6 June 2018

ACT Budget: Government to spend $9 million in bid to boost teacher skills

| Ian Bushnell
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School teachers

Community feedback supports boost for teachers, says Minister.

The ACT Government will spend more than $9 million over the next four years on maintaining and improving the skills of teachers, on top of a $54 million investment in local public schools.

The $9.2 million Budget allocation will go towards honing teachers’ literacy and numeracy skills and building better links with the University of Canberra where many of the ACT’s teachers gain their initial and post-graduate qualifications.

Minister for Education Yvette Berry said this partnership with UC, starting with 20 schools, would also provide teachers with opportunities for professional learning through research collaboration, and grow the University of Canberra as a centre for excellence in teaching.

This includes the development of research-based Action Plans that they can take into the classroom to enhance their teaching of particular subjects. For example, UC research on spatial awareness has provided a different approach to mathematics to assist learning.

Asked whether some teacher’s skills were not up to scratch, Ms Berry said: “Just like doctors and other professionals, teachers diagnose a child’s learning needs and to get that diagnosis right they need that extra support to make sure that the most modern teaching methods are provided to students.”

The Minister said the Budget funding aimed at teachers was in response to the Future of Education community conversation which clearly showed support for more professional training for teachers.

“After students themselves, the single most significant factor in the outcomes achieved in schools is the expertise and professionalism of the teachers facilitating learning – the evidence is clear on this point and has been repeated by ACT students, teachers and school leaders, parents and carers and the wider community,” she said.

The Government will also implement a new teacher mentor program to better train 120 school leaders in mentoring and supporting young teachers starting out in their careers.

With 1,340 students set to join over 47,000 public school students, the Government will invest $54.3 million overall in public schools, including $31 million to hire 66 more teachers and support staff, and $21 million to provide more support for students with a disability.

“Hiring more teachers and delivering more support for students with a disability will see our already great schools get even better,” Ms Berry said.

The new teachers would go to the growing areas of Gungahlin where there already had been significant investment in infrastructure and to new schools such as the one being built in Taylor.

New staff will also be allocated to schools where there had been increased enrolments, and might mean a part-time teacher moving to a full-time basis.

The Minister said that in the area of special needs or disability the funding will go towards additional learning support, extra training for teachers or different devices that a child might need, as well as health support for those with complex needs.

“The needs will be assessed on a per child basis and that extra funding goes towards support for those children,” she said.

She did not say whether this meant extra staff.

2018-19 ACT Budget

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