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Our vision and values

Our vision 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 aim to deliver the highest quality education through the best education system in the nation. This ambition relates to all phases of education, beginning with our early childhood and primary schools, our high schools, colleges and specialist schools for students with disabilities, and through to the ACT tertiary sector.

We strive for excellence so that children and families can choose the ACT public school system, based firmly on the quality of educational experience the programs offer and the opportunities for students to excel. We value honesty, excellence, fairness and respect. We believe that by embracing and demonstrating these values, we will provide the best schooling environment – an environment that will allow each and every child and young person to achieve their best and contribute to society.

Our role

Our role is to provide early intervention education programs; public school education at preschool, primary school, high school and senior secondary college levels; registration of non-government schools and home education; and the planning and coordination of vocational education and training.

Table A1.1 shows an increase in the total number of students from 2009 to 2011. There was growth in the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and students with special needs over the same period. To maintain learning and teaching quality in public schools, the Directorate increased employment of school leaders and teachers. The number of school leaders and teachers increased to 3,990 in 2010-11 from 3,923 in 2009-10.

Table A1.1: Enrolments in ACT public schools, 2009 to 2011





Total students




Students with special needs




Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students




Source: School Census February 2011, ACT Directorate of Education and Training

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians 2008 recognised that successful completion of schooling has a profound influence on the economic wellbeing of young people. School completion and higher levels of educational attainment are linked to greater employment opportunities, economic and social prosperity, better health, reduced levels of obesity and longer life expectancy. Young people who do not complete school tend to be significantly disadvantaged, with increased likelihood of unemployment, greater risk of offending behaviour, greater susceptibility to the influences of drug and alcohol misuse, homelessness, anti-social behaviour and lower life-long income.

We recognise that our role includes developing the capabilities of children and young people for citizenship, community engagement and intellectual understanding. The challenge, which we readily embrace, is to ensure that every young person remains positively engaged in schooling and has access to productive learning pathways for overall individual and social wellbeing.

Our structure

Following the ACT Government's acceptance of recommendations from the Hawke Review, the Education and Training Directorate came into effect on 17 May 2011. The Directorate is headed by the Director-General, Dr Jim Watterston who together with the Deputy Director-General (Ms Diane Joseph) and three Executive Directors (Mr Phillip Tardif, Ms Jayne Johnston and Ms Leanne Cover) form the Senior Executive Team.

There are four divisions in the Directorate, namely School Improvement; Strategy and Coordination; Corporate Services; and Tertiary and International Education. The roles and responsibilities associated with each division are listed in Table A1.2.

Table A1.2: The structure of Directorate divisions




School Improvement

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education and Student Support
  • Learning and Teaching
  • School Network Belconnen
  • School Network North/Gungahlin
  • School Network South/Weston
  • School Network Tuggeranong
  • Bridging the achievement gap between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and all students
  • Building the capacity of schools and providing targeted support to meet the needs of students with disabilities
  • Building the cultural competency of the Directorate
  • Supporting curriculum implementation
  • Improving teacher quality and leadership capacity
  • Delivering early childhood learning and development services to schools
  • Ensuring services and programs are delivered through an integrated and comprehensive approach across school networks
  • Enhancing accountability, increasing availability and data usage
  • Building the capacity of teachers

Strategy and Coordination

  • Information, Communications and Governance
  • Planning and Performance
  • Gathering, interpreting and assessing data
  • Reporting performance of the organisation
  • Responding to the national reform agenda
  • Maintaining effective and strategic relationships with the Council of Australian Governments
  • Working with other ACT agencies to ensure Canberra's social planning includes an educational focus
  • Overseeing the Directorate's overall information strategy
  • Managing effective communications within the Directorate, as well as with government, the community and media
  • Overseeing processes relating to legal matters and risk management
  • Managing records




Corporate Services

  • Finance and Corporate Support
  • Human Resources
  • Schools Capital Works
  • Implementing budget and financial arrangements
  • Organising recruitment and staffing of the teaching workforce
  • Coordinating Teacher Quality National Partnership reforms
  • Collecting and analysing workforce data
  • Implementing workplace health and safety improvement strategy
  • Managing industrial relations
  • Developing and implementing all workplace agreements
Tertiary and International Education
  • Training and Tertiary Education
  • Managing vocational education and training
  • Managing career and transition support
  • Organising welfare and support of overseas fee-paying students

Source: Planning and Performance Branch

Our clients and stakeholders

We believe that everyone matters and the views and involvement of our clients are critical to the achievement of our vision. Our clients include over 60,000 school students and 20,000 vocational education and training learners in the ACT, and their families and carers whom we interact with on a daily basis.

We know that improved learning and teaching outcomes for children and young people are supported by establishing partnerships and proactively and productively engaging with parents, industry and the broader community.

School environments are enriched by the involvement of community associations, professional organisations, health care and early learning providers, and the rich resource of volunteers. Our links with the community extend more broadly to engagement with the ACT Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community, community organisations that make use of school facilities and our colleagues in the non-government education system.

The Directorate continues to engage with clients and stakeholders. This includes regular meetings with key stakeholder groups, such as the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations, the Australian Education Union and the ACT Principals' Association. Another is the process of community consultation, which allows all stakeholders to have a say on issues of importance to them. This included consultation on the review into special education.

With the release of Excellence and Enterprise: Advancing Public Schools of Distinction which included ideas from students, school staff, parents, community members and stakeholder groups, we now have a clear way forward for further improving secondary schooling and creating tailored and meaningful student pathways and transitions. The Directorate recognises and continues to encourage the contribution of the tertiary sector, training organisations, employer associations and the myriad of national working parties and expert advisory bodies.

Achievement of our strategic priorities requires productive relationships with stakeholders. The National Education Agreement emphasises the importance of productive client-based relationships. The Directorate delivered important elements of the education revolution by building effective partnerships with a host of contracted service providers. Together, we have refreshed, refurbished and rejuvenated educational infrastructure to support learning and teaching and improve student access to state-of-the-art educational facilities and learning environments.

We aim to provide clients and stakeholders with dependable educational services and accurate advice. This acknowledges the critical role we play in providing information and data in supporting the work of the media, research institutions, universities and Commonwealth agencies with independent charters to raise the standard of educational outcomes.

We maintain effective relationships with our employees and their representatives, so that together we can establish high performing work cultures which are recognised as satisfying and rewarding. We know that in order to be a responsive, innovative and high achieving organisation that delivers on its commitments, we must invest in our staff and current and future leaders.