Strategic plan progress report 31 December 2016

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

Goal 1: A Great Start for Children

  • The Northern Territory Preschool Curriculum was implemented in all Northern Territory preschools in Semester 2, 2016.  The curriculum is linked to the Australian curriculum and provides a consistent approach across all schools through high quality teaching and learning programs focusing on developing a solid base for literacy and numeracy and oral language.
  • In order to improve quality and drive continuous improvement, the department commenced second round assessment ratings of education and care services. As at 31 December 2016, 63 services received a second assessment and rating and 42 services were partially reassessed. As a result, the overall improvement in quality ratings of meeting or exceeding the National Quality Standard increased from 21 per cent as at 31 December 2015 to 52 per cent as at 31 December 2016.
  • The Families as First Teachers program continues to operate successfully and has expanded to 27 remote and very remote sites across the Northern Territory with the program commencing in Alpurrurulum and Tennant Creek in Semester 2, 2016.
  • The Larapinta child and family centre commenced operation in Semester 2, 2016. The centre is the sixth in operation in the Northern Territory along with centres in Yuendumu, Maningrida, Ngukurr, Gunbalanya and Palmerston.

Goal 2: Every Student a Successful Learner

  • The 2016 National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) results have indicated improvements for all year levels achieving at or above national minimum standard in key areas compared with 2015. However, more work needs to be done to lift student achievement in literacy and numeracy, particularly for those students in remote and very remote regions.
  • In 2016, 1399 students across government and non-government schools gained a Northern Territory Certificate of Education and Training (NTCET), the greatest number of certificate completions since its inception. Of these completions, 919 students (764 non-Indigenous and 155 Indigenous students) studied in a government school, an increase of 82 students compared to 2015.
  • The Department of Education continues to work with schools to provide targeted and personalised support to secondary aged students to increase NTCET completions.
  • Low student attendance continues to be an issue, particularly for Indigenous students. The Northern Territory government school attendance strategy Every Day Counts is being implemented, providing a coordinated whole-of-government approach for improving school attendance and the learning, wellbeing and engagement of young Territorians.
  • With a focus on improving the educational outcomes of Indigenous students in remote and very remote schools, two mandatory 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.
  • As a key initiative under the Indigenous Education Strategy, the Department of Education is working towards a whole-of-system approach to wellbeing, engagement and behaviour. To support this, trialling and testing of the Northern Territory evidence-informed Social and Emotional Learning (NT SEL) curriculum is underway in 24 remote and urban schools. The NT SEL is aligned to the Australian Curriculum and is being adapted to ensure it is appropriate for the Northern Territory student cohort and context. The NT SEL will be fully developed and implemented by the end of 2017.
  • More than 700 students in 14 government schools participated in the girls’ engagement program in 2016. The school-based program provides mentoring support to attract and maintain engagement for Indigenous girls with their schooling until Year 12.
  • The Employment Pathways Curriculum Framework was endorsed by the Northern Territory Board of Students as an alternative to the Australian Curriculum for secondary education provision for Indigenous students from remote communities. It includes core domains which cover literacy, numeracy, life skills, employability skills and vocational learning.

Goal 3: Quality Leaders, Quality Educators, Quality Learning

  • Over 300 staff participated in targeted professional learning activities for leaders, teachers and support staff.
  • In 2016, the Transition Support Unit worked with over 500 Year 6 and 7 students and their families in remote communities which have limited access to secondary teaching and learning programs, to discuss options for secondary schooling in 2017.
  • Sixteen students across the Territory have been offered places at high performing interstate boarding schools to study in 2017 as part of the Transition Support Unit Indigenous Education Excellence Scholarship. The scholarship seeks to identify Indigenous students with a strong academic background, good attendance and behaviour.
  • The Foundations of Early Literacy Assessment – Northern Territory (FELA NT) was trialled in nine government schools during 2016 and feedback received from the trials will inform implementation in all government schools in 2017. FELA NT has been developed to evaluate student achievement and provides diagnostic information at student, class, school and system levels for students in Transition to Year 3 and those needing support before engaging in other formal assessments.

Goal 4: Coherent and Capable Organisation

  • The Department of Education’s Strategic Workforce Plan 2016-2018, Indigenous Employment and Workforce Strategy 2016-2020, and Teacher and Educator Attraction and Recruitment Strategy 2016-2017 were launched in Semester 2, 2016. The aim of the strategies are to attract, recruit and retain high quality staff across the agency, with a particular focus on growing and developing the Department of Education’s Indigenous workforce.
  • In partnership with Charles Darwin University, 17 teaching graduates received permanent job offers in Territory schools to commence in 2017 as part of the Charles Darwin University High Achieving Teaching Graduate Program. The graduates will work in 15 different schools in locations such as Ngukurr, Alice Springs, Darwin and Melville Island.
  • Regional education reviews were conducted in the Barkly, Darwin, Katherine and Arnhem regions. The regional education reviews provide an opportunity for the Department of Education’s executive and regional staff to reflect on achievements and identify opportunities for growth and improvement in regions.
  • Driver Primary School has been appointed an independent public school (to commence in 2017), bringing the total number of independent public schools to 14.
  • The Department of Education continues to make significant and important investment in distance education, special needs education and early childhood education in the Northern Territory. The new Henbury School officially opened in October 2016; construction of stage 1 of the new Forrest Parade School (formerly Palmerston Special School) was completed in October 2016; and the Kalkarindji Child Care Centre was completed in November 2016.

Goal 5: Productive Partnerships

  • The Department of Education continues to work with professional organisations and industry to support students to develop high level knowledge and skills in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.
  • The Northern Territory Minister for Education chaired the Education Council meetings in September and December 2016 where Ministers discussed items including funding for early childhood and schools, and transitioning to NAPLAN Online.
  • The Department of Education continues to strengthen and build partnerships with Asia, including: the establishment of nine sister-school relationships between Northern Territory government schools and schools in Asia; and twenty-eight students will graduate with a Certificate I in Spoken and Written English from the English Language Centre in Dili, Timor Leste, established by the Department of Education.

Last updated: 04 August 2017

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