PRIORITY 1: QUALITY LEARNING

Photo taken at the launch of the Mandarin Blueprint, showing two girls writing with calligraphy pens.

Back to B.1 Organisational Overview

OUR MAJOR ACHIEVEMENTS

Over a number of years, ACT Public Schools have maintained high levels of student performance in literacy and numeracy. In this reporting period, the Directorate has contributed to the future success of our students through a number of activities designed to support high quality learning.

CURRICULUM, ASSESSMENT AND REPORTING

  • Continued implementation of the Australian Curriculum, with ACT Public Schools delivering Australian Curriculum English, Mathematics, Science, The Arts and Humanities, and Social Sciences (History and Geography). The Achievement Standards were used to inform assessment practices and the reporting of student achievement in these learning areas. In particular, key steps were taken towards increasing the consistency of reporting to parents- will be extended into the future.
  • Facilitated workshops for school leaders and teachers to prepare for implementation of the Australian Curriculum Technologies in 2017.
  • A three year Service Agreement was signed with the ACT School Sports Council for the ongoing coordination and management of ACT students’ participation in local and national representative sport competitions.

LITERACY, NUMERACY AND SCIENCE

  • The Principals as Literacy Leaders (PALLs) program was expanded in 2015 to include ACT Public Secondary Schools with a total of 67 primary and secondary schools participating. The impact of innovations as a result of each school’s participation in PALLs will continue to be evident in the literacy practices in schools throughout 2016.
  • More than 19,500 students from a total of 83 ACT schools successfully completed the 2015 Chief Minister’s Reading Challenge. In 2016, more than 31,000 students from 89 public, non-government, home and community language schools registered for the Challenge and making 2016 the most successful Challenge to date.
  • Schools have invested in evidence-based pedagogy and quality school-based professional learning, particularly through coaching and mentoring.
  • Schools have also invested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) learning with highlights including specialist science centres in some primary schools and numerous rich STEM fairs showcasing rich evidence of student learning to parents and the broader community.
  • The Directorate’s key numeracy initiatives, Middle Years Mental Computation (MYMC) and Count Me In Too (CMIT), continued to be implemented across ACT Public Schools, to support students’ quality learning of numeracy.
  • Quality learning for numeracy was supported through the Literacy and Numeracy Forums, with a specific focus on improving student outcomes in Mathematics through mental computation, differentiation, financial literacy, data and numeracy coaching, and whole school approaches to teaching mathematics.
  • Partnered with a range of national industry and research organisations to deliver programs to support the delivery of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational initiatives for public school students, including the CSIRO Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools program, the Australian National University (ANU) School Enrichment program, and Questacon’s Ian Potter Foundation Technology Centre.
  • In 2015, teachers from 14 ACT high schools attended Science by Doing professional learning workshops conducted by the Australian Academy of Science, aimed at developing participants’ skills in planning and teaching science to secondary school students.

Photo of two college students, a boy and a girl, working together at a laptop computer

EARLY YEARS EDUCATION AND CARE SERVICES

  • Our investment in Early Childhood Schools and Koori Preschools - culminating in an evaluation of these programs with a view to maximising the benefits realised from these programs, and in response to the Auditor-General’s Report on Early Childhood and Schooling.
  • Drawing on the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) data and Performance Indicators in Primary Schools (PIPS) data to ensure that early learning programs are well-informed by student strengths and areas of need.
  • Commenced a partnership with the Community Services Directorate to implement the Koori Preschool Network Initiative. The project facilitates increased participation in the Koori Preschool program, enhances family engagement, and supports transitions to formal schooling for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
  • Facilitated quarterly Teacher Quality Institute-accredited professional development for preschool educators to support delivery of quality teaching aligned with the national Early Years Learning Framework. Approximately 100 participants attended these sessions each term.
  • Early Intervention and Prevention project team in the Community Services Directorate distributed the Australian Early Development Census (AEDC) School Summary to each ACT Public School principal.
  • In 2016, the Early Intervention and Prevention project team met with ACT Public Schools individually to discuss how to interpret and respond to their school’s results.
  • Facilitated community regional forums for the ACT Public, Catholic and Independent School sectors in partnership with Child and Family Centres and local community services. The forums provided an opportunity for schools to better understand their school summary AEDC results, how they can be used to inform school planning and what support services are available to reduce developmental vulnerability.

Photo of six college students doing ballet during a dance lesson

VOCATIONAL EDUCATION AND TRAINING

  • Continued implementation of the seven future directions outlined in the Review of Vocational Education and Training in ACT Public Schools.
  • Developed and published a new vision for vocational education and training (VET) for ACT secondary school students after collaboration between the public, Catholic and Independent school sectors; parent and student groups; and with business and industry.
  • Sixty percent of year 12 students in ACT public colleges received a nationally recognised vocational qualification.
  • Promoted and supported participation in post-school education and training.
  • The ACT met all 2015 milestones under the National Partnership Agreement on Skills Reform.
  • Engaged more than 2,000 ACT students in Skilled Capital funded training to address the ACT’s highest skills needs.
  • Reviewed the ACT Australian Apprenticeships Program (User Choice) and implemented a new model.
  • Released the new ACT Funding Agreement for the delivery of government subsidised training in the ACT, designed to ensure only quality training providers operate in the ACT.
  • Implemented evidence-based strategies to improve the ACT vocational education and training system.
  • Worked with registered training organisations to support compliance with the ACT Standards for the Delivery of Training and Compliance Guides for ACT Government subsidised training initiatives.
  • Commenced implementation of a longitudinal labour market survey for the ACT’s Skilled Capital and User Choice programs.

OUR CHALLENGES

  • To prioritise school-wide analysis and discussion of systemically collected data on student outcomes, including academic, attendance and student well-being.
  • Enhancing student learning outcomes by prioritising learning experiences that are accessible, engaging and challenging for all students.
  • Working collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure ACT secondary students access relevant, nationally recognised VET qualifications that strengthen their pathways to further education and employment.

OUR PLANS FOR THE NEXT 12 MONTHS

  • Continue partnerships with specialist organisations to support the delivery of high quality professional learning in specific teaching areas such as literacy, numeracy and Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
  • An explicit focus on numeracy professional learning - using the proven models of coaching, models and principals taking the lead.
  • Respond to the evaluation of the Early Childhood Schools and the Koori Preschool programs, and implement the recommendations arising from the review into Early Childhood Education and Care.
  • Evaluate implementation of the F-10 Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards.
  • Finalise implementation of future directions for VET for secondary students. Belconnen, North/Gungahlin and South/Weston school networks will be supported to rationalise registered training organisation operations.
  • Put in place arrangements for the collection and analysis of school-wide data for displaying and communicating to parents and the school community.
  • Schools and school support areas working in partnership to clearly articulate strategies for improving student achievement - including increased differentiation by drawing on assessment for learning.
  • Incorporate a flexible system format for reporting student achievement in the Student Administration System.
  • Support schools to develop, collaborate, share and showcase evidence-based practices that improve student outcomes in ACT classrooms.
  • Support ACT Public Schools to develop and sustain highly effective teachers by implementing national and regional frameworks and initiatives.

FAST FACTS

 2014-152015-16Change % Change
Number of schools in the ACT1 131 132 1 0.8
Number of ACT Public Schools 86 87 1 1.2
Number of students enrolled in ACT Public Schools 43,427 44,831 1,404 3.2
Number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in ACT Public Schools 1,663 1,739 76 4.6
Number of students with special needs enrolled in ACT Public Schools 2,094 2,148 54 2.6
Number of preschool students enrolled in ACT Public Schools 4,592 4,456 -136 -3.0
Number of approved childcare service providers2 315 352 37 11.7
Number of children aged 0-5 years attending approved childcare services3 15,421 16,706 1,285 8.3
Number of registered training organisations enrolling government funded students 100 94 -6 -6.0
Number of government funded students undertaking vocational education and training (VET) programs 25,878 23,224 -2,654 -10.3
Number of average hours of attendance at centre based long day care 29.3 28.8 -0.5 -1.7%
Number of students participating in NAPLAN 18,902 19,080 178 0.9%

Notes:
1.  Number of schools includes public, Catholic and Independent schools.
2. This includes long day care, family day care and in-home care, occasional care and outside school hours care.
3. Children may use more than one service type.

CURRICULUM COLLABORATION

Across the ACT, schools work collaboratively to improve teaching practice and student outcomes. In January 2016, five high schools from the South/Weston Network joined together to focus on the Australian Curriculum. Over 200 teachers participated in the program, designed to embed best practice in curriculum and assessment, including learning differences.

The keynote address on inclusivity was provided by Emeritus Professor Tony Shaddock, co-author of the report Schools for All Children and Young People.

The program included teachers working collaboratively in their discipline specific areas from across the five schools. On-going relationships were established and professional learning groups were formed, to support teachers in their implementation of the Australian Curriculum and the inclusion of learning differences.

Faculty leaders and teachers have worked in learning area groups across schools throughout the year. By examining and contrasting different units of work, as well as by moderating student work, teachers have been able to improve their understanding and application of Australian Curriculum Achievement Standards.

Photo of five school executives from different high schools, planning curriculum collaboration for their schools

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