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The Organisation

The Education Directorate (the Directorate) delivers quality public school and early childhood education to shape every child’s future and lay the foundation for lifelong development and learning.

Our Vision

Our vision is that every student will learn, thrive and be equipped with the skills and attitudes to lead fulfilling, productive and responsible lives. We strive to ensure that every child and young person in the ACT benefits from high quality, accessible education and early childhood education and care.

Our Values

The Directorate shares the ACT Public Service values of respect, integrity, collaboration and innovation. We use these to shape our behaviours and actions when supporting children and young people in our schools. These values also apply across all areas of the Directorate to shape the work that our people do to support each other.

Our Priorities

The 2017-18 Budget Statement set the strategic direction of the Directorate and guided its work to achieving our strategic goals with a focus on the following priorities:

Quality learning actions focuses on curriculum, assessment and reporting; literacy, numeracy and science; early years education and care; and vocational education and training.

Inspirational teaching and leadership prioritises quality teaching; leadership capacity; and supporting teaching and learning.

High expectations, high performance focuses effort on meeting the learning needs of every student.

Connecting with families and the community aims to engage with the community and industry; streamline processes and ensure compliance through regulatory services.

Business innovation and improvement focuses on school performance; data for improvement; and learning environments.

Our Stakeholders

Our clients and stakeholders include:

Our Minister

The Minster for Education and Early Childhood Development in 2017-18 was Ms Yvette Berry MLA

Our Schools Network

The ACT public education system is based on four school networks. A Director of School Improvement (DSI) is assigned to each network with management responsibilities for each principal in the network and oversight of each school’s improvement agenda. To provide leadership and further enhance the Directorate’s focus on school improvement, the Executive Director School Improvement was appointed in 2018.

The figure below shows the number of ACT public schools in each sector and their distribution across the ACT.

The image shows a map of the ACT indicating the 4 school network zones and the type of public schools within each zone. If you would like assistance with accessing the contents of the map please contact (02) 6205 4674.
ACT Public Schools Network 2017-18

The image shows a summary of notable numbers, including number of staff, number of students and amount of money invested in infrastructure. If you would like assistance with accessing the contents of the map please contact (02) 6205 4674.

Our Organisational Structure

The image shows a chart of the organisational structure of the ACT Education Directorate as at 30 June 2018. If you would like assistance with accessing the contents of chart please contact (02) 6205 4674.

Our Internal Accountability

Senior Executives

Director-General

Accountable to both the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development and the Head of Service, the Director-General leads the Directorate and the network of ACT public schools to implement the Education Act 2004. The Director-General is responsible for promoting compulsory education, overseeing the operation and governance of ACT public schools, and overseeing the registration of non-government schools and home education. The Director-General also holds responsibility for the Directorate’s strategic direction, including ensuring the implementation of Whole‑of‑Government strategies.

The Director-General is responsible for implementing the requirements of the Education Act 2004 and the policy and practices that give effect to the legislation and its intent. In addition, the Director-General has a role in the leadership of the ACT Public Service as a member of the ACT Public Service Strategic Board.

Deputy Director-General

The Deputy Director-General leads ACT public schools, deputises for the Director-General and holds responsibility for school improvement and the delivery of education services through student-centred learning and teaching initiatives.

The Deputy Director-General leads the School Performance and Improvement Division. The School Performance and Improvement Division ensures accountability for student wellbeing, teaching and learning practice and student outcomes. Support services are provided in the areas of curriculum delivery, pedagogy, digital strategy, student wellbeing, pathways and transitions and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.

Deputy Director-General, System Policy and Reform

The Deputy Director-General, System Policy and Reform has responsibility for the development and implementation of strategic policy and reform initiatives such as the Future of Education project and the Student Resource Allocation Program, in addition to advising on the ACT’s contribution to national education reforms including through the Council of Australian Government’s Education Council.

The Deputy Director-General, System Policy and Reform leads the Strategic Policy, Planning and Analytics and Early Childhood Policy and Regulation branches of the Directorate. The Deputy Director-General, System Policy and Reform Division leads the coordination of the national assessment programs and provides quality data and analytics to inform school and system improvement.

The Division is also responsible for regulating the early childhood education and care sector through the ACT Regulatory Authority, the Children’s Education and Care Assurance Unit. This Division is also leading the Government’s policy and strategy reforms in early childhood education and care as well as contributing to national policy development in the sector.

Executive Director, Business Services

The Executive Director, Business Services Division is responsible for leading the governance and ministerial services and the planning and delivery of the human, financial and infrastructure services that support the delivery of education services in our schools.

This includes the overall management of public school buildings including repairs and maintenance, the planning and construction of new schools, capital upgrades, environmental sustainability initiatives such as solar panels, and ensuring school facilities are available for community use.

It includes oversight of people and performance, including the development of Workforce Strategies, and management of the Industrial Relations Framework including working with important stakeholders such as the Australian Education Union.

The role also includes responsibility for the regulation of the home education sector and non-government schools, as well as for complaints management across the Directorate.

The Executive Director, Business Services leads the Infrastructure and Capital Works, Governance and Community Liaison, People and Performance, and Strategic Finance branches of the Directorate.

Executive Director, School Improvement

The Executive Director, School Improvement is responsible for implementing the Directorate’s school improvement strategy with a focus on evidence-based practice and implementation of school improvement initiatives. This includes strengthening school leadership capability in planning, evidence-based decision making and instructional capability to lead high performing schools.

The role is critical in strengthening ACT public schools as vibrant, innovative and high functioning learning communities that attract and retain quality education professionals to work in the ACT. The position has responsibility for implementing the school improvement and planning cycle for all ACT public schools, including the program of school review.

This responsibility includes the day‑to‑day executive leadership of school operations for all 87 ACT public schools, including management of critical issues and complex complaints management. The Executive Director, School Improvement position was created in 2018.

The Executive Director, School Improvement leads the School Improvement component of the School Performance and Improvement Division.

Executive Director, Service Design and Delivery

The Executive Director, Service Design and Delivery has responsibility for policy development, service design and integration for the core functions of the Directorate, ensuring the provision of high-quality education services to ACT public school students.

In the delivery of these services the Executive Director is responsible for the Directorate’s digital strategy supporting learning and teaching across our schools (including the implementation of the Australian Curriculum, cultural integrity and vocational education) and provision of services to international students studying within the ACT Public School System.

The Executive Director also has responsibility for careers and transitions, student engagement, disability services and inclusion, including the provision of allied health services to support the wellbeing of students in all of our schools.

The Executive Director, Service Design and Delivery leads the service design and delivery component of the School Performance and Improvement Division.

Remuneration for Senior Executives

Section 10 of the Remuneration Tribunal Act 1995 requires its administrative body (the Tribunal) to inquire into and determine the remuneration, allowances and other entitlements of the Director-General and executives within the meaning of the Public Sector Management Act 1994.

The Tribunal, after a review of salary, allowances and other entitlements for executives in March 2018, decided that it would increase the salary for the Director-General and executives by 2.5 percent, effective from 1 July 2018.

Directorate Committees

The Directorate committee structure is part of the Directorate’s governance framework.

Education Governance Committee

The Education Governance Committee (EGC), renamed in 2018 from Senior Executive Team Board, is the key decision-making body of the Directorate ensuring accountability, effective compliance, policy development and system performance assessment.

EGC is responsible for formulating strategic direction, taking into account changing community needs and government priorities and monitoring the Directorate’s performance, compliance and assurance against its corporate commitments and regulatory responsibilities.

EGC supports the Director-General in discharging their responsibilities as the responsible officer of the Directorate reporting to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development under section 19 of the Public Sector Management Act 1994; and specific responsibilities under the Education Act 2004.

Membership of the EGC expanded in 2018 and now includes the:

EGC is responsible for:

Reform Program Board

The Reform Program Board (RPB) is responsible for overseeing specific programs of strategic importance to the ACT public education system. The RPB provides oversight of major projects undertaken by the Directorate attending to active risk management and interdependencies between projects.

All board members are appointed by the Director-General. Membership of the board comprises:

Audit Committee

The objective of the Audit Committee is to provide independent assurance and assistance to the Director-General on the Directorate’s risk, control and compliance frameworks, and its external accountability responsibilities. The Audit Committee also reviews the annual financial statements and provides advice to the Director-General on significant risks, audit outcomes and implementation of mitigation strategies.

Security and Emergency Management Committee

The Director-General has established the Security and Emergency Management Committee to assist the Director-General and Senior Executive Team to implement the ACT Government Protective Security Policy and associated elements of risk management. The Security and Emergency Management Committee provides advice to the Director-General on significant security, emergency management and business continuity proposals, directions, policies and training. The Security and Emergency Management Committee also makes recommendations to the Director-General, Senior Executive Team, Corporate Executive or Directors on issues in relation to security, emergency management and business continuity.

Respect, Equity and Diversity Consultative Committee

Throughout this reporting period, the Strategic Policy Branch has evaluated the impact of the Respect, Equity and Diversity Consultative Committee (REDCC). The Committee governs the implementation of the Respect Equity and Diversity Framework. The REDCC focusses on Directorate specific strategies and programs including the Reconciliation Action Plan, the Cultural Integrity Continuum, as well as the introduction of new diversity staff cohorts (Accessibility Advisory Group and the LGBTIQ Staff Network). The Committee works closely with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network. In the future the REDCC will afford greater line of sight by the committee over the breadth of employee cohorts within Education, enabling the committee to oversee the strengthening of an inclusive organisational culture.

Directorate Consultative Committee

The Directorate Consultative Committee was established in accordance with the relevant enterprise agreements. The main objectives of the Directorate Consultative Committee are to improve consultation and communication processes between staff, senior managers and unions concerning significant changes to policy and guidelines that relate to the agreements, promote the sharing of information across the Directorate, and provide a forum for consultation.

Injury Prevention and Management Committee

The Injury Prevention and Management Committee is the forum through which the Directorate consults with its workers and unions on work health and safety matters. The Injury Prevention and Management Committee considers injury prevention and management performance measures and initiatives designed to ensure the Directorate’s workers’ health and safety at work.

Occupational Violence Steering Committee

The Occupational Violence Steering Committee governs the implementation of the safe work initiatives outlined in the Directorate’s Occupational Violence Safe Work Plan. This includes responses to issues raised in staff consultation, individual cases of occupational violence and recommendations of reviews of management of this safety risk completed during 2016-17.

The Occupational Violence Steering Committee is chaired by the Executive Director, Business Services and at 30 June 2018 comprised the Executive Director, Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations from the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate, and the Directors of People and Performance, Student Engagement, Early Childhood Policy and Regulation and School Improvement branches of the Education Directorate. The Executive Director, Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations from the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate now attends meetings as required.

Principals’ Advisory Group

The Principals’ Advisory Group (PAG) is a communication and consultation group. PAG considers key strategic policy and operational matters and provides advice to the Corporate Executive, Senior Executive Team and Network Executive. PAG raises policy and operational issues impacting on effectiveness and improvement from a school perspective and can form sub-committees to undertake specific tasks. Membership includes five principals from each of the four networks as well as the Director-General, Deputy Director-General and Directors, School Improvement (DSI's).

Information Communications Technology Working Group

The Information Communications Technology (ICT) Working Group provides advice on the development and implementation of ICT policies, programs and strategies. The ICT Working Group makes recommendations to the Education Directorate’s Senior Executive Team through the Deputy Director-General about ICT strategic directions, policies and proposals for system wide ICT initiatives.

School Education Advisory Committee

Under section 126 of the Education Act 2004 (the Act), the Minister may establish a School Education Advisory Committee as required to advise the Minister about school education or a related matter for a specified period. During the reporting period of July 2017-June 2018 ‘Devices in Schools’ was established. The Committee was chaired by Ms Sue Chapman and comprised of another eight members who have particular expertise in the use of technology in education.

Our Planning Framework and Direction-Setting Mechanism

The Directorate’s priorities for 2017-18 reflect the intent and domains outlined in the Directorate’s strategic plan 2014-17 Education Capital: Leading the Nation. This plan focused on ensuring every child and young person benefits from a high quality, accessible education and childcare system; every student learns, thrives and is equipped with the skills and attitudes to lead fulfilling, productive and responsible lives; and our highly educated and skilled community contributes to the economic and social prosperity of our city and the nation. Domains outlined in the plan include; quality learning, inspirational teaching and leadership, high expectations and performance, connecting with families and the community, and business innovation and improvement. These domains provided the framework for the priorities outlined in the 2017-18 Budget Statement, guiding the work of the Directorate for the year.

In 2017-18, the Directorate embarked on a collaborative staff engagement process to develop our new Strategic Plan 2018-2021: A Leading Learning Organisation. The new Strategic Plan outlines our vision, mission and goals for the years ahead, along with the capabilities we need to achieve them.

A comprehensive organisational planning framework and implementation approach has been developed and will ensure the Directorate is well placed to deliver on the new Strategic Plan and the ACT Government’s Future of Education Strategy. The organisational planning framework incorporates the Directorate’s strategic reforms, annual action plans, and individual staff performance and development plans, to ensure all staff members and divisions are working towards a shared direction. The Directorate has also shifted the annual action plan cycle to calendar years to better align with school planning processes, in recognition that schools are our core business and everything we do in the Education Support Office should be in support of schools. The implementation approach builds in an action learning culture and integrated planning and delivery functions while continuing to build the strategic capability of the organisation.

The Directorate designed internal controls to monitor and manage risk in delivering the Strategic Plan. The Directorate’s risk management system includes the Directorate’s Education Governance Committee monitoring identified key risks and the progress of implementing controls and mitigation strategies for each risk. The Audit Committee independently monitors the implementation of controls and mitigation strategies.

More information on the Directorate’s governance arrangements, including risk management and the audit program, is provided in Sections B.4 to B.6 of this report.

Our Legislative Responsibilities

Under the Australian Capital Territory (Self-Government) Act 1988 (Cwth) and the Public Sector Management Act 1994 (ACT), the Chief Minister allocates responsibility to the various Ministers, Directors-General and agencies for the administration of ACT legislation. The Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development and the Director-General of the ACT Education Directorate are administratively responsible for the following legislation:

Summary of Performance

Under the direction of the 2014-2017 Strategic Plan – Education Capital: Leading the Nation and the 2017‑18 Budget Statements F – Education Directorate, the Directorate has achieved the following results:

Quality Learning
  • 47,945 students provided with quality education services across 87 schools.
  • Undertook 18 school reviews in line with the People, Practice and Performance: A Framework for School Performance and Accountability.
  • To support learning and teaching in ACT public schools more than 14,500 Chromebook devices were provided to year 7 to year 11 ACT public school students.
  • Developed a suite of English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D) assessment resources for schools.
  • Tailored professional learning through Principals as Numeracy Leaders program was provided to 52 ACT public schools.
  • Tailored professional learning in the Australian Curriculum was provided to 46 ACT public schools.
  • Tailored professional learning for Early Years Literacy was provided to 20 ACT public schools through in-schools support, with an additional 32 schools participating in the universal professional learning “The ten essential literacy practices”.
  • 40 ACT public schools engaging in the Positive Learning Behaviour (PBL) framework – a framework designed to create safe and supportive school environments.
  • 99 percent of Individual Learning Plans (ILP) completed for students in special and mainstream schools who access special education services.
Inspirational Teaching and Leadership
  • Commenced the School Improvement: Writing (Secondary) initiative focussing on strengthening the teaching of writing in ACT public high schools.
  • The Centre for Innovation and Learning (CIL) opened in 2018 and has supported 47 teachers, from 13 schools in the Tuggeranong Network, to plan and co-deliver STEM education programs for students in preschool to year 10. CIL also hosted an additional 17 professional learning workshops for ACT public school teachers in STEM related areas.
  • Developed and launched the New Educator Support Plan to strengthen the implementation of supports for beginner teachers.
  • 216 teachers attended Google Summit professional development to improve digital education capability with a further 268 staff attending Google G-Suite workshops, held every term.
  • 14 teachers were certified under the Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher Program (HALT).
  • Scholarships were provided to enhance teacher capability and increase qualification levels through further study.
  • 92 percent attendance rate of public school students in year 1 to year 10.
High Expectations, High Performance
  • Developed and embedded Cultural Integrity Framework within schools and continued to embed the framework within the Education Support Office with more than 80 staff attending cultural competency professional learning.
  • Transitioned 106 of the 116 ACT public, catholic and independent schools to undertake online testing for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy.
  • Engaged five additional school psychologists to support students in ACT public schools.
  • Commenced implementation of the Student Resource Allocation (SRA) Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student loading to meet the needs and aspirations of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
  • Developed the 2018-21 Strategic Plan – A Leading Learning Organisation.
  • 88 percent of year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students proceeded to public secondary college education.
  • 92 percent of year 10 students proceeded to public secondary college education.
  • 87 percent of year 12 students received a Senior Secondary Certificate.
  • 92 percent of year 12 graduates studying or employed six months after completing a Senior Secondary Certificate.
Connecting With Families and the Community
  • The Future of Education Strategy continued to engage in a ‘big conversation’ across the ACT community with more than 5,000 people contributing to the conversation, including 2,200 students.
  • Supported the Minister for Education to finalise the 10-year strategy for the future of education in the ACT.
  • Supported the Minister to release an Early Childhood Strategy Discussion Paper emphasising the importance of children engaging in early childhood education.
  • The Early Childhood Advisory Council was established in August 2017 to bring together representatives of the education and care sector to strengthen partnerships with the ACT Government.
  • Support at Preschool (SAP), in partnership with National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) providers ensured support for 78 children was in place prior to their commencement in preschool in 2018.
  • Launched the School Crossing Supervisor program at 20 ACT public schools in collaboration with Transport Canberra and City Services (TCCS).
  • Continued to support cross-government response initiatives for family violence through the in-posting of a senior officer within the Office of the Coordinator-General for Family Violence.
  • 85 percent of parents and carers satisfied with the education provided at ACT public schools.
Business Innovation and Improvement
  • Delivered significant improvements to schools in a range of areas through the staged implementation of the School Administration System (SAS).
  • Initiation of coordinated service delivery model to meet identified whole of system school improvement needs.
  • $85 million for new learning environments and more contemporary, safe and comfortable environments for students and staff.
  • Developed new indicators to better reflect the measure of equity and gain in student performance, particularly in the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy.
  • Invested $80.388 million during 2017-18 to deliver infrastructure and capital works improvements, including school expansion projects, repairs and maintenance and asbestos management programs at Campbell High School and Narrabundah College.
  • Improved corporate planning frameworks.
  • Development of the Sustainable Delivery of Public School Facilities suite of documents that inform the design of new and refurbished learning spaces in accordance with contemporary pedagogy.
  • The Children’s Education and Care Assurance unit (CECA) conducted 69 assessments and ratings cycles, and 36 247 compliance audits.
  • 100 percent of annual compliance audit of early childhood education and care services delivered during the reporting period.
  • 99 percent of assessment and ratings completed within legislated timeframes for early childhood education and care services.
  • 100 percent of non-government schools operating in the ACT during the reporting period were registered.
  • 100 percent of home educated students were provisionally registered for home education within 10 school days of the receipt of the application.
  • 100 percent of grants paid to non-government schools within the required period of receiving funds from the Commonwealth Government.

Challenges

Quality Learning
  • Continuing to embed the Australian Curriculum into ACT public schools under the Strengthening Implementation of the Australian Curriculum initiative.
  • Developing personalised learning pedagogical practices in all sectors of schooling.
  • Continuing to support the growth of cultural integrity at ACT public schools.
  • Establishing inclusive learning environments that meet the needs of all students.
Inspirational Teaching and Leadership
  • Investing in the teaching profession and building professional learning communities.
  • Ensuring services offered by the Directorate continue to meet the changing needs of schools and improve learning, engagement and wellbeing outcomes for students.
  • Promoting ‘belonging’ among public school students leading to improvements in student engagement and satisfaction with public education.
  • Strengthening our focus on early childhood and preschool enrolments in ACT public schools.
  • Continuing to develop workforce capability across the public education sector.
High Expectations, High Performance
  • Maintaining effective partnerships across ACT Government, community organisations and advocacy groups.
  • Improving equity in educational outcomes measured through learning gains of students regardless of their socioeconomic background.
  • Supporting the early childhood education and care sector to have high quality ratings.
  • Finalising the leadership capability plan.
  • Continuing to support the role of the Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) to drive a quality agenda and improve consistency of quality across every school and classroom.
  • Growing the number of Highly Accomplished and Lead Teachers (HALTs) and assessors in ACT public schools.
Connecting With Families and the Community
  • Facilitating and encouraging community use of schools.
  • Establishing effective partnerships with the non-government sector to support children and young people in the ACT.
  • Streamlining the processes for enrolment into ACT public schools.
  • Delivering the Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) Strategy for the ACT.
  • Engaging with parents to support learning outcomes, especially in the early years.
Business Innovation and Improvement
  • Delivering new, expanded and upgraded learning environments and infrastructure to meet current and future demand.
  • Implementing the final phases of the School Administration System.
  • Strengthening safety culture within schools and the Directorate.
  • Ensuring workforce can meet the demands of the community expressed through the Future of Education.

Outlook

The Directorate developed the Strategic Plan 2018-21 – A Leading Learning Organisation to guide the Directorate throughout next three years. The Strategic Plan provides clear objectives, measures and targets to equip the Directorate with a cohesive way to monitor progress, learn and improve, ensuring that we have a sustainable and adaptable high performing educational system into the future.

In 2018-19 we will work towards achieving the following goals outlined in the Strategic Plan. Specific actions are outlined in the Education Directorate Annual Action Plan 2018-19.

Schools Where Children Love To Learn
  • We deliver world class, innovative and future focussed learning that is recognised as inclusive, highly equitable and high quality.
  • We provide safe learning environments with a focus on wellbeing where students feel good at school and have access to the support they need, when they need it.
  • We ensure each student has a personalised and meaningful education that allows them to thrive as global citizens.
  • Students are confident, creative and collaborative, and know they can be great learners.
Investing In Early Childhood
  • We acknowledge and support families as every child’s first teachers.
  • Every child and family are known before they arrive in preschool or kindergarten.
  • We value and validate a child’s learning from early childhood education and care through to preschool and into schooling.
Evidence-Informed Decisions
  • We combine student agency, professional expertise and the best evidence to make decisions.
  • We apply an agreed standard of evidence to the decisions we need to make.
  • We have clear visibility of student agency, our evidence and impact at multiple levels including student, school, program and system.
  • Our people are using evidence-based practices to demonstrate impact on student learning.
Learning Culture
  • We empower every individual to learn and help others to do so.
  • We value leadership that promotes and models inquiry and creativity.
  • We have a future focussed workforce with the capability to achieve outcomes for each student.
United Leadership
  • We share the ownership of the strategic direction between schools and the education support office.
  • We have community confidence in our ability to deliver quality and equitable education.
  • We align the Education Support Office and our school plans with our strategic direction.
  • We trust and support each other during challenges.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Student Outcomes

The Annual Reports (Government Agencies) Notice 2017 provides Annual Report Directions stating that the Directorate must report annual progress in relation to programs and/or initiatives that benefit Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples in the ACT.

The Directorate has an ongoing commitment to enhancing our education system culture to better support the needs of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and staff members in ACT public schools and the education support office.

The Directorate has realised increased participation in ACT public schools and increased numbers of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students identified in the ACT School Census, with 1,887 students enrolled in ACT public schools in February 2018.

As of June 2018, 101 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members were employed across the Directorate. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network provides a forum for staff to discuss issues and opportunities, peer mentorship, career development and leadership. In 2017, membership was extended to pre-service teachers providing early connections and support within the Directorate.

In 2017-18, two ACT public schools introduced the Connecting to Country program into their curriculum for years 7 and 8, teaching all students about the cultural heritage and languages of the indigenous nations in our region.

Significant achievements through 2017-18 demonstrate the growth in cultural integrity with further development and continual improvement for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educational outcomes planned for the Future of Education Strategy.

Cultural Integrity in ACT Public Schools

Cultural integrity describes the environment a school creates to demonstrate both respect and high regard for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures, knowledge systems and languages; to welcome and engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families and local community members; and to meet the learning needs and aspirations of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

In 2017-18, the Directorate focussed on its cultural integrity journey by developing and delivering a range of initiatives across schools and within Education Support Office.

The cultural integrity approach promotes and facilitates respect, trust and positive relationships with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and between the wider Canberra community to develop schools that meet the needs and aspirations of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.

The Cultural Integrity Self-Assessment Continuum was developed to assist schools to continuously reflect and rigorously examine their school environments, curriculum and relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

Schools have been provided a comprehensive set of supporting resources, framed around a self-assessment continuum which is continually updated and improved. Resources include examples of local and international leading practice. Schools will also continue to have access to the Directorate’s suite of targeted support programs.

The Diagram shows the current Cultural Integrity Dimensions, including engaging with families and the community, teaching with cultural integrity, leadership celebration and environment, and high expectations and successful transitions.
Cultural Integrity Continuum

Resources for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students are allocated to schools in two ways: an annual allocation to all schools to build their cultural integrity; and an enrolments-driven allocation, which is higher for students in the crucial early years of schooling and for students in the key transition phases for years 7 and 11.

By building cultural integrity in all schools, the ACT is developing richer, more engaging learning environments for all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and for the entire school community.

In May 2018, the Directorate produced a new Acknowledgement of Country banner with an accompanying series of Acknowledgement to Country postcards to encourage staff to show respect for the Traditional Custodians through offering an Acknowledgement of Country where an event or meeting is taking place. The postcards illustrated with local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artist Lynnice Church's Welcome to Country set out the Acknowledgement of Country text developed in consultation with the United Ngunnawal Elders Council.

The image shows Lynnice Church's Welcome To Country artwork and the following text: The Education Directorate acknowledges the Ngunnawal Peoples as the Traditional Custodians of the ACT and region upon which we live and work. We pay respect to the United Ngunnawal Elders Council and to the Elders both past and present of the Ngunnawal Nation for they hold the hopes and dreams for the future of the ACT and surrounding region. We also acknowledge and pay respect to the Wreck Bay peoples as custodians of the land on which Jervis Bay School is located. We value the diverse contributions that our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander colleagues make to our Directorate. ACT Public servants are encouraged to show respect for the Traditional Custodians, by offering an ‘Acknowledgement of Country’ where an event or meeting is taking place. The purpose of an Acknowledgment of Country is to acknowledge the ongoing cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and to recognise their ongoing relationship with Land and Water. Respect through the acknowledgment and recognition of the Traditional Custodians plays an important role in the reconciliation process. An Acknowledgement of Country can be powerful where there is a connection and meaning to both the event or meeting taking place and the individual providing it.

Acknowledgement of Country Banner, artwork by Lynnice Church

Cultural Competence

Between July 2017 and June 2018 more than 80 staff undertook cultural competency professional learning. This involved completion of ten online modules of an accredited Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Competence course provided through the Centre for Cultural Competence Australia, supplemented with three workshops designed to integrate the local (Ngunnawal) context and provide opportunities for sharing practice, reflection and planning action.

The workshops to supplement the online training have provided opportunities to learn about Ngunnawal plant use as well as objects and resources available as part of the National Museum of Australia’s extensive Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander collections. Participants in the 2017 training group were treated to a special viewing of Songlines – Tracking the Seven Sisters. Overall, these face-to-face workshops are highly valued by participants. Many commented on the importance of these sessions for collaborating and sharing with others.

Cultural integrity training was also provided for all Principals and Directorate Executives. Participants received three days of training that incorporated an understanding of historical and current experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, providing an opportunity to challenge perceptions and deficit discourse. This led to the creation of site-based cultural action plans and a cultural integrity framework for the Directorate.

The first session in early October 2017 was facilitated by MurriMatters (Mr Scott Gorringe and Mr David Spillman) and engaged participants in a cultural analysis and the implications of deficit discourse. The second training session, with Mr Grant Sarra, engaged participants in a strategic Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander awareness workshop “To Understand the Present – We Must Understand the Past”. The final session in November 2017, facilitated by MurriMatters, examined approaches to complex challenges and cultural change.

Preschool for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children

The Directorate’s Koori Preschool Program provides high quality early childhood education at five sites across Canberra. Children from birth to three years can attend a Koori Preschool when accompanied by a parent or guardian, enabling greater family involvement and supporting transition to formal schooling.

Koori Preschools are located at:

In addition to enrolling in Koori Preschool, children can also attend their local preschool, providing access of up to 24 hours per week of high-quality preschool education in the 18 months prior to starting kindergarten.

Figure B1.1: Number of enrolments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in preschool in public schools, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing the number of enrolments of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children in preschool in public schools, 2013 to 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate, August 2013-2017

In 2017, the number of enrolments in preschool of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students increased by 39, exceeding the ACT target (Figure B1.1).

In February 2018, there were 86 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in Koori Preschools, with 41 of those students enrolled in both a Koori Preschool and a mainstream preschool program. Parental engagement and effective transitions are two key focuses of the Koori Preschool Program. In 2017-18, staff in the Koori Preschool Program worked closely with community and government agencies to support strong relationships and family engagement in preschool education. Early years engagement officers, employed through the Community Services Directorate (CSD), play a key role in connecting Koori Preschools with their local community.

In 2017-18, the Directorate facilitated targeted professional learning for staff working in the Koori Preschool Program to build cultural competency to meet the needs and aspirations of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and families. This included a Teacher Quality Institute (TQI) accredited full day program in semester one 2018 at the National Library of Australia, featuring presentations and workshops from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education unit and Reconciliation Australia.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Secondary Scholarships

A total of $75,000 is available annually for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Secondary Scholarships Program, directed towards students interested in pursuing degrees in health, teaching or a vocational qualification.

Since its inception in 2009, 57 senior secondary students received scholarships: 42 for teaching, 14 for health and one for vocational education.

In 2017, the Directorate awarded six scholarships; four for students interested in a career in education and two for students interested in a career in health.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Tertiary Scholarships

Each year $80,000 is available for scholarships (worth up to $20,000 per student) to support and encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying teaching or health at the Australian Catholic University (ACU), University of Canberra (UC) or the Australian National University (ANU).

Since its inception in 2009, 31 tertiary scholarships have been awarded for teaching and approved health degrees.

In 2018, the Directorate received 16 applications, the largest field in the history of the Tertiary Scholarship program. This year, the Directorate awarded three teaching scholarships and two health scholarships to students attending UC and ACU.

Mura Awards

The Mura Awards initiative provides an opportunity for schools to acknowledge the achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and to engage with families and the local community. The bursaries attached to the Mura Awards supports participation in education by providing some financial assistance for educational expenses such as excursions and uniforms.

56 Mura Awards were awarded late in 2017 with each student receiving a $400 bursary for the 2018 school year.

Strengthening and Promoting Ngunnawal Culture and History in Schools

The ACT Government's 2016-17 Budget included a $300,000 two-year program, Better Schools – Strengthening and Promoting Ngunnawal Culture and History, to support schools and students to engage with the Traditional Owners and incorporate Ngunnawal culture across all ACT public schools.

The Directorate is encouraging the inclusion of existing local resources in teaching and learning programs and promoting the exploration of a variety of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages and cultures into local school learning and teaching activities.

The Directorate continues to engage with schools to successfully implement cultural integrity learning and teaching programs. These include:

Community Yarns

The Community Yarns project was developed as part of the Directorate’s Connection Collaboration Careers Leadership: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan 2014-2017. The aim was to engage members of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community for employment opportunities with the Directorate.

A review of the Community Yarn process was undertaken in late 2016. In consultation with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Staff Network, the focus during 2017 and 2018 was to engage with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in ACT universities.

In August 2017, a Community Yarn was held in partnership with the Ngunnawal Centre at the University of Canberra to engage with current pre-service teachers and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students also interested in a career in education. Mr Maurice Walker, from the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elected Body also attended this Community Yarn.

In the second half of 2018 two Community Yarns will be held; one at the Australian Catholic University and one in partnership with the Smith Family.

Garma Festival

Each year an estimated 2,500 visitors gather and camp at Gulkula, a traditional ceremonial meeting ground, historically significant to the Yolngu people of the north east Arnhem Land. Its location is remote, 40 kilometres on an unsealed road from the township of Nhulunbuy on the Central Arnhem Highway.

The Garma experience is simply unique. Festival programming includes contemporary policy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander affairs discussions through to music, art, dance, song, youth, language workshops, fireside chats, bush crafts, guided bush walks, astronomy, women’s healing, cinema, creative writing, Yolngu ceremonies, nightly lectures, poetry recitals and a fancy dinner under the stars.

Participants from all persuasions gather to experience four days of the Garma Festival, Australia’s largest Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander led and programmed cultural exchange. Over the course of the festival guests share ideas and learn from an array of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and non-Indigenous speakers. They witness a spectacular culturally unique dance, arts and song scene, specific to the Arnhem region and the rich Arnhem Land lifestyle.

As part of the Directorate’s commitment to increasing the cultural integrity of the workforce, the Directorate sponsored four employees including three Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff members to attend the 2017 Garma Festival from Friday 4 August 2017 to Monday 7 August 2017.

The image shows Garma Festival attendees Ginibi Robinson, Cara-Jane Shipp, Angela Burroughs and Zuzette Fahey

From left to right: Ginibi Robinson, Cara-Jane Shipp, Angela Burroughs, Zuzette Fahey

Garma’s impact is highly significant and participants felt empowered by the conversations, connections, ideas and ways of doing things together. The Garma Festival provided Directorate staff an opportunity to connect, network and learn from others through the many cultural and learning experiences offered by the festival.

The Directorate’s engagement in cultural experiences such as the Garma Festival supports the development of our cultural integrity, through our diversity of identities, experiences and strengths.

National Reconciliation Week

In the lead up to the first national public holiday to recognise and celebrate Reconciliation Day (27 May 2018), nine ACT public schools where successful in obtaining grant funding from the ACT Reconciliation Day Grant Program. These grants provided ACT public school, school leaders the opportunity to further promote Reconciliation within their school communities through activities and conversations engaging with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, families and communities.

The grants enabled schools to development projects and organise events reflecting the diversity within the reconciliation journey:

The Directorate’s National Reconciliation Week (27 May – 3 June 2018) program for staff consisted of a series of lunchtime yarning circles using the Talking about Reconciliation in the Workplace guidelines to support staff to participate in Reconciliation conversations.

Education Support Office staff also held a Don’t Keep History a Mystery morning tea fundraiser. Funds raised were donated to The Healing Foundation, a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisation that partners with communities to address the ongoing trauma caused by actions like the forced removal of children from their families. Those attending the morning tea enjoyed viewing Vote Yes, a short film about the 1967 Referendum and had a yarn with Young Canberra Citizen of the Year, Ms Dhani Gilbert, about her community work, aspirations and advocacy for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Reconciliation Action Plan – Keeping it Alive 2016-2018

Reconciliation – Keeping It Alive 2016-2018 articulates the Directorate’s commitment to Reconciliation, which is demonstrated through an individual’s ‘next most powerful step’. This requires reflecting upon Reconciliation, then determining and taking a personally meaningful action to support Reconciliation.

During National Reconciliation Week 2018 the Directorate produced the Talking about Reconciliation in the Workplace guidelines to support staff to actively engage with the theme Don’t Make History a Mystery and to encourage staff to take their next most powerful step through talking about Reconciliation in the workplace.

These guidelines were communicated to staff through the Director-General's Reconciliation Day and National Reconciliation Week message to all staff, published through the newly developed Directorate Intranet Reconciliation page and the Directorate’s Cultural Integrity in ACT Public Schools private Google Community page.

National Reconciliation Week is acknowledged and celebrated through the Directorate’s annual National Reconciliation Week program of events. In 2018 these events focused on introducing staff to yarning circles which have been used by Aboriginal people for thousands of years to discuss important issues in an inclusive and collaborative way.

Inner North Cluster Celebration

The annual Inner North Indigenous Cluster Celebration took place on Thursday 19 October 2017. It commenced with Elder Wally Bell providing the Welcome to Country. Activities included a dance and singing performance, boomerang design workshop, yarn stick sculptures, bush tucker yarns with Greening Australia rangers, drumming workshop, medicinal plant use explorations, ochre workshop and a beading workshop. The Australian Catholic University supported the event by funding the barbeque.

Narrabundah Koori Preschool students, families and staff attended for the first time as did students and staff from the Gungahlin cluster. It was a happy day full of exciting activities – cultural, sporting and culinary.

Buroinjin

Buroinjin is a traditional Aboriginal game played throughout the east coast of Australia. Buroinjin is a community game and each team consists of boys and girls playing together. The name Buroinjin is from the Kabi Kabi people of south Queensland. The game is similar to European Handball and the ball, called a Buroinjin, was traditionally made from animal skin, sown together with sinew and stuffed with grass.

On 13 and 14 March 2018, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Officers hosted the 2018 Primary and High School Buroinjin Carnivals at Deakin touch fields. This was the biggest turnout on record with 56 teams and about 780 students participating over the two days. The primary school day was a round robin day aimed at growing the game while the high school competition was more serious with a years 7/8 competition and a years 9/10 competition playing four round games before moving into knockout finals. Canberra High School won the years 7/8 competition and Stromlo High School won the years 9/10 competition.

Student Aspirations Years 5 and 6 Leadership Day

The 2017 Student Aspirations Years 5 and 6 Leadership Day was held at Birrigai Outdoor School on 29 November. 32 students from 15 schools attended the day.

Students participated in team building activities, such as the vertical playpen, which required cooperation between the two climbers in order to climb the structure together. Students also learned about native plants and their uses and visited significant Aboriginal sites located at Birrigai.

The purpose of the day is to develop the leadership skills of participating students, network with students and staff from different schools and build knowledge of local Aboriginal culture. The students can take this back to their schools and teach their peers what they have learnt as well as progress leadership in their own life.

Kickstart My Career Through Culture

Kickstart My Career Through Culture (Kickstart) is a joint initiative between the Environment, Planning and Sustainable Development Directorate (EPSD), the Education Directorate, the Community Services Directorate (CSD) and the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).

The program is currently delivered to students from ACT public schools with a focus on students from years 5 to 12. The aim of Kickstart is to increase engagement and/or re-engagement of students in schooling and includes career pathway development and access to further education options.

Kickstart delivered a competency based Vocational Learning Option (VLO) with CIT in Semester two, 2017. Nine students successfully completed two competencies in the certificate III in Conservation & Land Management course:

The program was delivered predominantly on country over 10 weeks to students in years 9 to 12. Students were given the opportunity to work with external agencies like Greening Australia, Parks and Conservation Rangers and Traditional Owners.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment

The Directorate's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan provides a pathway to link education, employment, choice and opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in the ACT, and articulates 35 initiatives relating to attraction, retention, capacity building and cultural competency. Initiatives include:

Figure B1.2: Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, 2014 to 2018

Figure showing the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander staff, 2014 to 2018
Source: ACT Education Directorate

National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy

The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) is an annual assessment for all Australian students in years 3, 5, 7 and 9. NAPLAN tests a student’s skill level in reading, writing, spelling, grammar, punctuation and numeracy.

In 2017, the ACT consistently had a higher proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students achieving at or above the National Minimum Standard (NMS) for both reading and numeracy compared with national results. For years 5 and 7 reading, the difference was greater than 10 percentage points.

In 2017, 87.5 percent of ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander year 7 students performed at or above the national minimum standard for reading which is significantly above the national figure for Indigenous students of 74.4 percent.

However, in the ACT, and across Australia, the mean scores for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students were significantly lower than the mean scores for non-Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students across all year levels and all testing domains.

The data below shows that from 2013 to 2017, there was no significant change in the NAPLAN performance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in ACT public schools in either reading or numeracy (Figures B1.3 -B1.6).

During 2018-19, the Directorate will be working to develop indicators to better measure equity and gain in student NAPLAN performance. The development of revised indicators will include consultation at the national level. The Future of Education conversation will also play an important role in developing new indicators.

Figure B1.3: Mean achievement score of Year 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public school students in reading in NAPLAN, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing the mean achievement score of Year 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public school students in reading in NAPLAN, 2013 to 2017
Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy 2013 to 2017

Figure B1.4: Mean achievement score of Year 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public school students in numeracy in NAPLAN, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing the mean achievement score of Year 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public school students in numeracy in NAPLAN, 2013 to 2017

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy 2013 to 2017

Figure B1.5: Mean achievement score of Year 9 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public school students in reading in NAPLAN, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing the mean achievement score of Year 9 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public school students in reading in NAPLAN, 2013 to 2017

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy 2013 to 2017

Figure B1.6: Mean achievement score of Year 9 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public school students in numeracy in NAPLAN, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing the mean achievement score of Year 9 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander public school students in numeracy in NAPLAN, 2013 to 2017

Source: Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy 2013 to 2017

Student Engagement and Retention

An indicator of student engagement is the retention of year 10 students in ACT public schools to year 11 in ACT public colleges. The percentage of year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who proceed to public secondary college education reports the total number of year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in public high schools, as at the August census, who enrolled in year 11 at ACT public colleges as at the February census in the following year. The percentage of year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who proceeded to public secondary education exceeded the target and remained relatively stable over the last five years (Figure B1.7).

Figure B1.7: Percentage of Year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who proceed to public secondary college education, 2013-14 to 2017-18

Figure showing the percentage of Year 10 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who proceed to public secondary college education, 2013-14 to 2017-18

Source: ACT Education Directorate

School Apprentices across ACT Government program

The Directorate continued to support the employment of Australian School Based Apprentices (ASBA) in ACT public schools. The School Apprentices across ACT Government program provided school students with the opportunity to work across ACT public schools and ACT Government agencies. Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) provided the off-the-job learning component of an ASBA through nationally recognised training.

In 2017-18, 19 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from ACT public schools commenced an ASBA.

Vocational Learning Options

Vocational Learning Options (VLOs) are curriculum enrichment programs that aim to strengthen student engagement with learning and career planning. VLOs help students develop a connection between their future study, training and work goals.

Delivered by industry experts in an authentic learning or work environment, VLOs provide an alternative learning experience for students whilst they attend ACT public high school and ACT public college. VLOs offered in 2017-18 included beauty therapy, community work, animal care, café essentials, electrotechnology, sports coaching, hairdressing and bricklaying. 16 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students participated in VLOs in semester two, 2017 and 12 in semester one, 2018.

Figure B1.8: Percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who received a nationally recognised vocational qualification, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who received a nationally recognised vocational qualification, 2013 to 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Year 12 Retention and Attainment

ACT colleges and high schools collaborate closely to provide relevant and timely orientation and transition programs.

Each high school and college have an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education contact teacher, a student services/support team and a pastoral care program.

In 2017, 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students achieved an ACT Senior Secondary Certificate, representing a year 12 completion rate of 60 percent (Figure B1.7).

Figure B1.9: Percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ACT public schools) attaining a Senior Secondary Certificate from 2013 to 2017.

Figure showing the percentage of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ACT public schools) attaining a Senior Secondary Certificate from 2013 to 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate

Of the 70 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who completed year 12 in 2017, 17 received a Tertiary Entrance Statement compared with 20 in 2016 and 17 students in 2015.

Figure B1.10: Percentage of Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who received a Tertiary Entrance Statement, 2013 to 2017

Figure showing the percentage of Year 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students who received a Tertiary Entrance Statement, 2013 to 2017

Source: ACT Education Directorate

The proportion of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people participating in employment and/or study six months after leaving school has been monitored for the last four years (2014-2017). This proportion has varied between 78 percent and 93 percent for year 12 graduates, and between 72 percent and 77 percent for school leavers.

Whilst the proportion has varied, particularly for year 12 graduates, the differences between years were not statistically significant due to the small number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people who completed the survey each year.

In general, these results were similar to the overall ACT results which have been consistently above 90 percent for year 12 graduates and above 70 percent for school leavers for the last four years.