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Strategic Plan

As reported in the Organisational Overview, the Directorate’s 2014-2017 Strategic Plan – Education Capital: Leading the Nation guides the Directorate towards achieving our vision that every child and young person in the ACT will benefit from a high quality, accessible education system. The Plan sets five strategic priorities to guide our work:

The Strategic Plan is supported by annual Action Plans detailing specific initiatives and identified actions to work towards achieving the strategic priorities. The performance analysis below outlines the Directorate’s progress in 2016-17 against identified actions in the 2016 and 2017 Action Plans to achieve the five strategic priorities.

Quality Learning

Identified Action: Implement the K-10 Australian Curriculum and Early Years Learning Framework.

Quality Learning is the core element of the Directorate’s service provision. ACT public schools maintain high expectations for student learning. Our focus on school improvement is intended to realise our vision of success for every child and young person. The Directorate is committed to maximising learning outcomes for students and greater emphasis has been placed on developing systematic curriculum delivery in our schools and building expert teaching teams that use effective pedagogical practices in our classrooms.

Full implementation of the K-10 Australian Curriculum in all ACT public schools will be achieved in 2018. The Australian Curriculum presents to teachers, parents and students what is to be taught and the quality of learning expected of all young Australians as they progress through school. ACT public schools now teach Australian Curriculum content in Maths, English, Science, History, The Arts and Geography. Full implementation of Health and Physical Education and Languages curricula will be complete by the end of the 2017 school year.

In February 2017, an evaluation of the implementation of the Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards was completed. Recommendations from the evaluation informed the development of an initiative to strengthen implementation of the Australian Curriculum across all learning areas and stages of schooling. The initiative has a particular focus on developing curriculum leadership in our schools as well as teachers’ knowledge and skills in using the Achievement Standards.

All ACT public schools use the national Early Years Learning Framework to inform their planning for quality learning. The Early Years Learning Framework outlines the principles and practices of quality early childhood education, and the desired learning outcomes. These principles include high expectations for all and developing every child’s capacity to succeed. In 2016-17, the Directorate commenced providing support to six preschools that required additional support to embed the Early Years Learning Framework.

The Directorate also facilitated Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) accredited professional development aligned with the Early Years Learning Framework and system priorities, including a Preschool Network Session Educators as Researchers, a Koori Preschool Professional Learning Day Transitions for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children which delivered strategies to support children’s early literacy development, and three Preschool Network Sessions Working Together Makes a Difference.

A flexible reporting template was introduced and has been used by the majority of primary and high schools to report on student progress to parents at the end of the 2016 school year. Preschools use the five learning outcomes identified in the Early Years Learning Framework to assess and report on student progress.

Identified Action: Continue to transition to NAPLAN online.

There was a national decision to defer the 2017 implementation of NAPLAN online. The Directorate will work with ACT schools to transition to NAPLAN online within the three year transition period. The ACT will keep testing the required technical systems to make sure these are fully ready before being introduced to ensure that the administration of NAPLAN assessments occurs in a way that enables learning to continue productively and without creating unnecessary stress for children, while providing the most value.

Identified Action: Develop an Early Childhood Strategy.

The ACT Government is currently developing a whole of government early childhood strategy, which will look to coordinate approaches across government, and in partnership with non-government organisations, to achieve better outcomes for children and their families.

Scoping of the Early Childhood Strategy project commenced in 2017, with specific consideration of synergies with the work of the Future of Education project. The strategy is also a priority project which makes up the work program for the Human Services Cluster over the next three years. The Human Services Cluster comprises the Directorates of Education, Community Services, Health, and Justice and Community Safety, and further information on its work is available via the Human Services Blueprint – Better Services initiatives at https://www.betterservices.act.gov.au/human-services-blueprint.

The findings of the Evaluation of Early Childhood Schools and the Koori Preschool Program undertaken by Western Sydney University, and the Education Directorate’s paper, Early Childhood Education and Care in the ACT, will inform the development of the strategy. The strategy will consider early childhood services including childhood education, maternal and child health, family support and early intervention services.

In April 2017 an information briefing on the Evaluation was held for Early Childhood School and Koori Preschool principals. The findings of the Evaluation will inform consultation with families and communities for the development of the strategy. From mid-2017, consultation will also be undertaken with the education and care sector, which will include the quarterly early childhood education and care sector meetings and through the Early Childhood Advisory Council.

Identified Action: Establish an Academy of Coding and Cyber Skills.

The Directorate has conducted internal and external consultation workshops to engage and elicit the views of tertiary education and training providers, government agencies, industry groups, teachers and students. Stakeholder input will inform the scope and next steps for establishing the ACT’s Academy of Coding and Cyber Skills, including infrastructure requirements, teacher professional learning, and futures-focused curriculum to develop students’ digital skills and futures-focused skills.

Identified Action: Explore medium and long-term partnerships with the early childhood education and  care sector.

Over any given year Children’s Education and Care Assurance (CECA) organises and participates in a range of educative forums and deliberative forums with the early childhood sector. Each year CECA organises Education and Care Sector meetings. These meetings are open to all educators, management, providers, and other stakeholders. The meetings are designed to be both informative and educational providing guest speakers in areas identified as being in need of clarification within the sector.

In the 2016–17 year, Education and Care Sector meetings covered a variety of important topics such as:

The last Education and Care Sector meeting for the financial year provided information on the amendments to the Education and Care Services National Law (the National Law).

This year CECA and the independent Professional Support Coordinator run by Communities@Work presented the Achieving the National Quality Standard (NQS) Symposium. The symposium focused on NQS Quality Area 1: Education program and practice and showcased achievements by services and providers.

CECA and Communities@Work also organised an Educational Leader Forum in August 2016. This joint presentation looked at the requirements of the National Law for educational leadership and considered possible approaches and ways of meeting this need through the experiences of a variety of services.

The Regulatory Authority developed and introduced a self assessment tool for education and care services to use to monitor their compliance with the National Law. Services have embraced the tool as a positive measure in continuous improvement and have provided feedback on the benefits in using the tool while preparing for audits and maintaining standards. Since its introduction, the Regulatory Authority has seen improvement in the awareness of obligations under the Law and Regulations, which has also been reflected in the outcomes of audits.

Identified Action: Undertake comprehensive school improvement reviews.

People, Practice and Performance: A Framework for School Performance and Accountability was launched in
April 2016. It provides direction for all schools to participate in a five year cycle of school improvement planning, culminating in an external review in the fifth year, aligned to the school’s Strategic Plan.

A new format of external School Reviews was undertaken for the first time in ACT public schools in 2016. The new review process is more rigorous and robust than the former validation system. It involves an independent expert reviewer leading the panel and assessing schools against the National School Improvement Tool. Seventeen schools underwent the new approach to School Reviews, 16 schools underwent a Standard School Review, and one school underwent a Special Purpose Review due to a new principal appointment.

The School Reviews were conducted using the expertise of external reviewers from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and experienced system principals. The review panels delivered final reports to schools and a System Report to the Directorate.

Schools reviewed in 2016 have developed their 2017-2021 School Strategic Plans based on the recommendations and commendations in the School Review Reports they received.

Other initiatives that supported this strategic priority:

90 ACT schools participated in the 2016 Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge, including public, non-government, home and community language schools representing over 31,000 students from preschool to year 8. This increase makes 2016 the most successful to date.

The Pathways website supports students to develop skills and knowledge in line with the Australian Curriculum’s general capabilities to plan for the future. As at 30 June 2017, 18,943 young people across the ACT had engaged with the Pathways website since its establishment in May 2014 to develop a plan for their future.

Outcomes

The Directorate monitors a range of student performance data to assess its progress in achieving quality learning for all students. The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is conducted in all states and territories in May each year. NAPLAN is one of the measures that can demonstrate performance of students in reading and numeracy.

National and international assessments of student achievement across Australia over the past 10 years have shown little improvement, and in some areas, achievements have declined, despite an overall per student increase in expenditure. ACT data reflects the national trend. This was also reflected in the Auditor-General’s Performance Information in ACT Public Schools report, which was released on 31 May 2017.

When you look at ACT data from the perspective of NAPLAN, the ACT is doing well and continues to lead in most domains. In the ACT, we are coming from a high base, so we have the challenge of showing growth at the same rate as our state and territory counterparts. While our general results are positive, we also want to ensure we don’t leave behind any of our cohorts of students.

NAPLAN is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to tracking our students’ ability in literacy and numeracy. Schools use lots of methods to assess and support students. Schools do this to make sure that they track and record meaningful data for all children. The Directorate will continue in 2017-18 to look at how we can improve how we use this data to improve student outcomes. The Future of Education conversation inviting the community to comment on how we can further improve our education system will also play an important role in developing new indicators.

The performance of year 5 public school students in reading is shown by the mean achievement score in NAPLAN. Figure B2.1 shows that the 2016 mean achievement score for year 5 students in reading was below the target but higher than the national mean. ACT year 5 results have remained relatively stable since 2012, while the performance of students in other jurisdictions have been improving. As a result, the gap between the ACT performance and the national performance has been decreasing.

Figure B2.1: Mean achievement score of all Year 5 public school students in reading in NAPLAN,
2012 to 2016

Figure showing mean achievement score of all Year 5 public school students in reading in NAPLAN, 2012 to 2016

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program –  Literacy and Numeracy 2012 to 2016

Year 5 numeracy results have consistently been above the national mean since 2008, but ACT year 5 results have reached a plateau between 2013 and 2016. The ACT mean achievement score was slightly below the target for 2016 (Figure B2.2).

Figure B2.2: Mean achievement score of all Year 5 public school students in numeracy in NAPLAN, 2012 to 2016

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy 2012 to 2016

The performance of year 9 public school students in reading has been consistently higher than the national mean (Figure B2.3). There has been no significant change in ACT year 9 reading results since NAPLAN testing began in 2008.

Figure B2.3: Mean achievement score of all Year 9 public school students in reading in NAPLAN, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing mean achievement score of all Year 9 public school students in reading in NAPLAN, 2012 to 2016

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy 2012 to 2016

The mean achievement scores of year 9 public school students in numeracy have been stable with no statistically significant change between 2012 and 2016 results. The ACT mean score was marginally lower than the target in 2016 (Figure B2.4) and equal to the national results.

More detailed information regarding NAPLAN can be found at http://www.nap.edu.au/.

Figure B2.4: Mean achievement score of all Year 9 public school students in numeracy in NAPLAN, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing mean achievement score of all Year 9 public school students in numeracy in NAPLAN, 2012 to 2016

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy 2012 to 2016

The National Assessment Program – Science Literacy (NAP–SL) assesses the ability to think scientifically in a world in which science and technology are increasingly shaping children’s lives. Unlike other assessments that are part of the National Assessment Program, NAP–SL only assesses year 6 students.

Further information on the assessment is available from http://www.nap.edu.au/nap-sample-assessments/science-literacy

The performance of ACT year 6 students in the 2015 NAP-SL was above the national mean (Figure B2.5). The ACT 2015 results were similar to those of 2006, 2009 and 2012, with a mean score of 414 points and 61 percent of students achieving the proficient standard or higher.

Figure B2.5: Mean achievement score of ACT and Australian Year 10 students in NAP SL, 2006 to 2015

Figure showing mean achievement score of ACT and Australian Year 10 students in NAP SL, 2006 to 2015

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program Science Literacy 2015

For further information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student performance, please see Section B1.

Photo of a group of primary school students playing on equipment in Gilmore Primary School playground

Early Childhood Education and Care

International and national evidence demonstrates that quality early childhood education and care has significant life-long benefits. These benefits include:

Children who participate in quality early education and care experience these benefits irrespective of their family, social or economic context.

In 2012, all states and territories and the Commonwealth implemented the National Quality Framework (NQF) for the education and care sector. The NQF covers long day care, family day care, preschools and out of school hours care. Its primary function is to create a framework of education and care for children from 0–5 years who are not enrolled in school, and primary school aged children who attend out of school hours care.

The NQF established the Education and Care Services National Law and a uniform approach to the regulation and quality assessment of the education and care sector. The team responsible for undertaking this work within the Directorate is the Children’s Education and Care Assurance (CECA) team.

CECA’ s regulatory role under the National Law includes the assessment and rating of services against the National Quality Standard. Following an assessment, an overall rating is given dependent on evidence collected across seven quality areas:

There are five rating levels within the assessment and rating process as follows:

As at 30 June 2017, the ACT had 354 services approved under the National Law. Of those, 308 services had been awarded a quality rating, representing 87 percent of services (see Figure B2.6).

Figure B2.6: Education and care sector services awarded a quality rating as at 30 June 2017

Figure showing education and care sector services awarded a quality rating as at 30 June 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate

As at December 2015, all services registered prior to March 2014 had received their first assessment under the National Quality Framework.

As at 30 June 2017:

This upward trend to overall improvement across the next assessed services shows a trend that most services are improving in their rating.

Universal Access to Early Childhood Education: National Partnership Agreement

On 4 May 2017, Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham, Minister for Education and Training, announced the Australian Government’s commitment to extending the existing National Partnership for Universal Access to Early Childhood Education (NP UAECE) for 12 months. The Australian Government has committed $428 million nationally, with around $9 million allocated to the ACT.

The 12 month extension to NP UAECE 2016-2017 (NP UAECE 2018) is the fifth in a series of such agreements between the Australian Government and the states and territories to improve outcomes in early childhood education.

The NP UAECE provides a funding contribution to support the continued provision of 600 hours per year of free public preschool education, in the year before formal schooling.

The objective of the NP UAECE is to support universal access to, and improved participation by, children in quality early childhood education in the year before full-time schooling with a focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, vulnerable and disadvantaged children.

As a requirement of the NP UAECE 2016 and 2017, the ACT’s performance was measured against six performance indicators in the NP UAECE (2016–2017).

The ACT fully achieved against five of the six indicators and received full payment under these five. Almost 96 percent of four year olds in the ACT were part of a preschool program. The ACT achieved a result of 91 percent of Indigenous children participating in a preschool program available for 600 hours per year. This result was four percent short of the agreed 95 percent target and resulted in a part-payment for that target.

Inspirational Teaching and Leadership

Identified Action: Recruit, develop, retain and reward quality teachers and maintain sustainable teacher workloads.

Quality teachers and effective school leaders are important factors in student achievement and ACT public schools have some of the best. Great Teachers by Design and Great Teaching by Design provide evidence-based frameworks for improving instructional leadership capability and excellence in teaching.

Local site selection, underpinned by the National Professional Standards for Teachers, is now embedded as a key classroom teacher recruitment strategy. This has improved contextual fit and enhanced principal accountability for building workforce profiles that target the educational needs of their specific student cohort. In over 80 local processes conducted from July 2016 to May 2017, outcomes delivered a mix of permanent officer transfers, new appointments and long term contracts.

The Directorate provides state of the art training facilities for all staff at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning. In addition, the Directorate quarantines $1.46 million in professional learning funds annually to support the professional development needs of principals and teaching staff. Professional learning funds comprise the Principal Professional Learning Fund, the Teachers Professional Learning Fund and the provision of teacher scholarships.

By transferring to new settings throughout their careers, classroom teachers and school leaders gain broad experience and contribute to renewal of school communities through incorporation of new perspectives. An annual transfer round creates this opportunity for teaching classification staff. In the 2016 transfer round there were 577 classroom teacher, 41 School Leader C and nine School Leader B positions advertised.

The Directorate liaises closely with the ACT Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) and Access Canberra to ensure compliance with professional teaching registration requirements, including that all school based staff have current Working with Vulnerable People clearances; record and reflect on 20 hours of professional learning each year in the TQI teacher portal; and perform 20 days of teaching per annum.

Identified Action: Professional learning to encompass inclusive education, evidence-informed practice, community engagement and leadership at all levels.

Developing a high quality program of professional learning in every school to support all teachers to continually develop their professional knowledge, practice and engagement is a key area of focus for the Directorate. To both assist our staff in improving and progressing in their careers, schools are required to conduct two days of approved professional learning during stand down and also conduct professional learning community programs during school terms to build quality teaching practice.

To ensure the continuing expertise of our school staff, the Directorate has delivered high quality evidence based professional learning to develop the skills and capability of our teaching workforce. Resources and professional learning programs accessed by ACT teachers and school leaders which support the implementation of the Australian Curriculum and build their skill and capability range from comprehensive packages of teaching plans sourced from Queensland that systematically embed the Australian Curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 10 and the provision of Chinese and Indonesian language teaching assistants through partnerships with embassies and diplomatic missions.

The Principals as Numeracy Leaders program, a research-based instructional leadership initiative, coupled with Count Me in Too and Middle Years Mental Computation teacher professional learning, has supported effective leadership and teaching in numeracy.

The Writing Project was delivered to the North/Gungahlin and Belconnen Networks in 2016-17 and will be delivered to South/Weston and Tuggeranong Networks in 2017-18. The Writing Project was developed with the aim of further developing the capabilities of ACT public primary and secondary school principals as effective literacy leaders in the area of writing. Professional learning at the commencement of 2017 was attended by 686 primary school teachers.

To improve digital education capability, the 2nd Annual Google Summit was held over two days in April 2017 at Erindale College. The summit was attended by 363 ACT public school teachers and leaders and focused on deploying, integrating and using Google Apps for Education to promote student learning in K-12 and higher education. The summit featured quality workshops offered by Google for Education Innovative Educators, practicing educators, and other solution providers and the next summit is planned for April 2018. In addition to the summit, the Directorate organises four days of workshops every week five of every school term to up-skill ACT public school teachers in specific aspects of the Google G-Suite. In 2016-17, 379 staff attended these sessions. This professional learning has supported the implementation and early adoption of technology in ACT public schools to support inspirational teaching and the diverse needs of students.

Preschool teachers, assistants and school leaders also accessed professional learning on the Early Years Learning Framework to build their skills and capabilities in delivering quality early childhood education.

Development work on a refreshed and aligned school leader and teacher performance and development process with the Australian Professional Standard for Principals, Australian Professional Standards for Teachers and the ACTPS Performance and Capability Framework was completed in late 2016. The pilot implementation of the updated Performance and Development Process commenced in 2017, facilitating broader consultation and an ongoing consultative and collaborative approach to ensure schools have maximum input over the framework preceding anticipated implementation in 2018.

As part of our ongoing commitment to support leadership development and to build a collaborative culture that extends beyond the network model, a series of Deputy Principal Leadership and Collaboration Events for all ACT public education Deputy Principals was introduced in 2016-17. The events aim to build trust, collaboration and professional relationships amongst the Deputy Principals within and across networks. In addition, the Tuggeranong network introduced Influence and Inspire, an initiative to increase leadership awareness, capacity and impact for all Tuggeranong Executive Teachers through multimodal delivery of core leadership skills. The intention is to extend this program across the networks in 2018.

Professor Guy Claxton became a critical friend to the Directorate and commenced professional learning workshops with school leaders and relevant senior leaders in the Education Support Office during 2016, which will continue in 2017-18. The focus of Professor Claxton’s critical friendship and professional learning workshops is to further develop an expansive mindset about student learning in ACT public schools, with a strong emphasis on teaching and learning approaches that lead to improved student outcomes.

Teachers who achieve certification at the higher Australian Standards of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher level were recognised and financially rewarded with an additional salary increment or equivalent one-year allowance for classroom teachers at the top of the salary scale and executive teachers. In 2016, out of the 13 successful applicants in the ACT, 11 teachers from the Directorate attained certification, an increase from nine in 2015, at the Highly Accomplished and Lead career stages. Certification as a Highly Accomplished teacher is deemed ‘highly desirable’ in selection processes for School Leader C (SLC) positions.

Transitional arrangements have been implemented to move from separate designations of Executive Teacher (SLC), under a variety of job titles and conditions, to a holistic Executive Teacher (SLC) position. This ensures that SLCs have opportunities to develop the full range of school leadership capabilities and to meet the learning and wellbeing needs of students.

Identified Action: Scholarships for teachers to achieve post-graduate qualifications.

The Teacher Scholarships Program continues to provide teachers with support to undertake further study that will lead to improved student learning outcomes. In 2016-17, 41 scholarships were awarded. Training and development projects have commenced to build workforce capability in the areas of educational leadership, human resources, school improvement, communications and school governance.

Identified Action: Implement a leadership development strategy that provides coaching and mentoring for leaders and aspiring leaders.

In April 2017, 30 participants and 23 mentors were selected to take part in Cohort 2 of the Aspiring Leaders Program. The Program is designed to build leadership capabilities across the system, and will be delivered by the University of Melbourne’s Graduate School of Education over a 12 month period. Cohort 2 has implemented all recommendations from an evaluation of Cohort 1 of the Program undertaken in 2016. The Aspiring Leaders Program is part of a suite of measures that will form the broader workforce capability strategy.

Following considerable consultation, research and work in 2016, key elements of a proposed leadership strategy are being progressed as part of a broader workforce capability strategy spanning pre-service teachers to experienced principals. The workforce capability strategy will be further developed over the next year to provide a comprehensive and consistent approach to building capability across the system; identifying and nurturing a repertoire of leaders for the future.

Informed by a Capability Improvement Strategy report, work is also underway to design and implement a sustainable training and development program to effectively implement the new needs based funding model for ACT public schools.

Identified Action: Work with the education and care sector to professionalise the workforce.

On 3 February 2017 the Productivity Commission released its Report on Government Services (RoGS) chapter that covers childcare, education and training.

The RoGS report shows that the ACT had 61.8 percent of primary contact staff in early education and care services with a relevant formal qualification at, or above, certificate III.

While this figure is the lowest in the country it shows an 11.2 percent improvement on the 2016 figures. In 2016, RoGS recorded the ACT has having 50.6 percent of primary contact staff as having relevant formal qualifications.

It is important to note that the RoGS data only counts Child Care Benefit approved services, so the figures leave out a significant group of preschool services provided by public and non-government schools.

As of 1 March 2017, there are 79 public preschools and 20 non-government preschools.

In the ACT, 60 percent of preschool program workers have a university qualification, which places the ACT in the top two jurisdictions in the country.

Since the National Quality Framework was introduced in 2012, the ACT Government has supported the growth of qualified staff for the early childhood education and care sector with an Early Childhood scholarship program and an Early Childhood Degree program. A total of 175 scholarship grants for certificate III study were funded between 2012 and 2015. The last 30 places from this funding were offered in the first half of 2016. Since 2014, the degree program has funded approximately 65 candidates.

The ACT’s Regulator, Children’s Education and Care Assurance (CECA), provides regular opportunities for professional development and networking for the early childhood education and care sector.

Information is regularly provided to the sector on the role of the CECA in supporting improvements in professional practice.

In late 2017, CECA will be hosting the Collaborative Partnerships with Families and Communities Symposium with a focus on developing strategic networks between the community and early childhood education and care services.

Outcomes

As a result of the Directorate’s focus on the actions above to achieve inspirational teaching and leadership, the actual staff retention rate of the Directorate has gradually increased over the last five years. As shown in the below graphs, the Directorate has a target of 92 percent staff retention and an actual retention rate of 94 percent (Figure B2.7). By providing scholarships and professional learning, amongst other development opportunities, the Directorate has continued to retain quality teachers. The average number of years of employment with the Directorate steadily increased from 8.6 years in 2012 to 9.0 years in 2015 and has remained steady for the last two years (Figure B2.8). There are 3,357 teachers within the Directorate as at 30 June 2017 (not including casuals or school leaders).

Figure B2.7: Staff retention rate measured as a percentage, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing staff retention rate measured as a percentage, 2012 to 2016

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Figure B2.8: Average number of years of employment with the Directorate, 2012 to 2017

Figure showing average number of years of employment with the Directorate, 2012 to 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Photo of a male teacher speaking with a boy primary school student in a classroom

High Expectations,
High Performance

Identified Action: Resource for student success through the implementation of the ACT Student Resource Allocation (SRA) Model.

During the reporting period, the implementation of the new needs-based funding model progressed, with each public school receiving a core funding component plus loadings relating to low socio-economic status and English as an Additional Language or Dialect.

The SRA model includes a number of loadings to support students from the following backgrounds:

The low socio-economic status needs-based loading for ACT public schools is determined by a student family education and occupation index (SFI). The SFI combines parental education and occupation into a composite variable at the school level.

The review and implementation of a loading for students with English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) was conducted and implemented into 2017 school budgets. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) EAL/D Learning Progression is the framework that ACT public schools use to describe phases of English language acquisition for EAL/D learners.

Reviewing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education in ACT public schools provided an opportunity for the Directorate to lead cultural change in the way schools meet the needs and aspirations of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. A change to current Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education support will be implemented in 2018 based on a framework of building cultural integrity through relationships, high expectations, celebration, pedagogy and curriculum.

The development of the loading for Students with Disability continued throughout the 2016-17 financial year and is based on a strong policy and research foundation, informed by comprehensive consultation. The review will continue in 2017-18. This work aligns with recommendations from the Report of the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour.

Approximately 83 percent of the total schools’ budget has been reviewed and is being implemented under the Student Resource Allocation model. In 2016-17 schools transitioned smoothly to the implemented programs under the new funding model with minimal impact.

Throughout 2016, the School Operational Allocation (previously known as School Based Management) was designed and implemented into 2017 school budgets. The Schools Operational Allocation (SOA) provides cash funding to administer schools’ operational costs – excluding staffing expenditure. The funding allocation is to meet the educational and school administration costs, including costs in relation to energy, water and sewerage, cleaning and minor maintenance.

Consultation on the new funding model is primarily undertaken through the SRA Principal Advisory Group. The Principal Advisory Group has 16 members from across ACT public schools, including representation from all school sectors and networks. The main objective of the Advisory Group is to ensure that schools’ perspectives are reflected in strategic directions, project planning, policy development and shaping the design of the SRA Program.

Identified Action: Continuing negotiations with the Commonwealth Government around Education funding.

On 23 June 2017, the Australian Education Amendment Bill 2017 (the Bill) was passed by the Federal Parliament. The Bill detailed the new Commonwealth education Quality Schools funding model and stipulates conditions of education financial assistance for the states and territories. The obligations for each state and territory are yet to be finalised. Further discussions around this matter are to be brought to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) with the School funding and reform principles and regulations to be finalised in consultations with states and territories.

Identified Action: Ensure progress for every student through early identification of students requiring support.

The Directorate works in partnership with the Child Development Service, a section of the Child Development and Family Programs branch of the Community Service Directorate. Staff from the two directorates meet regularly to discuss how their work addresses the developmental needs of young children and how collaboration can ensure the services are working to respond to the needs of children in the ACT and their families.

The Directorate contributes funding for 1.8 full time equivalent staff to employ two early childhood teachers to work as part of the multidisciplinary team at the Child Development Service. The early childhood teachers coordinate Developing Kids Playgroups run at the Child and Family Centres at West Belconnen, Gungahlin and Tuggeranong, and at Holder. These playgroups provide a targeted program of play based sessions and also assist parents and caregivers by providing ideas to try at home to support their child’s development. The program caters for children aged from 18 months to preschool with delays in their development and who are not eligible for support services through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). The playgroup provides for families who may have difficulty engaging with mainstream services due to disadvantage or vulnerability. Facilitated by both allied health professionals and early childhood teachers, families experience an integrated service which also links to appropriate mainstream services, for example health and education. Children are enrolled for a term at a time and children and their families are supported by the early childhood teachers to transition to preschool. During 2016-17, 27 children were enrolled in the Developing Kids Playgroups.

The early childhood teachers also provide play activities for young children who attend the Mums and Bubs group at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service. Child Development Service allied health professionals also attend the group to support children and families and ensure early identification of children at risk of developmental delay and provide assessment and referral to the NDIS for young children requiring early intervention support services.

The Directorate also contributes funding for three full time equivalent psychologists who work as part of the multidisciplinary team at the Child Development Service. During 2016-17, these psychologists provided 91 comprehensive multidisciplinary autism assessments for children up to 12 years.

Where standardised developmental norms are required to inform assessment and planning for the needs of young children, the psychologists are able to conduct development assessments, usually using the Griffiths Scales of Child Development. Seventy-five developmental assessments were provided by psychologists at the Child Development Service during 2016-17.

The Education Directorate in collaboration with the Community Services Directorate (Child & Family Centres and the Child Development Service) are working towards the development of programs to support families with children who, in their early years, are displaying behaviours that may indicate that they do not have the requisite skills to engage with more formal learning, or who may be disengaging from school.

During 2016-17, educators from ACT public preschools in collaboration with Child and Family Centres and allied health staff from the Child Development Service, successfully trialled the ‘Prep for Preschool’ program at the West Belconnen Child and Family Centre to include children and families with complex and high needs. To assist with readiness for preschool, this program provided targeted small group sessions for children to support the development of their gross and fine motor, language, social and emotional skills and included concurrent parent information sessions.

As a result of the success of this program, ‘Prep for Preschool’ and a new ‘Big School Ready’ program will run across Canberra at the three Child and Family Centres with referral pathways supported through the Child and Family Centres, ACT public preschools and the Directorate’s Network Student Engagement Teams.

Over the past 12 months, the Support at Preschool officers within the Network Student Engagement Teams have continued to work closely with National Disability Insurance Scheme funded early intervention providers and other early childhood education and care services to identify students who may require support at their transition to preschool.

Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) assesses the early literacy and numeracy skills of students at the beginning of term 1 and the start of term 4 of kindergarten. The purpose is to explore literacy and numeracy skills students have when they start school so that appropriate learning programs are prepared and to assess progress later in the year. Teachers work with students one-to-one, in front of a computer to administer the assessment. Reports are provided for parents at the end of term 1 and term 4. Schools have access to online results and reports to assist with planning and teaching.

Identified Action: Implementation of Schools for All recommendations.

The Schools for All Children and Young People – report of the Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour (the Expert Panel Report) was released on 18 November 2015. The ACT Government accepted all 50 recommendations and the Directorate commenced a three year program of cultural change – the Schools for All Program.

Over the past twelve months, the Program has focussed on implementing the 50 recommendations by developing and reinforcing a student-centred vision and bringing together the capabilities required to catalyse systemic and sustainable cultural change across the ACT education system. The program is being managed as a comprehensive program of works, to provide a cohesive and streamlined approach to delivery.

All three education sectors continue the shared vision and commitment to achieve an inclusive education system that caters to the diverse needs of all children and young people.

As of 23 May 2017, the Directorate has implemented 34 of its 49 recommendations, and the Catholic Education Office has closed 14 of 26 recommendations relevant to its school system. The Program continues to manage the remaining 15 recommendations for the Directorate and 12 for the Catholic Education Office.

Identified Action: Ongoing support of students with National Disability Insurance Scheme.

The Directorate has continued to work closely with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) and schools to assist the transition of our students into the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). Support with Personal Care in School (PCIS) and Special Needs Transport (SNT) are provided by the ACT Government as in-kind supports under the NDIS. The majority of our students receiving PCIS or accessing SNT have now applied to participate in the Scheme.

In July 2016, directorate staff completed assessments for 77 Year 12 students with disability to support the NDIA in determining their suitability for NDIS funded School Leavers Employment Support. As a result, 55 of these students were able to access a package of highly individualised NDIS funded supports to assist them to develop their employment skills and to foster employment sustainability.

Identified Action: Implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Whole of Government Agreement.

The Directorate has taken a key focus on improving the cultural integrity of staff and students across the board. In 2017 all principals and Directors will undertake three days of intensive training over a six week period with
Mr Scott Gorringe, Mr David Spillman and Mr Grant Sarra. The themes of the cultural integrity training include examining deficit discourse and assumptions, strategic cultural awareness and developing workplace based localised cultural action plans.

In 2016, the Directorate began implementation of the Reconciliation Action Plan, Reconciliation – Keeping it Alive 2016-2018 . The purpose of the Directorate’s Reconciliation Action Plan is to engage all employees in the creation of an organisational culture, enriched by the diversity and knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, strengths and cultures through our common values.

The implementation priorities of Reconciliation – Keeping it Alive in 2016-18 included the development of guidelines to engage all Directorate staff in reconciliation conversations using the postcard questions developed by the Reconciliation Working Group, and the commencement of developing cultural integrity goals for all staff through professional pathways plans and professional development plans. This has involved consultation with the Australian Education Union for the development of goals for teachers and principals.

The Directorate has worked in partnership with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network (Staff Network) over a period of 18 months to develop an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mentoring Program. The Staff Network identified potential mentors across the Directorate and offered them the opportunity to participate in the program by providing a brief biography for the mentee guidelines. Guidelines for mentors and mentees were developed based on the feedback and types of mentoring prioritised by the Staff Network.

The program is designed to allow Staff Network members to self select potential mentors based on need and to design the type of mentoring approach collaboratively. The program was launched on 5 April 2017 at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning, and provided a meet and greet opportunity for potential mentees and mentors.

Identified Action: Strengthen support for mental health and wellbeing in schools, including increasing school psychology capacity.

Under a Government election commitment, 20 additional school psychologists will be recruited over a four year period. The service will increase by an additional five full-time staff for the beginning of the 2018 school year and each year after that. The additional staff will enable resources to be targeted to areas of need and increase the focus on early intervention and prevention activities to intervene in mental health issues before they become established.

School psychologists work across behavioural, social, emotional and learning domains to support a student’s wellbeing and are available to be accessed by all students, parents/carers and school staff in ACT public schools. School psychologists form an important part of the mental health and wellbeing approach within the school community by identifying and working with wellbeing and learning concerns early in the life of the problem, responding to an immediate crisis, referring to other specialist agencies and working with school staff to put in preventative strategies at the whole school level. Due to increasing demands of responding to immediate student concerns, the capacity of school psychologists to engage in early intervention and prevention strategies had reduced prior to the new commitment.

During 2016-17, 52 ACT public primary schools were engaged and actively participating in the KidsMatter program and 30 ACT public high schools and colleges were also engaged with MindMatters. These two programs are evidence-based Australian mental health and wellbeing frameworks that help take care of children’s mental health needs.

The Directorate in partnership with the Community Services Directorate has also appointed a Child and Youth Protection Services Liaison Officer. This position was designed to support the collaboration and communication between the two directorates to ensure that the wellbeing of those children and young people involved in the out of home care system are better supported through their educational journey.

Outcomes

The actions above have worked together to achieve the Directorate’s aims of setting high expectations and achieving high performance through meeting the learning needs of all students and identifying students requiring support early on in their learning journey. The Directorate uses a variety of indicators to measure its success in ensuring progress for every student, including student satisfaction, year 12 certification and destination outcomes, attendance, retention and individualised support for students accessing disability education.

The student satisfaction indicator is based on a survey of students from years 5 to 12 in ACT public schools, excluding students at specialist schools, conducted in August each year. In determining overall student satisfaction, the question ‘Overall I am satisfied I am getting a good education at this school’ is used. Responses are collected on a five point scale with only statements of ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ used to calculate overall satisfaction rates.

Overall student satisfaction (across primary, high and college sectors) with the quality of education received at public schools has increased from 75 percent in 2013 to 79 percent in 2016 (Figure B2.9).

Figure B2.9: Percentage of overall student satisfaction with education in ACT public schools,
2012 to 2016

Figure showing percentage of overall student satisfaction with education in ACT public schools, 2012 to 2016

Source: ACT Education Directorate

An indicator of stakeholder confidence in public education is the retention of year 10 students in public schools to year 11 in public colleges. The percentage of year 10 students who proceed to public secondary college education reports the total number of year 10 students in public high schools, as at the August census, who enrolled in year 11 at public colleges as at the February census in the following year.

The percentage of year 10 students who proceeded to public secondary education has consistently exceeded the target over the last five years (Figure B2.10).

Figure B2.10: Percentage of Year 10 students who proceed to public secondary college education, 2012-13 to 2016-17

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Year 12 Certification AND DESTINATIOn OUTCOMES

The Year 12 certification indicator is the number of students who meet the requirements of an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate, expressed as a percentage of year 12 enrolments. Estimates are calculated based on the number of students completing the requirements of the ACT Senior Secondary Certificate divided by the number of students enrolled in a year 12 program as at the ACT School Census in February each year.

The ACT public school certification rate for year 12 has remained stable over the last five years and in 2016 was just below the target of 89 percent (Figure B2.11).

Figure B2.11: Percentage of Year 12 public school students who received an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing percentage of Year 12 public school students who received an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate, 2012 to 2016

Source: ACT Education Directorate, ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies

ACT destination data are based on a survey of graduates who successfully complete an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate. Graduates from the previous year are surveyed in May of the reference year. The survey frame is drawn from the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies administrative records.

The percentage of public school year 12 graduates engaged in study or employment six months after completing year 12 has been stable at around 90 percent over the last five years (Figure B2.12).

The Directorate continues to develop programs and provides high quality teaching and learning facilities and opportunities to ensure that students are employed and/or studying after leaving school.

Figure B2.12: Percentage of public school Year 12 graduates studying or employed six months after completing Year 12, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing percentage of public school Year 12 graduates studying or employed six months after completing Year 12, 2012 to 2016
Source: ACT Education Directorate

The percentage of year 12 students receiving a nationally recognised vocational qualification is the number of year 12 students who completed year 12 and achieved a vocational qualification, or equivalent, divided by the total number of students enrolled in year 12 at the February census of a given year. A nationally recognised vocational qualification (Certificate of Statement of Attainment) is awarded to a student who has achieved one or more units of competence in a nationally endorsed Training Package or Course, under the Australian Qualification Training Framework.

The reduction in numbers of ACT students receiving a nationally recognised vocational qualification in 2016 was due to reductions in the number of students undertaking a vocational qualification (Figure B2.13). As reported in Section B1, this is consistent with national trends for vocational education and training (VET) in Schools, which showed a small decrease in student numbers in 2016, but a general upward trend in student numbers over the past 20 years.

Figure B2.13: Percentage of Year 12 students who received a nationally recognised vocational qualification, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing percentage of Year 12 students who received a nationally recognised vocational qualification, 2012 to 2016

Source: ACT Education Directorate, ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies

The percentage of year 12 students receiving a Tertiary Entrance Statement is the number of year 12 students who completed year 12 and achieved a Tertiary Entrance Statement, divided by the total number of students enrolled in year 12 at the February census of a given year. The percentage of all ACT students receiving a Tertiary Entrance Statement has remained relatively stable over the last five years, and was just below the target in 2016 (Figure B2.14).

Figure B2.14: Percentage of Year 12 students who received a Tertiary Entrance Statement, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing percentage of Year 12 students who received a Tertiary Entrance Statement, 2012 to 2016

Source: ACT Education Directorate, ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies

Attendance

The student attendance rate is the number of actual full-time equivalent student-days attended by full-time students in years 1 to 10 as a percentage of the total number of possible student-days over the period.

A data quality statement on this measure can be obtained from the ‘Report on Government Services’ page of the Australian Productivity Commission website at
http://www.pc.gov.au/research/ongoing/report-on-government-services

The attendance rate of students in ACT public schools has been above 91 percent over the last five years
(Figure B2.15).

Figure B2.15: Attendance rate of public school students Years 1 to 10, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing attendance rate of public school students Years 1 to 10, 2012 to 2016

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Real Retention

The real retention rate for preschool to kindergarten, year 6 to year 7 and year 7 to year 12 represents the number of children continuing in public education (at the February school census of a given year) as a proportion of the number of children enrolled in the prior year level (at the August school census).

The proportions of students continuing in public education from preschool to kindergarten, year 6 to year 7 and year 7 to year 12 have increased between 2013 and 2017 (Figure B2.16). Real retention is affected by a number of factors including but not limited to:

Figure B2.16: Real retention rates in public schools from preschool to kindergarten, Year 6 to Year 7 and Year 7 to Year 12, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing real retention rates in public schools from preschool to kindergarten, Year 6 to Year 7 and Year 7 to Year 12, 2013 to 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Disability Education

An Individual Learning Plan (ILP) outlines the learning goals and the required educational adjustments for students with disability. Each student who accesses a disability education program is required to have an ILP developed and reviewed annually.

The percentage of ILPs completed for students in specialist and mainstream schools who access disability education services represents the number of ILPs completed divided by the number of students accessing disability education programs. Data is obtained from a survey of schools conducted in term 2. ‘Completed’ means the ILP has been developed and is guiding classroom teachers in the delivery of the student’s educational program. ‘Disability education services’ are programs provided to students who meet ACT Student Disability criteria. Programs include: Specialist School, Inclusion Support Program, Learning Support Centre, Learning Support Unit, Learning Support Unit – Autism, and Hearing and Vision Itinerant Teams.

The percentage of ILPs completed has remained relatively stable between 2012 and 2017 (Figure B2.17), while the number of students accessing disability education programs at the time of the ILP audit has increased from 1,904 to 2,250 over this time. Completion rates for ILPs are affected by a number of factors including but not limited to:

Figure B2.17: Individual Learning Plans completed for students in specialist and mainstream schools who access disability education services, 2012 to 2017

Figure showing individual Learning Plans completed for students in specialist and mainstream schools who access disability education services, 2012 to 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Photo of a boy student raising hand to answer a question in class at Black Mountain School

Connecting with Families and the Community

Identified Action: Facilitate a community conversation to inform the Government’s strategy for the Future of Education.

In February 2017, the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Ms Yvette Berry MLA, made a statement in the ACT Legislative Assembly committing to the development of a strategy for the future of education in the ACT. This stems from the Government’s fundamental belief that every child deserves a great education and the life chances which flow from it.

The strategy will reflect extensive community engagement throughout all stages of development, with a strong commitment to include everyone in the conversation. The conversation will take a phased approach and think beyond schools, towards education within a community context. The conversation design places the education system in a broader context which also includes heath, community services, early childhood, as well as other services within the human services cluster. This is to ensure an authentic conversation about education.

The strategy will acknowledge enhanced equity as a constant focus and be strongly tied to the importance of access to quality early childhood education and care.

Identified Action: Strengthen the relationship with the Community Services Directorate with an emphasis on the Respectful Relationships Programs, streamlined referral processes and community support services.

The Directorate has worked with other Australian jurisdictions to provide access to quality respectful relationships curriculum resources for schools. Resources in this area support students to develop personal and social capability as they learn to understand themselves and others, manage their relationships, recognise and regulate their emotions, develop empathy for others, and establish and build positive relationships.

In 2016, the Community Services Directorate and the Education Directorate collaborated on a pilot program, Preparedness for Preschool. Over four weeks, the program provided a supported preschool experience for children with identified vulnerabilities, and a concurrent parenting program with access to a Child and Family Worker and early intervention therapists. The pilot program delivered positive benefits for parents and children, including confidence and skills to engage with learning at home and school, reduced anxiety about starting school, early identification of possible developmental concerns and linking with appropriate intervention services. In 2017, the program will be rolled out across the four school networks.

In 2016-17, the Community Services Directorate and the Education Directorate continued to deliver the ACT Koori Preschool Network Initiative. Two Early Years Engagement Officers, based at the Child and Family Centres, visit each Koori Preschool weekly and support parental engagement in children’s learning, improved enrolment and attendance rates, and effective transitions from preschool to kindergarten. The Early Years Engagement Officers facilitate referrals between the Koori Preschool Program and the Child and Family Centres, engaging families in community support services and actively supporting preschool enrolment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children. Early Years Engagement Officers and Koori Preschool educators attend joint professional learning events each semester. At June 2017, enrolment and attendance rates at the Koori Preschool Program had increased since June 2016.

The ACT Koori Preschool Network Initiative is partly funded by the Australian Government under its Indigenous Advancement Strategy.

Identified Action: Implement Supporting Parents Plan.

As discussed above, the Directorate is working on development of an Early Childhood Strategy which will provide the means for delivering on some of the actions to implement the Supporting Parents Plan, including the development of a pilot program to provide after hours care to ACT Government preschool students.

Throughout 2017, high schools have worked with their student body, school board and school community to design and develop a school uniform that reflects the unique identity and culture of the school.

Work to develop resources for parents to further promote E-safety in schools and to further support parental engagement initiatives will be progressed in future Budget years.

Outcomes

As outlined above, the Directorate has been giving priority to strengthening relationships with parents and the community. The Directorate uses several indicators to measure its success in engaging with parents and the community, including parent and carer satisfaction around enrolments.

Parent and carer satisfaction is based on a survey in August each year of parents and carers of students attending public schools. In determining overall parent and carer satisfaction, the question ‘Overall I am satisfied with my child’s education at the school’ is used. Responses are collected on a five point scale with only statements of ‘agree’ or ‘strongly agree’ being used to calculate overall satisfaction rates.

The data below (Figure B2.18) indicates that there was a high level of parent and carer satisfaction with the education provided at public schools over the last five years. The level of overall satisfaction was stable over the last five years from 2012 to 2016, with 2016 performance of 86 percent being just below the target of 88 percent.

Figure B2.18: Overall satisfaction of Parents and Carers with the education provided at ACT public schools, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing overall satisfaction of Parents and Carers with the education provided at ACT public schools, 2012 to 2016

Source: ACT Education Directorate

The proportion of school enrolments by school sector includes all students enrolled from preschool to year 12 in all ACT schools, including specialist schools, at the February census of a given year.

ACT public schools continued to enrol the majority of students. ACT public school enrolments as a proportion of overall ACT enrolments has shown a small but steady increase from 2013 to 2017 (Figure B2.19).

Figure B2.19: Proportion of school enrolments, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing proportion of school enrolments, 2013 to 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate

The number of preschool enrolments in ACT public schools in the August census of a given year includes students who were attending a preschool program at a specialist school and/or as early entry students.

Preschool enrolments in ACT public schools increased from 2012 to 2014, but have shown a decline from 2014 to 2016 (Figure B2.20).

Figure B2.20: Number of enrolments in preschool in public schools, 2012 to 2016

Figure showing number of enrolments in preschool in public schools, 2012 to 2016

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Interstate Students In ACT Public Schools

Interstate enrolments in ACT public schools have fallen from 4.6 percent in 2013 to 3.9 percent in 2017. Interstate enrolments in ACT public primary schools (years P-6) have remained consistent at approximately 2.5 percent of total enrolments for the past five years. High school enrolments (years 7-10) of interstate students decreased from 6.4 percent to 5.7 percent of total enrolments between 2012 and 2017, while the proportion of interstate college enrolments has decreased from 9.1 percent in 2012 to 7.3 percent in 2017 (Figure B2.21).

Figure B2.21: Comparison of ACT and interstate enrolments in ACT public schools, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing comparison of ACT and interstate enrolments in ACT public schools, 2013 to 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate

International Education

International students are non-citizen or non-permanent Australian residents who currently attend ACT public schools. The headcount of international students attending ACT public schools is reported for each calendar year.

There are two main categories of international students studying in ACT public schools: students on a School Sector Student Visa Subclass 500; and students who are the dependants of temporary residents who hold various work or study visas.

The payment of tuition fees for the dependants of temporary residents is dependent upon their parents’ visa subclass, with 80 percent of dependants exempt from paying tuition fees in ACT public schools. As their parents are the principal visa holders, dependent children of temporary residents generally enrol onshore.

Over the past five years, there has been steady growth in the numbers of students holding a School Sector Student Visa Subclass 500, with a nine percent increase in student numbers between 2015 and 2016 (Figure B2.22). The numbers of fee paying students studying in ACT public schools as dependants on their parents’ visa has largely remained static over the past six years. The number of dependants who are fee exempted from international student tuition fees increased by 25 percent between 2015 and 2016.

Figure B2.22: Full fee paying and fee-exempt international students in public schools,
2011 to 2016

Figure showing full fee paying and fee-exempt international students in public schools, 2011 to 2016

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Photo of a group of international high school students, with a local Canberra  female student, walking down a tree-lined pathway in Canberra

Business Innovation and Improvement

Identified Action: Improve use of data to inform school performance.

There were a number of developments through the year to improve the use of data to inform school performance. These included changes to the online enrolment form to collect data on early childhood experiences prior to preschool. The provision of data to schools for their use has been improved by an upgrade to the School Data Tool so that more, and more relevant, data on school performance can be delivered more effectively. The Directorate has created a spatial capability to enable spatially enabled data to be used for planning and for other purposes. The provision of NAPLAN related data to stakeholders has been improved through the development of products to demonstrate student growth over time. A flexible school reporting template was implemented in ACT public schools for the reporting of student achievement in 2016.

There were a number of developments through the year to improve the use of data to inform school performance. These developments included changes to the online enrolment form to collect data on early childhood experiences prior to preschool. The provision of data to schools for their use was improved by an upgrade to the School Data Tool so that more, and more relevant, data on school performance can be delivered more effectively. The Directorate has created a capability to enable spatially enabled data to be used for planning and for other purposes. The provision of NAPLAN related data to stakeholders was improved through the development of products to demonstrate student growth over time. A flexible school reporting template was implemented in ACT public schools for the reporting of student achievement in 2016. Directors, School Improvement have increased their use of data in informing discussions with school leaders about school performance and school improvement. Directors, School Improvement use system data on school performance and improvement to inform what they deliver to school leaders and teaching staff.

Identified Action: Implement the School Administration System.

Configuration and testing has commenced on the new School Administration System (SAS) with the signing of a contract with SMS Consulting Pty Ltd in September 2016. Six schools across all levels of education have assisted in the initial configuration of the SAS system and have commenced testing. Initial functionality will include attendance, timetables, calendars and student records. Initial implementation is expected to commence in all ACT public schools in 2018. Further functionality will be released throughout 2018 including assessment, wellbeing, finance, communication (including with parents), learning management and full migration of active student records from old systems.

Identified Action: Plan for and deliver new, expanded and upgraded education facilities to meet current and future needs.

The Directorate has expended $19.543 million during 2016-17 to deliver many infrastructure and capital works improvements, including classroom upgrades totalling $2.6 million. Infrastructure and capital works projects have included:

Schools have also been undertaking work throughout 2016-17 to develop their expertise in learning space design. While the modernisation works at Belconnen High School and the Caroline Chisholm School Centre for Innovation and Learning are two examples, this work does not always require the construction of new spaces. It has also involved more flexible use of existing learning spaces, so that they can be configured in a number of ways to suit specific learning experiences and innovative teaching methods. Schools are engaging in pedagogy research on how to adjust spaces to become multidisciplinary and communal environments, which are well-adapted to modern technologies, encourage creativity and engage with students’ diverse learning needs and capabilities.

Identified Action: Make tablet/notebook devices available to every public high school and college student.

This initiative will provide a device for every child in years 7-11 across ACT public schools, commencing in 2018. To guide the initiative, the Minister commissioned a School Education Advisory Committee to examine best practice and recommend directions for implementing this project as reported in Section B1. The Committee’s report was delivered in mid-June. The main recommendation included bringing forward the delivery timeframe to deliver a device to every year 7 to 11 student in term 1 2018 to ensure ease of implementation in schools and improved equity of access. The Committee also recommended extending the established Google Chromebook service in schools as this would continue to build on the best practice implementation in ACT public schools and provide continuity for staff and students.

In addition, 3,070 laptops were supplied in 2016-17 to all full-time-equivalent teaching staff and $1.5 million was supplied to schools to purchase shared student devices. To ensure reliability and access for these new devices, the Directorate partnered with Shared Services ICT and installed 1,017 wireless access points in ACT public schools in 2016-17. All secondary schools’ internet bandwidth was upgraded to 10 G Bits/sec to ensure connectivity in preparation for expected future demand.

Identified Action: Meet targets of sustainability initiatives.

To meet its targets against sustainability measures, the Directorate implemented energy and water conservation measures across schools including:

To date the Directorate has secured a total of $4.925 million for a number of energy conservation projects since the Carbon Neutral Government Fund opened to directorates in 2012-13. In 2016-17 the Directorate commenced
$2.314 million of works from the Carbon Neutral Government Fund. Projects included:

To encourage active transport, the Directorate designed and commenced construction of end of trip and school bicycle storage facilities at four schools. The Directorate commenced implementation of its Sustainable Transport Strategy including offering two electric bikes for commuting to work related activities for Education Support Office staff. The Directorate also replaced five diesel vehicles with hybrid vehicles to improve fuel efficiency of the vehicle fleet.

To improve the sustainability performance of future schools, energy and sustainability standards were included in the Sustainable Development of Public School Facility Output Specifications. The Output Specifications for preschool to year 6 schools were endorsed on 28 June 2017. The Output Specifications target a 30 percent improvement in the energy efficiency of new school facilities above that required by the Building Code of Australia.

A comprehensive overview of sustainability performance is provided in Section B9.

Identified Action: Support Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS) Directorate to improve road safety around schools.

Parking and traffic safety around schools continues to be supported through collaboration between schools, TCCS and the Education Directorate. The school road safety plan includes new infrastructure, with bigger and better signage, dragon’s teeth line marking, dedicated school crossings and traffic islands.

Traffic and safety improvements include projects such as improved crossing at Lyneham Primary School, improvements to disabled parking, safety improvements at Gold Creek School and many other enhancements. During 2016-17, the projects included:

Identified Action: Schools to develop evidence-based improvement strategies and school network sharing best practice.

As part of developing the Student Resource Allocation (SRA) model, a review of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education, including extensive research and consultation, was undertaken in 2016.

In response to the evidence provided through this review, the Directorate has developed a policy framework to address the policy intent: "Schools that meet the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students."

This new policy intent is a deliberate shift away from the deficit discourse toward a more strengths-based approach and includes a focus on:

As part of schools’ ongoing school improvement journey, the Directors of School Improvement support schools in identifying areas for development and continuous improvement. To complement this work, the Directors of School Improvement have taken a more collaborative approach to their way of working. The five Directors of School Improvement have visited three schools together to develop a common understanding of best practice and expectations. In addition, the Directors of School Improvement provide detailed feedback through immersion visits and learning ‘walks and talks’.

In August 2016, the Directorate hosted the Engaging Schools Summit which was attended by over 160 teachers, principals and Student Leaders. During the Summit, Schools and Education Support Office leaders presented 10 showcase sessions on best practice and engagement strategies to support all learners to become engaged and integral members of their learning community.

Outcomes

Education and Care Services

Assessment and ratings completed within legislated timeframes

This indicator measures the percentage of quality assessment and ratings of education and care services completed by Authorised Officers within legislated timeframes.

Under the Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011 the legislated timeframe between the assessment visit and the issue of the final report and rating notice is within 60 days.

Authorised Officers from CECA conduct assessment and rating of services against the National Quality Standard. The process meets statutory requirements and a national approach to the assessment and reporting of the quality of education and care services across a variety of service settings.

The target of assessment and ratings completed within legislated timeframes for the 2016-17 financial year was 100 percent. The result for the financial year was 98 percent.

The result for the outcome is determined by calculating the number of assessment and rating cycles in which the final report and rating notices were issued within the legislated timeframe. The final report and rating notice sent date must fall within the reporting timeframe. The number of assessment and rating cycles conducted to completion during the time period 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2017 was 65. A total of 64 were completed within the legislated timeframe.

The number of assessment and ratings completed in the 2015-16 financial year was 111. The number completed within the legislated timeframe was 108. This resulted in 97 percent achievement against a target of 100 percent.

Annual compliance audit is delivered in full

This is a new indicator in 2016-17, which measures the percentage of compliance audits undertaken for the purpose of a minimum target number established by the Directorate’s Senior Executive Team for the 2016-17 financial year. A formal letter from the Director Early Childhood Policy and Regulation to the Senior Executive Team of the Education Directorate stipulates the number of compliance audits to be undertaken in the financial year for the purposes of this indicator.

A scheduled audit of an education and care service is conducted against the minimum requirements of the Education and Care Services National Law (ACT) Act 2011. The target of compliance audits to complete for 2016-17 was 36 (100 percent target). A total of 36 compliance audits were conducted, resulting in 100 percent compliance with the target number.

School Portfolio Carbon Emissions

Carbon emissions across the school portfolio are derived from gas and electricity energy consumption. The Directorate’s priority in managing its carbon emissions is informed by the strategic pathway outlined in AP2: A new climate change strategy and action plan for the Australian Capital Territory and the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Framework.

The Directorate, in line with the Carbon Neutral ACT Government Framework, is committed to reducing its carbon emissions. The Directorate’s Resource Management Plan (RMP) provides a strategic pathway for the achievement of the Directorate’s carbon reduction target (Carbon Budget Target). In 2016-17 school based carbon emissions continued a downward trend (Figure B2.23). A reduction in the ACT Carbon Emission Factor for electricity combined with progressive improvements in energy efficiency across the school portfolio have permitted the downward trend despite annual growth in school gross floor area (GFA). Growth in GFA in 2016-17 reporting period included the addition of Caroline Chisholm School – Senior Campus: STEM building and extensions at Amaroo School and Harrison School (equivalent to a 3.85 percent increase in GFA from 2015-16 to 2016-17).

Figure B2.23 School portfolio carbon emissions (TONNES), 2012-13 to 2016-17

Figure showing school portfolio carbon emissions, 2012-13 to 2016-17

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Freedom of Information

The Directorate, in line with ACT Government policy, is committed to making government decisions transparent through Open Government initiatives. The Freedom of Information (FOI) process is a mechanism allowing the community to access information held by the Directorate. The number of new FOI requests in a financial year increased from 38 in 2011-12 to 60 in 2016-17 (Figure B2.24). The requests received in 2016-17 comprised 20 from Members of the Legislative Assembly, five from Media and 35 from other sources, the majority of which were for access to personal records.

Figure B2.24: Number of new FOI requests, 2011-12 to 2016-17

Figure showing number of new FOI requests, 2011-12 to 2016-17

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Non-Government Education

The Directorate contributes to the maintenance of standards in non-government schools and home education through compliance and registration, and the accreditation and certification of senior secondary courses through the Board of Senior Secondary Studies. The Directorate also undertakes the administration and payment of the Commonwealth and ACT Government grants.

In 2016-17, the Directorate met all of its targets for non-government education:

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