Review of ACT Education Act

The IEU have been involved in a consultation process around proposed amendments to the Education Act to be tabled in the ACT Legislative Assembly in August.

A consultation period for a review of the Act closed on 7 June, and this was one of the key submissions made by the IEUA NSW/ACT Branch.

Discussion papers included amendments to Principles of The Education Act, the Registration of Boarding Schools and Reporting of Suspensions and Exclusions.

Of particular importance to the Union is the inclusion and recognition of early childhood education in the Act.

Our recommendation is that the proposed amendments to the principles need to go further and be more explicit in recognising the status and importance of early childhood education and teachers.

This includes the need for a clear definition of the child within the Act .

Also, more emphasis on the welfare of education employees as well as students was required in the Act, the IEU submission suggested.

Other issues raised by the IEU include the registration of boarding facilities at non government schools as currently boarding schools adhere to the Australian Boarding Schools Association standard which is a national standard; it is robust but it is self monitored.

The proposed wording is cumbersome and a recommendation would be that the regulations stipulate and honour a process which would support the schools demonstrating that they’re doing the right thing for boarders and not imposing further regulation.

The changes to the policies around school suspension and exclusion are a reaction to the Royal Commission on Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The ACT non government sector already report directly to the Education Minister. In reporting suspensions it’s suggested that they go to to the ACT Education Directorate.

The current practice for all government and non government schools is to their employers respectively.

The purpose data in this form is as a resourcing mechanism to support areas of greatest need.

To suggest that non government schools have to report to the Directorate would be a different standard. Under the current MOU any suspensions are reported, aggregated and every six months that information is provided to the Minister The Union supports the continuation of the current practice .