The Community Action Party supports a fully funded, high quality, free and accessible public school education system in the ACT, alongside the existing non-government school systems.
The Party recognises the critical value of schools to their communities as neighbourhood educational and social institutions. We believe that the neighbourhood model for schooling works best because it gives families greater opportunity to participate in their child's education. The Party will work with communities to better recognise the role of schools and teachers in society. The Party supports life-long learning for all ages.
The Party is opposed to the closing of any government school without local community support.
The Party insists that school buildings and land remain in public ownership for use as a community facility.
The Party believes schools in areas that have suffered local trauma should be given all necessary support.
The Party will enhance cluster arrangements to encourage better sharing of resources (including specialist teachers) between local schools.
The Party will not develop more 'super schools' (P-10 schools) without first working with communities to evaluate existing super schools. International experience reveals there is no evidence that bigger schools are cheaper or deliver better educational outcomes or offer a broader curriculum. This should be tested before further development.
The Party supports home schooling where evidence is provided that high educational standards are being consistently achieved, and children are being integrated into the wider community. Where necessary, increased support and educational resources should be provided to help home schoolers to achieve these objectives.
The Party supports revision of the national curriculum to build in the flexibility to allow for things that are important to the ACT to be included.
The Party will seek to ensure access to age-appropriate health education in schools and colleges (addictions, eating disorders, STDs, stress management) that achieves significant behavioural change.
The Party supports the inclusion of at least 30 minutes of physical activity in every child's school day to have fun, exercise and develop basic sporting skills.
The Party will promote public education programs to foster a genuine appreciation of Indigenous and minority cultures.
The Party supports the teaching of languages other than English as a core component of the curriculum at all levels of education.
The Party supports the provision of additional Government resources for the Ethnic Schools Association to help young people maintain connections with their cultural roots.
The Party supports additional Government resources for programs that teach English as a second language so that migrants are not disadvantaged in Australian society. Sufficient funding should be provided to meet existing needs and an integrated family approach should be adopted.
The Party supports environmental education at all levels of schooling.
The Party supports arts education and will explore the development of an 'artist-in-residence' program at schools, to make arts education more exciting and rewarding for children.
The Party supports short, compulsory classes in 'Civics' and 'Ethics' in all High Schools to help youngsters to appreciate fully the democratic political process operating in the ACT and Australia.
The Party recognises that students have individual learning and developmental needs and will seek to provide education services on that basis. This includes providing prompt, sensitive, and early detection and remedial assistance for children with learning difficulties and disabilities.
The Party will address the achievement gap between low and high achieving schools, as well as investigate the achievement gap between low achieving and high achieving students in ACT government and non-government schools, so that all students can reach their full potential.
The Party supports the introduction of a voluntary student feedback process at all levels to help teachers and students.
The Party believes the number of counsellors must be increased so that they can be placed in all secondary schools and available to students whenever the school is open. Counsellors' hours in primary schools will also be increased to allow more contact time with younger students in need of assistance.
The Party will develop innovative measures that help prevent school-based delinquency.
The Party will work with the teaching profession and the wider community to adequately reward teachers for their valuable contribution. We support salaries that reflect the professional status of a teaching career. The Party supports a single Union Collective Agreement in the next Enterprise Bargaining round. In government, the Party will at least match teacher salaries in NSW.
The Party will strive to revive a sense of value in our teachers and protect them within their work environments.
The Party believes that any teacher registration body needs to be independent, open and transparent, and accountable.
The Party believes that good teachers should be recognised; those unsuited to teaching or needing help should be identified quickly.
The Party believes that the ACT Government should work closely with local teacher training institutions to help ensure that sufficient teachers with the required skills are available to staff ACT schools and colleges.
The Party will address the existing teacher shortage with structured career progression, including sabbaticals, professional development, support mechanisms, and improved physical infrastructure.
The Party will seek to provide more resources for teachers and schools, including provision of additional administrative support, professional counsellors, a sufficient range of teaching assistants, and encouragement for participation by community volunteers (all police-checked!)
The Party will review the School Based Management funding system with a view to reducing the burden on school-based staff.
The Party is opposed to the frequent, compulsory transfer of teachers between schools every few years because of the disruption to schools and their communities. Teachers seeking a move and natural turnover will provide sufficient 'new blood' for schools.
Teachers that are subject specialists should be supported to enable them to teach primarily in their areas of expertise.
The Party believes the Government should investigate teacher retention, including greater mentoring support for new teachers and the introduction of exit interviews.
The Party is committed to equipping young people with the skills required to function in a dynamic job market and suited to their individual skills and abilities.
The Party supports increased investment in education and training, including vocational education and 'on-the-job' training, and a good apprenticeship structure to address the current skills shortages in the ACT.
The Party supports improved training for local residents rather than relying on importing skilled workers to fill perceived gaps in the ACT labour market.
The Party supports expanding apprentice sharing schemes in those trades which may be experiencing skill shortages.
The Party supports increasing work experience for school students to cover rights, responsibilities, and workplace culture.
The Party will protect the ACT TAFE system from privatisation. We support increased recurrent funding to TAFE.
The Party fully supports a single Union Collective Agreement for TAFE and school teachers, including career path reviews.