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Our vision and values

The vision of the Directorate is that all children and young people in the ACT learn, thrive and are equipped with skills to lead fulfilling, productive and responsible lives. We deliver quality education in one of the highest performing education systems in the nation. This is reflected in the high level learning experiences provided for every student every day at our early childhood, primary and high schools, colleges and our specialist schools. The learning and teaching quality extends to the VET sector with our students achieving the best training outcomes in Australia.

Fulfilment of our vision is supported by our values of honesty, excellence, fairness and respect. Belief in these values is fundamental to ensuring our children and young people aspire to, and achieve, their potential. The Directorate promotes a connected and inclusive culture where everyone matters. The interconnected nature of our school system promotes our ability to positively influence the lives of young people in the ACT.

Box A1.1: World Education Games 2012

On Friday 16 February 2012, year 8 student Zoe Clark (pictured front row, third from left) was flown to Sydney to attend the World Education Games briefing day. Only nine students from across Australia were selected to represent each state and territory and be ambassadors during the World Education Games, which took place from 6 to 8 March 2012.

Zoe was selected to represent the ACT and Campbell High School due to her outstanding efforts in the Spellodrome Challenge Day late in 2011 and her exemplary application for the position.

Photo of Adam Spencer a popular public figure posing with Zoe Clark and other students from around Australia who were attending the World Education Games in Sydney. 

Our role

The Directorate provides services to children and young people both directly through public schools and indirectly through regulation of non-government schools and home education, and to people of all ages through the planning and coordination of vocational education and training in the ACT.

We focus on developing the capabilities of children and young people for citizenship, community engagement and successful labour market outcomes. Our programs ensure that young people are engaged in schooling and training for overall individual and social wellbeing.

The ACT public education system continued to expand. The February census collection for schools in 2012 noted 40,074 students attending 84 public schools (Table A1.1). This number included 1,890 students with special needs and 1,337 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The number of school leaders and teachers in 2012 increased to 4,100 in 2012. The 2012 Teachers' Enterprise Agreement introduced a number of incentives to attract, recruit and retain high performing teachers in ACT public schools.






Total students





Students with special needs





Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students





Source: ACT Education and Training Directorate, School Census February 2012

The Directorate has responsibility for 84 schools:

In addition to these public schools, educational facilities providing specialist programs to students include Birrigai Outdoor School and the Murrumbidgee Education and Training Centre.

Finally, the instrumental Music Program provided tuition across public schools and supported the Directorate's concert band and ensemble programs.

Our structure

The Directorate is structured around four divisions, namely: Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement; Strategy and Coordination; Tertiary Education and Performance; and Corporate Services.

The Directorate underwent change in the senior executive team in 2012 with the departure of Dr Watterston from the Director-General position on 4 April. Ms Diane Joseph became the Director-General.

Photo of executive members of the Education and Training Directorate including Diane Joseph Director-General, Ms Leanne Cover Deputy Director-General as well as Ms Jayne Johnston, Mr Mark Whybrow and Mr Stephen Gniel.

The Director-General, the Deputy Director-General (Ms Leanne Cover) and three Executive Directors (Ms Jayne Johnston, Mr Mark Whybrow and Mr Stephen Gniel) form the Senior Executive Team.

The Learning, Teaching and Student Engagement Division comprises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Student Engagement and Learning and Teaching Branches. The major responsibilities of the Division are:

The Strategy and Coordination Division includes the Information, Communications and Governance Branch and the Office for Schools. The major responsibilities of the Division are:

and, through the Office for Schools:

The Tertiary Education and Performance Division includes the branches of Planning and Performance and Training, and Tertiary Education. The primary responsibilities of the Division are:

Finance and Corporate Support, Human Resources, and Schools Capital Works are three branches in the Corporate Services Division. The primary responsibilities of the Division are:

Box A1.2: Farewell to former Director-General Dr Jim Watterston

The Directorate said farewell to Dr Jim Watterston on Wednesday 4 April 2012 at the Hedley Beare Centre for Teaching and Learning. Dr Watterston moved to the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development as Deputy Secretary of School Education.

Since joining the Directorate in July 2009, Dr Watterston made an invaluable contribution to education and training across the ACT, including shaping the Directorate's school support systems, with a greater focus on collaboration and teamwork through the introduction of the School Network Model.

Photo of farewell address by Dr Jim Watterston the previous Director-General of the Education and Training Directorate. 

Our clients and stakeholders

We know that collaborative partnerships with our clients and stakeholders are instrumental to improving learning and teaching outcomes for children and young people. Views and involvement of our clients are vital to the achievement of our vision. Our clients include over 67,000 school students, approximately 30,000 VET learners and their families.

Our links with the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community and the non-government education sector are critical to enhance outcomes for all students and young people in the ACT.

The Directorate engaged with clients and stakeholders through a number of regular meetings with groups such as: ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations, the Australian Education Union, the ACT Principals' Association, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Consultative Group and the Disability Education Reference Group. There was also a strong commitment to community engagement as reflected in consultation on the development and refurbishment of a number of new and existing schools.

The Training and Tertiary Education Forum, the Government Schools Education Council, the Non-government Schools Education Council and the Learning Capital Council provide opportunities for stakeholders to participate in the formulation of education policy or provide input to specific initiatives.