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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

School environment

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.

Aerial photo of the construction of Franklin Early Childhood School for children from birth to eight years of age

Student pathways and transitions

Leadership and corporate development

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.

Photo of Gai Beecher Principal of Gungahlin College receiving an award from Microsoft Partners in Learning for Schools Pilot Program along with two other dignitaries.

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.