How will the Conversation Happen?
Improving an education system is a never-ending process, and is informed by listening to everyone with an interest in making a good system even better. It’s important that we hear from students, families, teachers and support staff, school communities as well the broader community. The process for this conversation is designed to encourage feedback from as many people as possible.
We will be releasing discussion papers throughout this process.
Research and Real World Experiences
We are very interested in the real world experiences of school communities, and will be looking at local, national and international experience as well as taking on academic views.
Who will Be Involved?
Our Future of Education discussion process needs to be firmly grounded in the people of Canberra. There will be direct consultation happening across the community and we will be having conversations with local industry, universities, community groups, non-government schools, and of course with public school communities.
Canberra public schools can have an active role in the consultation and the Directorate’s Education Support Office will be supporting principals to actively participate in this conversation by providing information and guidance.
All members of the Canberra community will be able to provide their views directly to the ACT Education Directorate Future of Education team and through Your Say – a way for the Canberra community to engage online, share ideas and have their say on ACT Government projects and initiatives.
The ACT Government is also actively engaging with, and seeking the views of, community organisations, professional associations, academics and researchers, early childhood education and care providers, and peak bodies. Importantly, to seek the widest range of views, we will be reaching out to those who do not typically engage in consultation and working in partnership with others to extend that reach even further.
Taken together, the views of schools and others involved in the community conversation will inform a blueprint for the Government’s future of education strategy. As equity is at the heart of this issue, we need to reach beyond the usual participants in our consultation and actively seek views we might not otherwise hear. More broadly the ACT Government has a commitment to strengthening community engagement, which includes well planned, extensive engagement. The Future of Education conversation is an ideal opportunity to model such engagement within our community.
Principals are strongly tied to the communities they serve, in a way unique to ACT Public Servants who work in a school setting. The Future of Education community conversation respects the position principals hold in their communities and acknowledges the community perspectives principals respond to in their day to day role.
It makes sense for principals to lead this conversation with their communities.
This opportunity will be a great launch-pad for a number of principals into their wider school community, and business as usual for others. The minimum engagement expected is with your teachers, students and community using your existing consultative mechanisms – newsletters, staff meetings, SRC or student leadership groups, P&C meetings, and School Board meetings.
This is not your usual community engagement process – we want this to be a two way conversation – if you have innovative ideas as to how to engage your community in this conversation, do it! Let us know those ideas so we can share them throughout the system.
Your school may decide to provide a single school response that captures the views of students, teachers, and parents. You may wish to encourage students to develop their own responses, coordinate a staff response, and ask the P&C to prepare a response on behalf of parents.
Principals may wish to expand their conversations by having a stall at the school fete; a coffee morning with parents; a letterbox drop throughout your community; or a survey. There will be a public, across community face to this consultation and we want to know how we can be creative and hear what the community wants to say. Principals know their communities. This is a great opportunity to have a different kind of conversation with them. Engage with them on this issue, listen to your community, and most importantly, engage deeply and broadly.
Framing questions, facilitation techniques and key supports are available. We have partnered with community engagement experts to help pull together the building blocks for this conversation. The team from Design Managers Australia have framed questions, techniques and supports for principals to enable rich, collaborative conversations with your community. Stimulus material will be released throughout the project to prompt conversations.
Students, Children and Young People
Students are at the centre of our conversation. Capturing their experiences, hopes and expectations is central to our concerns. Throughout 2017, the Minister’s Student Congress will be considering the Future of Education, and taking their work back to their schools for feedback and advice. But while capturing the views of the Congress is necessary, it is, by itself, not enough. We want to hear from as many students as possible. We know principals, school leaders and teachers understand the students who may not participate in Congress or Student Representative Council or other student groups, but whose voices we need to hear – we want to capture their views too.
We will also be reaching out to organisations that work with children and young people who may not interact with school, or who may have recently left school.
Teachers and Administrative Staff Role
Teachers and school support staff, as valued members of school communities, are most welcome to participate in the conversation and can share their views individually, in groups, or by school.
School Board Role
There is a key role for school Boards in this conversation. Individual Boards may wish to submit their own response as well as contributing through the quarterly meeting.
School Parents & Citizens Groups Role
School parent and citizen groups will bring a valuable perspective to the conversation. P&C contributions to the conversation are encouraged through the ACT Council of P&C Associations, from individual schools, or as part of a coordinated whole school response.
Parents and Caregivers Role
The views of parents and caregivers are vital – we can’t go on this journey without families. Family involvement may be coordinated through the school, through the Board, through the P&C, or independently.
Members of the broader community are encouraged to participate in this conversation. We know many people are interested in the education of our children and young people and can contribute valuable ideas and feedback to this conversation.
Visit the Join the Conversation page to have your say.