Priority 3 - High Expectations, High Performance

Photo of primary school student constructing and operating spacecraft from Lego materials and electronic device

Our Major
Achievements
in 2014-15

  • Placement of Chinese, Japanese and Indonesian Language Assistants supported delivery of high quality language education programs.
  • The ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy and accompanying suite of 17 fact sheets was launched as a key action under the ACT Government's Healthy Weight Action Plan.
  • The Gungahlin Primary Introductory English Centre (IEC) at Palmerston District Primary School and Tuggeranong Primary IEC at Wanniassa Hills Primary School were opened.
Results
  • 89% of public school year 12 graduates employed or studying after leaving school.
  • ACT students performed strongly in NAPLAN.

Our
Challenges
in 2014-15

  •  Supporting the transition of students in primary, high school and college to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Our Major Achievements

The Directorate expects that every student will learn, thrive and be equipped with the skills and attitudes to lead fulfilling, productive and responsible lives.

  • The ACT has achieved strong performance across the system, as demonstrated by NAPLAN results. The ACT ranked first in the nation, or equal top with New South Wales and Victoria for 19 of the 20 areas tested in 2014. ACT mean scores showed significant improvement for year 3 reading and grammar and punctuation, and year 5 reading, spelling and numeracy, when compared with the 2008 results.
  • Recognising and meeting the learning needs of gifted and talented students was the focus of the Gifted and Talented Students Policy 2014. Professional learning workshops for teachers, advice on evidence based practice for teachers and regular school newsletter advice for parents was delivered through specialist consultants, Gateways Education.
  • The Student Aspirations Program supported Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students showing strong academic and leadership qualities. A range of activities were facilitated by coordinators. These included an introduction to regional university options with a visit in September 2014 by year 10, 11 and 12 students to the Education and Nursing Faculty located on the Dubbo campus of Charles Sturt University.
  • Twenty-five Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students participated in the Student Aspirations year 5 and 6 Leadership Day held at Birrigai on 12 December 2014. Students participated in cultural workshops and team building activities. Two 2014 Secondary Student Scholarship recipients attended the Leadership Day to act as mentors to the younger students.
  • Six students were recipients of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Secondary Scholarships for 2015. Four students received the scholarship for teaching and two for health studies. The successful recipients will participate in leadership roles at their school or through participation in Student Aspirations activities.
  • Building on the recent addition of eBooks for all ACT Public Schools, the implementation of the Learn Anywhere program provided students with access to world leading cloud-based learning platforms Google Apps for Education and Microsoft Office 365. This enabled our students to learn, create, communicate and collaborate from anywhere, anytime on their device of choice.
  • The completion of the SchoolsNET wireless expansion project provided all secondary ACT public school students with secure and reliable wireless access on their own personal device, connected to the highest speed broadband internet in Australia.
  • Four primary schools were selected to participate in the 2015 Artists-in-Schools Program, managed by artsACT in partnership with the Directorate. This program provided opportunities for students to develop skills and an understanding of artistic thinking and process.
  • The ACT Public School Food and Drink Policy and accompanying suite of 17 fact sheets was launched in February 2015 as a key action under the ACT Government's Healthy Weight Action Plan. The new policy supports the provision of healthy food and drink choices in the school environment.
  • Outstanding sporting achievement during 2014 was recognised at the Excellence in School Sport Awards held on 21 November 2014 with award winners including students from Kaleen Primary School, Telopea Park School, Campbell High School and Alfred Deakin High School.
  • In March 2015 the Minister for Education and Training launched the English as an Additional Language or Dialect Fact Sheets, developed in collaboration with Dr Misty Adoniou, Senior Lecturer in Literacy, Language and TESL at the University of Canberra. The fact sheets identified best practice strategies for classroom teachers and provided advice for parents. The fact sheets were supported by targeted professional learning sessions.
  • In March 2015, the Gungahlin Primary Introductory English Centre (IEC) at Palmerston District Primary School was opened to cater for the growing needs of the Gungahlin community. IECs provide new English learners with intensive English language learning and support students to transition into mainstream schooling. New facilities to support students at the Tuggeranong Primary IEC located at Wanniassa Hills Primary School were opened in April 2015.
  • The Directorate's Final Report on the Taskforce on Students with Learning Difficulties was provided to the Minister for Education and Training in April 2015. Key achievements included: parent/carer workshops and the delivery of professional learning for teachers, learning support assistants and principals.
  • The Directorate supported parents and families during the transition of early intervention services to the NDIS from the commencement of the 2015 school year.
  • Improved access to vocational education and training for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders through the commencement of the Skilled Capital training initiative. From its opening in February 2015 until 30 June 2015, there were 55 enrolments from students who identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander.
  • In May 2015, the Directorate signed a Service Agreement with Royal Life Saving Society Australia ACT Branch to deliver the Aqua Safe Water Safety and Awareness Program for all year 2 public school students over the period 2015 to 2017. The program aligns with the Safe Waters ACT Action Plan and includes provision of 10 practical pool based lessons delivered by Royal Life Saving Society ACT and a five-lesson teacher resource.

Photo of primary school student constructing and operating spacecraft from Lego materials and electronic device

Our Challenges

  • The Directorate supported the transition of early intervention services to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. Children enrolled in the Directorate's early intervention programs and their families were supported to transition to non-government service providers. Support included extensive communication with families, an Early Intervention Open Day, information sessions in collaboration with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), and access to a dedicated Transition Liaison Officer.
  • The Directorate undertook extensive liaison with parents and the NDIA to ensure that National Disability Insurance Scheme funded supports (such as special needs transport and personal care in schools) were reflected in students' packages.
  • An audit of all attendance records and records management procedures at ten schools was completed. The auditor provided each school with feedback and a report was provided to the Directorate. Each school analysed data and implemented ongoing strategies to address attendance issues identified by the audit.
  • The Directorate continued to focus on improving attendance for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
  • While our students continued to perform highly compared with their international counterparts, the performance of ACT students declined in 2012 compared with previous PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) tests. Performance data will be utilised to build capability of teachers on literacy, numeracy and science strategies.

Our Plans for the Next 12 Months

  • Implement the first stage of the new Student Resource Allocation model for funding public schools. The model will enable a focus on funding to schools based on student need.
  • Continue to work to support schools in the implementation of the Gifted and Talented Students Policy.
  • Strengthen school-based annual plans to ensure progress is made for every child, every day.
  • Support the transition of students in primary, high school and college to the National Disability Insurance Scheme. This will include input to the National Disability Insurance Scheme policy on education matters.
  • Plan for the provision of therapy support within schools.
  • Support the development of a new Child Development Service for vulnerable children at risk of developmental delay.
  • Support schools to conduct Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education Action Inquiry projects with a specific focus on improving attendance rates.
  • Expand the delivery of Flexible Learning Options for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.
  • The 2015-16 Learning Difficulties Transition Plan will be implemented to further embed best practice on supporting students with learning difficulties.
  • Conduct research to identify barriers to accessing and successfully completing training for equity groups such as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
  • Review the implementation of the Australian Curriculum.
  • Receive advice from an expert panel on best practice responses to students with complex needs and challenging behaviours in ACT schools.

Photo of primary school students with Harmony Day poster and Photo of teachers, students and families at opening of CCCares

Fast Facts 2013-14 2014-15 Change % Change
Number of students enrolled in specialist schools 440 374 -66 -15.0%
Number of children attending Koori preschool programs 72 79 7 9.7%
Number of students enrolled in Introductory English Centres 288 227 -61 -21.2%
Number of international students in public schools 522 588 66 12.6%
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
participating in the Student Aspirations program
164 170 6 3.7%
Number of school leavers completing the post-school destination survey 3,298 2,925 -373 -11.3%
Number of students completing the School Satisfaction Survey 14,295 13,748 -547 -3.8%