The Youth Coalition asked parties and independent candidates about their policies on education. We asked:
- How will you address education equity in the ACT?
The full responses we received from parties and independent candidates are below.
Click here to download the short snapshot of their policies on education.
The ACT has some of the best schools in the country. I went to school here in Canberra myself – Holt pre-school, AME, Turner Primary, Lyneham High, and Lake Ginninderra College. I’m really grateful for the opportunities the ACT Education system offered me, and I want to make sure that every young person in Canberra has the chance to get a great education.
It shouldn’t matter where you live or what your background is – access to a high-quality education is a right. It’s about more than just setting yourself up to get a job when you’re older. A strong education directly correlates with higher levels of engagement in your community and contributes to improved life outcomes overall.
This is why the ACT Labor Government believes that addressing education inequity is so important. We are implementing a range of major initiatives for schools, teachers, and school leaders, and families to provide an equitable and inclusive environment for our young people learn.
We are doing this by targeting our funding, and making sure schools that need it most don’t get left behind. We have rolled out wifi to all ACT Government schools and colleges, which means that students can take advantage of new digital education technologies regardless of whether they have internet at home. It also means that students in Canberra are the best-connected in Australia.
This year we’re investing $1.16 billion into our education system. This funding goes into improving our schools in Canberra by building state-of-the-art facilities, adding to the more than 3300 teachers we have, and to strengthening the capacity of schools to support students who have more complex needs. We’re also providing teacher training, specialist staff and support services to make sure our schools provide for an inclusive environment.
We have great schools in the ACT and I want to make sure that students, teachers, and families have the support to make them even better, for all students.
The Canberra Liberals have announced the More Support for All Schools package which will significantly invest in badly needed infrastructure for the ACT’s public schools. The package totals $85 million and includes $60 million for new infrastructure, capital upgrades and maintenance. The Canberra Liberals will also invest $17.5 million to support children with special needs in our non-government schools (on top of current investment in the public system). The final part of the package is $7.5 million for Canberra’s special schools, including a $1 million grant for each of the schools for specisliased infrastructure.
This is in addition to our commitment to funding nurses in each of our special schools, totaling $500,000.
We will announce further initiatives and commitments in the lead up to the Election and firmly believe in reducing education inequity in the ACT. ACT Labor closed 23 schools, putting huge pressure on existing schools and straining their resources. We need a fresh approach to education delivery and management in the ACT and it can only be achieved under a Canberra Liberals Government.
Joel McKay, Independent Candidate for Brindabella
Currently we have a school-funding model where the ACT Government provides the majority of funding for public schools, and the Commonwealth Government provides the majority of funding for private schools. For as long as I can remember, there has been a battle over who should get what and if the funding system is fair and equitable.
If elected, I will lobby the ACT Government to fund a grants program designed to provide all schools in Canberra an opportunity to seek financial support for modernisation initiatives. Schools would be required to submit a business case detailing project costs, current funding limitations, tangible benefits, and how the project will assist the school to be at the forefront of education. Submissions would be evaluated appropriately and grants awarded for projects deemed the most vital and most beneficial.
In addition, I will work with the ACT Government to better utilise data gained from NAPLAN testing. The results should be used to identify what schools are struggling and allocate the necessary resources where required. The process to distribute funding must be transparent and allow the poorer performing schools to be provided their fair share.
The above information was provided by the parties and/or candidates listed, and authorised for publication on this website by Emma Robertson, Youth Coalition of the ACT