRA ACT 2601
- GSEC Secretariat
Ministerial and Commonwealth Relations
Education and Training Directorate
GPO Box 158
CANBERRA ACT 2601