ACT News

Education Minister Yvette Berry opens reform conversation

Children, teachers, parents, academics and community groups will soon be invited to help shape reforms aimed at providing greater equity for Canberra's students.

Education and Early Childhood Development Minister Yvette Berry noted the ACT's educational success in the Legislative Assembly on Thursday but said there was room for improvement.

While 85 per cent of students complete year 12 and about 90 per cent go on to work or further study, and the territory traditionally performed well in literacy and numeracy testing, other states had started gaining ground, she said.

"We also know that in the early years our performance is similar to other jurisdictions with only 78 per cent of children in the ACT developmentally ready when they start school," Ms Berry said.

"We cannot tolerate the situation where the life circumstances of a child showing up at school mean we know whether they will succeed or not."

After delivering her ministerial statement, Ms Berry listed her focus as improving access to early childhood education, examining different teaching methods to better address individual students' needs and providing greater support for teachers and principals.

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"It's not so much that we're doing anything wrong, it's just that we've hit a point in our system, it's 10 years since the big reforms happened in the ACT, we've hit a point in our test results now where all other states and territories have caught up to us, so now we make another big push forward to see what the improvements can be," she said.

It is understood consultation will take place throughout 2017.

ACT Council of Social Service director Susan Helyar said there were hidden pockets of disadvantage within the ACT.

"Canberra, one of the best educated populations in Australia and with a growing knowledge economy, has some of the worst education attainment gaps in the nation," she said.

"Socioeconomic status is a stronger predictor of education attainment in Canberra than it is in other places. In simple terms, that means that in Canberra being disadvantaged has a bigger impact on your education outcomes than it does in other places."