17 August 2018

Students at centre of brave new world for ACT schools with 10-year plan launched

| Ian Bushnell
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ACT schools aim to become more student-centred and inquiry based, with more personalised learning, under a 10-year plan. File photo.

Students in ACT schools will be given a much greater say in what and how they learn under a 10-year plan to overhaul the Territory’s education system launched on Thursday (16 August).

The Future of Education Strategy was developed after a lengthy consultation period with the community, including students, teachers, parents, and members. All up, more then 5000 people participated, half of them students.

The strategy also focuses on improved teacher training, developing community and parental involvement and structures that support equity, and flexible and personalised learning approaches to meet individual needs.

Parents can expect their children to do more project based learning to develop inquiry skills, have a greater voice in their learning so they can pursue their passions, and more wellbeing and psychological support to build their resilience.

But a strong emphasis remains on literacy and numeracy as the basis for future learning.

The plan acknowledges that quality education starts with teachers, so recruitment will be overhauled, more structured mentoring introduced and professional learning expanded.

It envisages a highly accomplished lead teacher in every school, and more teachers from varied backgrounds and fields so the traditional boundaries of education can be extended.

The plan sees schools becoming more than places of education, embedded in their communities and partnering with community agencies and businesses, such as on out of hours programs to support families, particularly those who are disadvantaged.

It also sees more engagement with industry to being ‘real life’ learning in to the classroom.

There is a strong focus on early childhood education, from three to eight year-olds, with schools having stronger links with early education providers.

Technology overall will play a strong role with the development of platforms to deliver personalised learning in a variety of settings and enable teachers to assess and monitor students’ progress.

Minister for Education Yvette Berry said that at the core of the Future of Education Strategy was an acknowledgement of the human diversity among students, placing them at the centre of their learning.

“A stand out theme was more personalised, relevant learning, and this mirrors current national and international research findings,” she said.

Ms Berry said another strong theme in the community conversation was the need to further support and value teachers.

“The strategy recognises that quality teaching is one of the most critical factors in achieving student outcomes and mitigating disadvantage. The strategy is set out with an awareness that teachers are expert professionals highly skilled at working with their students to lead them through their learning journey,” she said.

“Education in the ACT will take a structured approach to providing appropriate instructional leadership and support, and ensure a focus on delivering quality teaching in every classroom and learning environment.”

The Minister said the strategy also focused on building strong communities for learning.

“While the core function of schools is to provide education, they are also key community hubs that can bring people and services together to meet the diverse needs of children and their families,” she said.

“The Government is committed to providing consistent, equitable and quality outcomes for each ACT child and young person and this strategy will help guide our efforts and investment across the next 10 years.”

To view the Future of Education Strategy, go here.

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