Achieving successful outcomes and helping children and young people reach their full potential will remain the key drivers for our operations in 2012-13.
Our Strategic Plan 2010-2013: Everyone matters provides the vision for our work. It articulates our four focus areas: Learning and Teaching; School Environment; Student Pathways and Transitions; and Leadership and Corporate Development, and the priorities that underpin these areas.
The Directorate will undertake a range of activities in each of these areas during 2012-13.
Learning and teaching
- Continue the implementation of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Matters: Strategic Plan 2010-2013.
- Complete the full implementation of all four learning areas of Phase 1 of the Australian Curriculum from kindergarten to year 10 for the 2013 school year.
- Continue to participate in the development of Phases 2 and 3 of the Australian Curriculum.
- Plan the implementation of the Australian Curriculum in years 11 and 12 in consultation with ACARA and the ACT Board of Senior Secondary Studies.
- Provide high quality professional development to teachers to improve learning outcomes.
- Measure and report on literacy and numeracy achievement in all public schools and provide targeted support to meet identified NAPLAN targets.
- Finalise the rollout of 15 hours of preschool education at additional public preschool units.
- Continue the implementation of the Excellence in Disability Education in ACT Public Schools: Strategic Plan 2010-2013.
- Involve school communities in creating safe and supportive learning environments for all students, staff, volunteers, parents and visitors.
- Improve buildings and other infrastructure at public schools to provide a safe and engaging learning environment.
- Promote environmental sustainability in public schools to achieve carbon neutrality by 2017.
- Continue the implementation of the virtual learning environment: Connected Learning Communities.
- Develop a Student Engagement Framework to enhance the engagement of all students.Complete construction of Bonner Primary and Franklin Early Childhood Schools for the 2013 school year.
Box A4.1: Franklin Early Childhood School
Progress has been made on the construction of Franklin Early Childhood School for children from birth to eight years of age. The school includes a 120 place childcare centre and will accommodate 300 preschool to year 2 students.
The school is due to open in 2013.
Student pathways and transitions
- Continue implementing the Excellence and Enterprise framework with a focus on implementing programs funded by the Secondary Schooling Innovation Fund.
- Implement reform of tertiary education in the context of national and ACT reform agendas.
- Continue to implement structural reforms in the administration and coordination of the Directorate's VET sector business processes and systems.
- Collaborate with the Australian Government in planning and implementing national reforms in skills development.
- Improve access to career education in public schools.
- Develop strategies to increase student attendance rates to ensure all young people are fully engaged in learning.
- Support successful transitions for all students.
Leadership and corporate development
- Extend implementation of the Empowering Local Schools initiative to more public schools.
- Implement the School Leadership Strategy to ensure strong and sustainable leadership in public schools.
- Promote and share best practice in leadership, teaching and learning across networks and schools.
- Continue to provide Respectful Workplaces training to all staff.
- Implement the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Employment Action Plan.
Likely trends and changes in the operating environment
In 2012-13, and the years that follow, the delivery of services by the Directorate will continue to be impacted by the growth in the population in the ACT, particularly by the rate of growth in the population aged under 20 years old. Population growth in the ACT to 31 December 2011 was 1.8 percent, well above the national growth rate of 1.4 percent.
Population growth and distribution in the ACT requires consideration to ensure education services are delivered where they are needed. Traditionally, greenfields housing developments, such as Molonglo and Gungahlin, have made up the majority of new development in the ACT. In coming years the proportion of urban infill developments will increase. This may increase enrolment pressure on some ACT public schools.
The Directorate has an ambitious program for 2012-13. In addition, the ACT 2012-13 Budget identified savings as part of the whole of government initiative. The Directorate is confident that through the management team and planning processes a workplan will be achieved within budget and consistent with previous years' performances.
Student engagement with technology has increased over recent years, and this trend will continue in the future. ACT public school teachers will continue to be recognised as the largest users of national digital curriculum content.
The Directorate is increasingly adopting various social media to connect with students and the community. Examples include schools establishing Facebook and Twitter presences to more effectively manage information delivery from schools to local communities.
Box A4.2: Gungahlin College named Microsoft Innovative Pilot School 2012
The Directorate hosted the national Microsoft Partners in Learning for Schools Forum at the INSPIRE Centre. School leaders and teachers from each state and territory from across Australia met for two days to foster collaboration and learning among schools. Gungahlin College was chosen as the ACT's pilot school for 2012 to help teachers and school leaders use technology in teaching and learning more effectively. Gungahlin College joined 19 other Australian schools in the Microsoft Partners in Learning for Schools Pilot Program to develop the best methods for incorporating technology into their classrooms.
Assessment of significant risks and issues facing the Directorate in the future
The Directorate remains committed to the comprehensive Council of Australian Government's (COAG) reform agenda. From 2012-13 the Directorate will be involved in more than 20 partnerships with the Australian Government to improve educational and training outcomes for ACT students. The partnerships include work in early childhood, literacy and numeracy, teacher quality, skills development, disability and school empowerment reforms. The pace of reform is likely to increase as new partnerships are implemented, across some of the more challenging reform areas. The Directorate has identified strategies to mitigate the risks particular to each COAG reform.
The Directorate is currently working with the Australian Government, other state and territory governments and the independent and Catholic school sectors in the development of a new national school funding model. The aim of the new school funding model is to ensure that Australian students perform in the top five countries in the world by 2025. This will be achieved by every school getting the funding it needs for every student.
There is an increasing demand for the integration of ICT systems as part of education programs. The compatibility of ICT systems, and anticipating advances in technology and future demands must be considered in the assessment of system updates. It is the role of the Directorate's ICT Committee to develop strategic change management policies to mitigate this risk.
The ongoing attraction and retention of high quality staff and the provision of a safe, inclusive and productive workplace needs to be a focus in the context of the contemporary labour market and changes to the ACT Public Service.
In March 2011 the ACT Government announced changes to the structure of the ACT Public Service. An aim of the changes was to foster greater coordination, cohesion and alignment of effort by ACT public servants. In June 2012 the ACT Public Service values and behaviours were launched. The values were respect, integrity, collaboration and innovation. They were supported by 10 signature behaviours, to provide an indication of what the values would look like in practice.
The Directorate's values aligned closely with the ACT Public Service values. During 2012-13, the Directorate will continue work to further align and embed the new ACT Public Service values. This work will be undertaken in conjunction with continued respect, equity and diversity training, and will ensure consistency of behaviours and expression of the values right across the Directorate. This work will be particularly important in the context of the empowering local schools initiative, to ensure that principals and school staff are adequately supported.