Strategic plan progress report 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017

This report provides an overview of the Department of Education’s achievement against the Strategic Plan 2016-2018, Growing Success Together, goals and key actionsfor the period 1 July to 31 December 2017.

Goal 1: A Great Start for Children

  • In order to improve quality and drive continuous improvement, the department continued reassessment and rating of education and care services. The overall improvement in quality ratings of meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard, increased by 9 per cent for education and care services and 33 per cent for government preschools when compared to 2016.
  • The Families as First Teachers (FaFT) program continues to operate successfully across the Northern Territory, with five new sites commencing in Term 3, 2017 (Yirrkala Homelands, Warrawi, Larapinta, Katherine and Jabiru) and one in Term 4, 2017 (Palmerston), taking the total number of FaFT sites to 38 (33 remote and five urban).

Goal 2: Every Student a Successful Learner

  • The 2017 National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results indicate that the four-year cohort gains for the Northern Territory have been strong compared to performance nationally (change in student cohort results between their Year 3, 2013 and Year 7, 2017 result and between their Year 5 2013 and Year 9, 2017 result). For the Year 7 student cohort, there were stronger achievement gains in the Northern Territory than nationally over the four years to 2017 for each test domain, except numeracy where the Northern Territory and national gain were on par. The Year 9 student cohort also had stronger gains than nationally over the four years to 2017 for spelling and numeracy and similar gains for the other three test domains. However, more work needs to be done to lift student achievement in all test domains.
  • In 2017, 1430 students across government and non-government schools gained a Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (NTCET), the greatest number of certificate completions to date. Of these completions, 947 students (797 non-Aboriginal and 150 Aboriginal students) studied in a government school, an increase of 25 students compared to 2016. Also, 893 students across government and non-government schools achieved an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank and, of this total, 73 were Aboriginal and is the largest cohort to date where 39 studied in a government school. The Department of Education continues to work with schools to provide targeted and personalised support to secondary aged students to further increase NTCET completions.
  • Our Indigenous Education Strategy 2015-2024 is a 10‑year plan for ensuring Aboriginal children are successful and confident in their education journey and have real career choices and options. The strategy is now in its third year of implementation (first stage) with consultation and planning underway with key stakeholders to inform and finalise the next stage of the strategy. Building on the projects and progress made under the first stage, the second stage will see a sustained focus on embedding programs into systemic and school practice and ensure the longevity of program delivery in remote and very remote schools.
  • With a focus on improving the educational outcomes of Aboriginal students in remote and very remote schools, two literacy and numeracy approaches are being implemented: Direct Instruction and Literacy and Numeracy Essentials (LANE). Both programs provide a consistent teaching model in literacy and numeracy, ensuring students can pick up where they left off if they move between communities.
  • The department is working towards a whole-of-system approach to wellbeing, engagement and behaviour. The Behaviour for Learning Framework is in the final stages of development and due to be finalised early 2018. The framework will be complemented by the Northern Territory Social and Emotional Learning (NT SEL) curriculum. The NT SEL is aligned to the Australian Curriculum and is being adapted and trialled at 59 schools to ensure it is appropriate for the Northern Territory student cohort and context.
  • The Employment Pathways Curriculum Framework is being implemented by 34 remote schools as an alternative to the Australian Curriculum for secondary education provision for students from remote communities. It includes core domains which cover literacy, numeracy, life skills, employability skills and vocational learning.
  • The Healthy Life Creative Life program commenced at the Juno Training Centre in Tennant Creek in Term 4, 2017. The program supports middle and senior years students from the Barkly region to return to mainstream schooling or progress to a job or training through re-engagement activities such as sport, creative arts and learning on country. Students can access vocational education and training programs such as agriculture, engineering, manufacturing, construction, hospitality, conservation and land management. Work is underway to establish a Healthy Life Creative Life program in Katherine in 2018.

Goal 3: Quality Leaders, Quality Educators

  • Over 400 staff participated in targeted professional learning activities for leaders, teachers and support staff.
  • To help school leaders and teachers maintain quality classroom practice, the NT Teaching and Learning Framework is being developed. The framework will outline the fundamental expectations for teaching literacy and numeracy and will address setting the classroom climate while understanding students and their learning needs.
  • A comprehensive and sustainable induction process has been developed, providing guidance and support for early career teachers, including establishing and maintaining quality mentoring relationships. A Teacher’s Guide to Effective Mentoring was developed and online training has also been developed for both mentors and mentees.
  • Resources have been developed to guide the capability development of assistant teachers, teachers and principals in remote schools. The resources embed quality professional learning and standards within mentoring and coaching support.
  • Starting in 2017, the department offered the Supporting NT Students with Additional Needs Teacher Scholarship. Twenty Northern Territory teachers (15 from government schools and five from non-government schools) received a scholarship to undertake a Graduate Certificate in Education (Special Education) part-time while they continue with classroom teaching. The professional development through this program will improve schools’ capacity to cater for the learning needs of Northern Territory students with additional needs or a disability and help them achieve their full potential.
  • A review of the Centre for School Leadership (CSL) programs has been completed and the development of a renewed leadership framework and strategy for the CSL is underway. A new 12-month Principal Development Program commenced in September 2017 with 12 participants partaking in the program.
  • The Principal Wellbeing Framework was launched at World Teachers Day on 27 October 2017, supporting principals to maintain their health and wellbeing and develop strategies to support them in leading our schools. A Wellbeing Grant will be available from Term 1, 2018 providing principals and assistant principals with financial support to access coaching and professional development with a wellbeing focus.
  • The capability of educators continued to be strengthened through the Highly Accomplished and Lead Teacher certification program in partnership with the Northern Territory Teacher Registration Board. The department has 35 nationally certified Highly Accomplished and 17 nationally certified Lead Teachers who are recognised for their expertise in teaching. Guidelines have been developed to clarify the roles of highly accomplished and lead teachers within the department to maximise a strong and collaborative learning culture in schools to improve student outcomes.
  • The Data Literacy Leaders Network was established to build educators’ data literacy capability. The network is made up of regional and corporate staff across the Northern Territory who are leading the interpretation and analysis of student achievement data to drive data informed decision making.

Goal 4: Coherent and Capable Organisation

  • The review of the global school budget funding model has been completed. An action plan has been developed with a focus on building a school resourcing model that meets student need and provides schools with flexibility, budget certainty and improved support for better budget management.
  • The department continues to implement strategies to attract, recruit and retain high quality staff across the agency, with a particular focus on growing and developing the Department of Education’s Aboriginal workforce. Currently 13.7 per cent of the department’s workforce is Aboriginal and the department continues to focus on growing this number through the Indigenous Employment and Workforce Strategy 2016-2020. The More Aboriginal Teachers Strategy has also been developed in collaboration with Office of the Commissioner for Public Employment to increase the number of Aboriginal teachers and educational professionals. As part of this strategy, 20 Aboriginal Teacher Scholarships have been made available to students to study a Bachelor of Education and Masters of Teaching at Charles Darwin University.
  • Under the Government’s Building Better Schools initiative, 11 projects at eight government schools and two non-government schools have been completed. The initiative provides $300 000 for each Northern Territory school for refurbishments and upgrades to school facilities to enhance student learning.

Goal 5: Working Together

  • The department is working closely with communities to implement the initiatives of the Indigenous Education Strategy. Through collaboration with schools, families, communities and industry partners, the community-led schools initiative will enable local decisions to be made for education and training with a strong focus on continuous improvement in student engagement, literacy and numeracy outcomes.
  • The department continues to work with professional organisations and industry to build teacher capability and increase student engagement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics learning.
  • The department continues to strengthen and build partnerships with Asia. To date, 17 international sister-school partnerships have been established between Northern Territory Government schools and schools in Asia, providing students with the opportunity to learn in a global context.

Last updated: 04 September 2018