ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Joint media release: Education Strategy needs to be backed up with resources and collaborative implementation

17 August 2018

Joint media release with the Youth Coalition of the ACT.

The ACT Council of Social Service (ACTCOSS) and the Youth Coalition of the ACT welcome the ACT Government’s Future of Education Strategy, focused on improving equity of education outcomes by putting students at the centre; empowering students and professionals; building strong communities; and delivering both equity and quality.

ACTCOSS is pleased to note key themes from community advocacy have been included, namely the focus on equity and greater collaboration between schools and community.

ACTCOSS Director Susan Helyar said, “We urge the government to take a holistic approach to implementing the four foundations of the strategy, recognising the linkages across the themes. In particular, enabling greater school and community collaboration can play a significant part in supporting the other pillars. Integrating community organisations in schools can enable the social and emotional support integral to putting students at the centre; can allow teachers to focus on being education professionals; and will assist the outside school-system support necessary to in-school equity.

“The government’s strategy has recognised that some students need additional or specialised support. It is essential that education and care is not just available, but accessible and attractive. This means offering a mix of structured and flexible settings, and ensuring cultural safety and appropriateness.

“Achieving equity in education means putting in place holistic supports that build greater health and wellbeing for students in and outside the classroom. As a recent PISA report showed, students expect to gain a sense of belonging through school. The report today alleging restrictive practices in the Woden School affirms the need for improved inclusion capability to support all students.

“ACTCOSS has heard that both schools and community organisations want to connect with each other to support students, but were often unsure how to make the connections, or whether they could. It makes sense for community organisations to be supported through the strategy to build and sustain effective partnerships that improve student engagement and education attainment.

“The Future of Education Strategy shows the government has a clear vision; now we need that backed up with adequate resourcing. To ensure all students reach education attainment benchmarks, investment is needed in the classroom and in families and communities who can support improved student learning and wellbeing.

“ACTCOSS and the Youth Coalition of the ACT call on all members of the ACT Government Cabinet to back the Minister for Education with adequate resourcing to deliver the strategy objectives. The community has been deeply engaged in its development so will expect to see clear timeframes for delivery and transparent mechanisms for implementation, evaluation and reporting of improvements in education equity”, Ms Helyar concluded.

For more information or comment please contact
Susan Helyar, Director, ACTCOSS, on 0448 791 987 or 02 6202 7200 or

Justin Barker, Executive Director, Youth Coalition of the ACT, on 02 6247 3540.