Priority 4 - Connecting with Families and the Community

Photo of mothers and daughters at Fraser Primary School 'Paddock to Plate' meal

Our Major
Achievements
in 2014-15

  • In 2014, work experience was coordinated for a total of 3,306 work experience placements for students in public high schools, colleges and specialist schools.
  • An Advice for Parents fact sheet for parents of students with English as an Additional Language or Dialect background, which included parent strategies for working with schools to support children's educational needs, was launched.
  • Recipients of the 2015 ACT Chief Minister's ANZAC Spirit Prize attended the centenary commemorations at Gallipoli.
  • Sponsorship for the Indigenous Showcase at the 2015 Multicultural Festival and the 2014 Harold 'Crowe' Williams Memorial Knockout competition was provided.
 Results
  • Preschool enrolments in public schools increased by 6%.
  • 85% of parents and carers satisfied with public school education.

Our
Challenges
in 2014-15

  • Ensuring that every student leaves the ACT education system with career certainty; that they are equipped with the tools to effectively choose a career path in an ever-changing world of work.

Our Major Achievements

The Directorate developed strong and effective partnerships between schools and families through the development of a range of strategies and activities.

  • As part of the Progressing Parental Engagement in the ACT project, the definition and support materials were launched in February 2015. The support materials help families and schools better understand parental engagement: why it matters, how it works and how it is best achieved.
  • Stories of parental engagement were regularly posted on the Directorate's website to generate discussions on the role and importance of developing strong and effective partnerships between schools and families.
  • In 2014, the Directorate's work experience program, in partnership with business and the community, coordinated a total of 3,306 work experience placements for students in public high schools, colleges and specialist schools.
  • The March 2015 launch of an Advice for Parents fact sheet for parents of students from English as an Additional Language or Dialect backgrounds provided parents with strategies for working with schools to support their children's educational needs. The fact sheet was translated into 12 high-population and newly-emerging languages: Arabic, Burmese, Cantonese, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Karen, Korean, Mandarin, Mon, Urdu and Vietnamese.
  • Communication to families and the community about the successes and positives of ACT public schools was increased with the establishment of a Directorate webpage highlighting the successes of students, teachers, principals and schools.
  • The Learn Anywhere program included the release of the Directorate's Bring Your Own Personal Device to School Policy, and cloud learning platform - Google Apps for Education. Between January and June 2015, 65 schools engaged in partnership with their parents and communities to support local ICT adoption at their school. Engagements have included many parent information forums and opportunities for students to demonstrate their use of our new ICT services and capabilities on personal wireless devices.
  • Step into the Limelight, the creative and performing arts showcase of public schools, was held in August 2014. The Gala Performance was held over two nights, together with an art exhibition and film festival. Students from more than 70 schools worked closely with professional artists, tertiary institutions and arts organisations to develop the program.
  • The annual event, Bandstravaganza was held at the ANU School of Music, with performances attracting an audience of over 950 people.
  • Sponsorship for the Indigenous Showcase at the 2015 Multicultural Festival and the 2014 Harold 'Crowe' Williams Memorial Knockout competition was provided by the Directorate.
  • Funding was allocated to ten organisations in January 2015, to deliver 14 projects under the 2015 ACT Adult Community Education (ACE) Grants Program. The Program supports quality adult and community learning opportunities and provides pathways to further education and work.
  • Regular communication and collaboration between vocational education and training stakeholders occurred through the ACT Vocational Education and Training Think Tank, an ACT Industry Round Table and the Training and Tertiary Education Quarterly Stakeholder Forums.
  • A listing of public school facilities available for community use was made available on the Directorate's website, with site specific lists included on relevant individual school websites.
  • The Directorate facilitated the 2015 ACT Chief Minister's ANZAC Spirit Prize, awarded to four year 9 and 10 students attending ACT schools. Two teachers accompanied the winning students on a Study Tour to Turkey in April 2015, including commemorations at the Gallipoli Peninsula on the Centenary of ANZAC Day and visits to other significant sites.
  • Three award winners from the ACT Training Excellence Awards went on to win their national categories at the 2014 Australian Training Awards. National award winners from the ACT were Ms Sally Moylan, Ms Eylish Perry and Just Better Care Canberra.

Photo of students and parents at Walking School Bus

Our Challenges

  • To ensure that every student leaves the ACT education system with career certainty and that they are equipped with the tools to effectively choose a career path in an ever-changing world of work.
  • Working with school communities to ensure decisions provide optimum environments for student achievement.

Our Plans for the Next 12 Months

  • Continue to enhance opportunities for regular communication and collaboration between vocational education and training stakeholders, and to collaborate with industry to share and gather evidence to inform skills and training policy.
  • Work will commence on a policy framework review to support the development of policies covering reduction of red tape, Directorate governance responsibilities and school decision-making in a devolved environment.
  • Establish agreements with the new Australian Apprenticeships Support Network providers to ensure seamless support for Australian Apprentices in the ACT.
  • In partnership with the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Young People (ARACY) finalise the development of survey tool items to measure and monitor parental engagement in public schools.

Photo of students and parents at school movie night

Fast Facts 2013-14 2014-15 Change % Change
Number of online enrolments received 12,034 18,183 6,149 51.1%
Number of Facebook followers 1,102 1,603 501 45.5%
Number of Twitter followers 1,460 2,036 576 39.5%
Number of parents and carers completing the School Satisfaction Survey 7,639 7,444 -195 -2.6%

'Right Here Right Now' - Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

In November 2014 Turner Primary School was the focus as the ACT Children & Young People Commissioner, Mr Alasdair Roy and the Minister for Children and Young People, Mr Mick Gentleman MLA, launched an art project for ACT schools entitled' 'Right Here Right Now'. The project was developed by the Commissioner to highlight the importance of children and young people as active participants contributing to the Canberra community and to commemorate the 25th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Students were invited to create a self-portrait in one of the rainbow spectrum of colours, and to write a message on the portrait about why it is important for adults to listen to children and young people. The self-portraits and messages were then assembled by school students into a large scale, interactive public artwork, and placed outside the ACT Legislative Assembly during Youth Week, 10-19 April, 2015.

Turner Primary School students (left above) participating in the launch of the ''Right Here Right Now' project with keen observers, Mr Alasdair Roy, ACT Children and Young People Commissioner, Ms Sally Visser-Marchant teacher (Art) Turner School and Mr Mick Gentleman, MLA Minister for Children and Young People, and (right above) the students displaying their work.
Photo of Black Mountain School art works. Turner Primary School students (left above) participating in the launch of the  Right Here Right Now project with keen observers, Mr Alasdair Roy, ACT Children and Young People Commissioner, Ms Sally Visser-Marchant teacher (Art) Turner School and Mr Mick Gentleman, MLA Minister for Children and Young People, and (right above) the students displaying their work.
Turner Primary School students (left above) participating in the launch of the Right Here Right Now project with keen observers, Mr Alasdair Roy, ACT Children and Young People Commissioner, Ms Sally Visser-Marchant teacher (Art) Turner School and Mr Mick Gentleman, MLA Minister for Children and Young People, and (right above) the students displaying their work.