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Better schools, better teachers, better values.



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FEDERAL LABOR LEADER MARK LATHAM

JOINT STATEMENT BY FEDERAL LABOR LEADER MARK LATHAM AND DEPUTY LABOR LEADER, SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT, TRAINING & EDUCATION JENNY MACKLIN

Better schools, better teachers, better values

A Federal Labor Government will provide $315 million over four years to improve classroom discipline, get the best out of teachers and promote the values of Australian society in our schools.

Education is the first rung on Labor’s ladder of opportunity.

Schools introduce children to the world they will live in and a great education is about teaching children the values and discipline they will carry into adulthood.

Federal Labor believes that the values and discipline of students in all schools should be the responsibility of all parents and all governments.

If there are problems in some schools then the Commonwealth Government should implement solutions - not just criticise from the sidelines.

A Federal Labor Government will work with parents and schools to implement a national action plan that will improve class discipline and reduce truancy, encourage our best teachers to work in struggling schools; and improve teaching quality in all schools.

Labor’s Plan

Classroom discipline and reducing truancy

A Federal Labor Government will provide $65 million over four years for programs to improve classroom discipline and reduce truancy including:

• Restorative justice programs where bullies face their victims and are forced to reform their behaviour • Responsible Behaviour Agreements signed by parents, students and teachers including a commitment to attend school regularly • Time Out programs where students with severe behavioural problems

will receive help outside the school • New support for student counselling and mentoring programs • Strategies to improve school attendance amongst Indigenous students.

Best teachers in struggling schools

A Federal Labor Government will provide $130 million over four years to help struggling schools attract and retain great teachers who get improved results from vulnerable students.

Struggling schools include schools with low retention rates or literacy levels, schools in battling communities where unemployment, truancy or poverty is high, and schools with high concentrations of students with special learning needs.

These teachers will be eligible to apply for new positions with rates of pay above the current teacher salary scale, as well as additional resources for professional development. Funds will be available to encourage high performing teachers to mentor and assist in the professional development of other teachers in their schools.

Improving teaching

A Federal Labor Government will provide $120 million over four years to improve teaching quality in our schools.

There are around 12,000 teachers working in struggling schools. Our funding means every single teacher working in struggling schools can get the professional development they need to get better results.

And Labor’s financial incentives will see around 750 of the best teachers encouraged to come across to struggling schools.

The current Quality Teaching program provides just $35 million each calendar year. By 2009, Labor’s policy will have doubled this to $70 million.

Labor will support schools to address skill shortages and improve professional development and accreditation for teachers in a range of priority areas including:

• Behaviour management and maintaining a disciplined and safe learning environment • Teaching for raising the performance of under-achievers

• Teaching of literacy and numeracy • Working with Indigenous students and communities to improve educational outcomes • Computer skills.

A Federal Labor Government will make sure that all students in all schools benefit from good discipline, great teaching and great Australian values and can climb Labor’s ladder of opportunity with purpose and determination.

SYDENHAM 3 SEPTEMBER 2004