Photo of a high school classroom, with the students seated at their desks, working on laptops

Back to B.1 Organisational Overview


We have increased the effectiveness of our schools’ learning environments through facility upgrades, improvements in the use of Information and Communications Technology and through the use of well-targeted data on all aspects of school performance.


  • In 2016, the Directorate implemented a new approach to school improvement - People, Practice and Performance: School Improvement in Canberra Public Schools - A framework for School Performance and Accountability.


  • Procurement of a new School Administration System was undertaken during 2015-16, along with the development and delivery of a school data tool designed to place data on many aspects of school performance at the fingertips of school leaders.
  • Completed modifications and continued a staged release of additional functionality for the ACT Vocational Education and Training Administration Records System (AVETARS) to support the roll out of the new Australian Apprenticeships Management System (AAMS), being implemented by the Australian Government.
  • Completed upgrades to AVETARS to improve and streamline the capacity for vocational education and training stakeholders to meet their reporting obligations.
  • Released a School Data Tool to provide principals with access to school performance data.

Photo of a primary boy and girl, wearing bike helmets, seated on their bicycles


  • Commenced a two year wireless expansion project for all ACT public primary schools providing secure and reliable wireless access on personal devices, connection to the high speed broadband internet.
  • Since February 2015, two Education Summits and a range of training workshops focusing on effective use of the Google Apps for Education suite were attended by 800 teachers.
  • Charles Weston School - Coombs opened for the start of the 2016 school year.
  • Completed Stage 1 of procurement process for the North Gungahlin P-6 School in the suburb of Taylor. The request for tender process commenced in May 2016.
  • Completed construction of the outdoor learning and play space at Belconnen High School.
  • Commenced Stage 2 of the modernisation works at Belconnen High School. This will include major refurbishments to the student learning and teaching spaces, further outdoor works and the creation of a new school administration and main entry area.
  • Completed Stage 1 of a two stage refurbishment at the Woden School. Works in 2015-16 included upgraded classrooms and assembly hall as well as construction of a new senior school building.
  • The planned upgrade and expansion of preschool facilities at Mawson Primary School were completed in this reporting period.
  • New facilities were completed as part of the Belconnen Trade Skills Centre. Facilities were across eight sites and will include hospitality, construction and horticulture.
  • Extension and upgrade of classrooms to provide contemporary teaching spaces were completed at Curtin Primary School.
  • Planning for Caroline Chisholm School Centre for Innovation and Learning commenced with design and procurement activities to engage consultants and the builder completed. The centre will provide a focal point for student learning, teacher professional development and community use to deliver Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum.

Photo of four primary students in sports attire, with hats and drink bottles


  • The ACT school population is growing rapidly as the ACT grows and as more parents choose public school education. It is essential that long term enrolment planning is able to support the Directorate to deliver the right learning environments in the right places to support this growth.
  • Deliver capital works program aimed at creating contemporary learning and teaching spaces within budget.
  • Implement successful planning and resourcing to achieve effective transition to online testing for the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy.
  • Support school strategic planning through the delivery of timely, high quality, information about the progress of the student cohort in the ACT that can be reflected in practical ways for use by schools and teachers to meet the requirements of the School Performance and Accountability Framework.
  • To embed performance and development practices aligned with the People, Practice and Performance Framework.


  • Deliver significant improvements to schools in a range of areas through the staged implementation of a new School Administration System.
  • Continue to undertake the program of Standard School Reviews, using expertise from the Australian Council for Educational Research and experienced system principals to form the review panels and deliver a report on the outcome of the reviews.
  • Deliver detailed enrolment projections to support planning to meet the needs of the increasing school population of the ACT.
  • Improve the delivery of timely, high quality and practical data on student performance to school leaders.
  • As part of the Directorate’s energy efficiency initiatives, complete the roll out of LED lighting upgrades at the remaining ACT Public School sites.


 2014-152015-16Change % Change
Value of Directorate assets including school buildings $1,793.0m $1,805.2m $12.2m 0.7
Value of capital works $55.8m $41.6m -$14.2m -25.4
Square metres public school space 599,620 611,007 11,387 1.9
Kilowatt hours of electricity used in ACT Public Schools 24,963,621 24,099,194 -864,427 -3.5
Kilolitres of water used in ACT Public Schools 337,471 337,110 -361 -0.1
Tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in ACT Public Schools 28,513 26,665 -1,848 -6.5
Kilometres travelled in office based vehicles 208,440 122,316 -86,124 -41.3
Reams of paper purchased for central office use 8,734 7,500 -1,234 -14.1
Litres of paper recycled within central office 208,320 124,080 -84,240 -40.4
Wireless access points in ACT Public Schools 3,550 4,256 706 19.9


  • Energy, water consumption and greenhouse gas emissions figures are for 87 schools in 2015-16 compared to 86 schools in 2014-15.
  • Resource usage at the new Charles Weston School-Coombs, which opened in term 1, 2016, was recorded for half of the reporting year.
  • As part of an Administrative Arrangement Order, the Training and Tertiary Education (TaTE) Branch, now known as Skills Canberra, transferred to the Chief Minister, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate (CMTEDD). 2015-16 resource usage data for TaTE is included in CMTEDD’s annual report.


Information and Communication Technology is fundamental in enhancing teaching and learning across all areas of the curriculum. Students in ACT Public Schools are using a range of digital tools, including Google Apps for Education, Google Communities and robotic technologies, to develop the knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that are required for digital citizenship in the 21st century.

Throughout 2015-16, access to technology for all students continued to improve. All secondary schools and many primary schools enjoy reliable access to WiFi through the wireless improvement program, and schools received funding to supplement Bring Your Own Device models, and ensure that all students had access to a computer device while at school. Many schools used this funding to purchase Chromebooks, which offer a simple and reliable way to access the digital tools used in schools. For example, Macquarie Primary School has purchased 60 Chromebooks for use in nine classrooms.

Google Apps for Education has been available to all ACT Public Schools since early February 2015. As of 2016, it is now accessed by more than 41,000 students and there are currently over three million documents created within the Google Apps environment. Google Apps are used by schools in a variety of ways. The use of Google Drive has led to greater collaboration by students and teachers on a variety of tasks. At Fraser Primary School, Wanniassa School and Giralang Primary School, students regularly use the collaborative functionality of Google Docs and Slides to work together on documents and give each other feedback. This has also led to an increase in student engagement and motivation through an authentic peer audience. Students at Alfred Deakin High School and Lanyon High School regularly use Google Classroom, where they can discuss a range of topics, access learning materials when needed, and even submit their work online. The use of cloud-based digital tools also allow them to work flexibly and develop organisational skills as they begin tasks and then continue them at a time that suits them.

Google Apps for Education have also made it easier for students to develop reading and writing skills. Built-in tools and add-ons provide opportunities for students to hear their writing read back to them, and also to dictate their writing using speech-to-text tools. This has been very motivating for many reluctant writers and readers.

Photo of two high school girls, working together on a laptop

For example, at Charnwood-Dunlop Primary School, one student went from being a non-writer to a daily writer of stories, through the use of speech-to-text tools. A student at Macgregor Primary School progressed from taking three lessons to produce a written piece of text to being able to write a detailed exposition within a 45 minute lesson.

Many schools are also using tools such as Google+ Communities to connect with their school community. Macquarie and Giralang Primary regularly post classroom and school updates to their school Communities page, with parents able to instantly see photos, videos and updates of day-to-day learning. This has lead to enhanced partnerships between home and school. At Chapman preschool, student portfolios are now digital, with photos, activity reports and artworks uploaded to a shared folder. Parents and friends can be given access to the folder and see the work going on in the school.

Many schools are also actively engaged in the development of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills in their students. At Charles Weston Primary School-Coombs, all students in years K-6 regularly take part in coding lessons, designed to develop their computational thinking and problem solving skills. At Caroline Chisholm School, robotics classes are popular, with students developing race tracks for their peers to navigate. The Learning Support Unit – Autism at Caroline Chisholm School has also experienced some good success with robotics. The students in the unit have been working together on communication skills through the development of mazes and problem-solving puzzles.

Photo of a primary boy, working on a laptop at his desk

Since Google Apps were introduced into ACT Public Schools in February 2015, 800 teachers have attended two Summits and a range of training workshops to develop skills in the use of Google Apps for Education.

Photo of three high school students, 2 girls and a boy, seated in the locker bay, working on a laptop

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