18 September 2018

Liberals to call in Assembly for independent inquiry into school underperformance

| Ian Bushnell
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Our schools are underperforming, says Liberal education spokesperson Elizabeth Lee.

The Canberra Liberals will call in the Legislative Assembly this week for the ACT Government to establish an independent inquiry into alleged underperformance in ACT schools to determine methods for improving academic outcomes.

Education spokesperson Elizabeth Lee said various reports over the past three years had pointed to an ongoing decline in academic performance in ACT schools, and it needed to be addressed as a matter of priority.

She said the Lamb Report, the ACT Auditor-General, and academics from the Australian National University all confirmed systemic academic underperformance in ACT schools.

“It’s time for the Labor government to acknowledge the elephant in the room,” Ms Lee said.

“The cost of education in Canberra per student is the highest in Australia, and yet performance in ACT schools continues to lag.”

Ms Lee said the Government’s latest 10-year education strategy failed to recognise underperformance in our schools, and had therefore failed to outline a plan to strengthen academic outcomes.

“I have real concerns that Education Minister Yvette Berry regards the fundamentals in education, such as literacy and numeracy, as redundant,” Ms Lee said.

“Our students are caught in an education strategy that is not geared toward ensuring the best possible academic outcomes, under an Education Minister who thinks facts and figures are irrelevant.

“It’s this sort of misguided ministerial oversight that can make it difficult for our hardworking teachers and principals who are committed to excellence in education and support all students to reach their fullest potential.

“The government dishonours our students, parents and school communities when it fails to provide excellence in education, despite having the resources to do so.

“Ultimately, there needs to be an independent inquiry into academic underperformance with the intention of developing strategies to improve outcomes.”

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Teachers are spending all their time managing disruptive students there is no time to actually teach. There is no discipline in schools now and very little support for the teachers. This is resulting in a lot of teachers leaving the profession. I personally know one teacher with more than 10 years experience and one 2nd year teacher leaving for these reasons.

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