Monday, May 20, 2024

ACT signs on to expanded university program for schools

The ACT Government and the University of Canberra have signed a new $12.8 million five-year Affiliated Schools Agreement.

Minister for Education and Youth Affairs, Yvette Berry says the new agreement will see every ACT public school able to access benefits from the collaboration.

Minister Berry and University of Canberra Interim Vice-Chancellor, Professor Lucy Johnston, marked the signing of the agreement at Miles Franklin Primary School, one of 25 UC Affiliated schools for 2024 – 2028.

Ms Berry said the Affiliated Schools Agreement (2024-2028) would build on what has been a flagship partnership between the ACT Government and the University of Canberra since 2019.

“The program was set up under the Future of Education Strategy to improve student outcomes through professional learning for pre-service and current teachers, and research in schools,” she said.

“I encourage all public schools to embrace the research and professional learning opportunities that will be available across the system through this agreement.”

The University and the ACT Government collaborated throughout 2023 to update and design an expanded program that will run across the city for the next five years.

Enhancements and additions to the program under the new agreement include:

  • Teaching placements for UC students will be available in all ACT public schools;
  • School-based teaching clinics will be broadened to include non-Affiliated schools;
  • All ACT public school teachers will be able to attend the annual Affiliated Schools Seminar Series, and other professional development and learning opportunities;
  • Offering postgraduate qualifications and micro credential courses – including scholarships to study the Master of Education (Professional Practice) for ACT public school teachers;
  • Broadening the research program to include non-Affiliated schools when partnering with an Affiliated School;
  • Strengthening the sharing of research to benefit all schools;
  • Facilitating a new mentoring program, to be co-designed and implemented in Affiliated schools initially; and
  • Offering secondments to the University of Canberra and enhancing the Teachers as Researchers program for ACT public school teachers from Affiliated Schools.

The Minister said the new agreement reflected global best practice for collaboration between public schools and the tertiary sector.

“The Affiliated Schools Agreement (2024-2028) formalises the vision the ACT Government and the University of Canberra share for our city’s future,” she said.

Professor Johnston said the University of Canberra was proud to continue into the next phase of the Affiliated Schools Agreement, which captures a shared vision and partnership between the University and the ACT Government, focussed on teacher education, research, innovation and professional development.

“Work Integrated Learning is deeply embedded in our ethos at UC – our initial teacher education courses are an exemplar for providing classroom-based learning for preservice teachers, through our best-practice, school-based clinics, and professional placements,” she said.

“The strong ties cultivated with our Affiliate schools and the Directorate have enabled teacher education programs with greater engagement with a more diverse range of schools than any other provider nationally.

“Collaboration is the common thread connecting each element of the Affiliated Schools Agreement. From co-designed, school-based research that has direct value and impact for ACT public schools, to mutually beneficial secondment opportunities. The flow of expertise goes both ways, and benefits the University, ACT public schools, current and future teachers, and school students.”

University of Canberra Faculty of Education, Executive Dean, Professor Barney Dalgarno said the new phase of the agreement would build on what has been “an immensely beneficial flagship partnership”.

“What sets this partnership apart is the prioritisation of professional development through all stages of a teacher’s career,” he said.

“From instilling our preservice teachers with the foundational knowledge to be excellent classroom educators, to professional development opportunities, scholarships and mentorship for early, mid-career to expert teachers, the Agreement sets the standard for a flourishing community of practice, with a powerful shared goal.”

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