Territory Stories

Debates Day 3 - Thursday 24 November 2016



Debates Day 3 - Thursday 24 November 2016

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Parliamentary Record 2


Debates for 13th Assembly 2016 - 2018; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




pp 503 to 561


Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES Thursday 24 November 2016 526 It is not enough to simply implement programs without putting in place a proper process of review and evaluation. We all know that we must review and evaluate programs. It is no good enough to just bumble along and let the programs continue to fail and not be clear about why they are not succeeding. We must modify and be agile in changing programs so they meet peoples needs. We will make sure we review and evaluate as we go. As part of our election commitments we will review the child and family centre model to ensure the services are properly utilised, have strong local involvement and are effectively responding to the needs of children and families. The Department of Education is working with the University of Melbourne to fully evaluate the Families as First Teachers program as well. While the program continues to go from strength to strength, with another five urban and remote services planned, we are working to develop a fuller understanding of the impact the program is having on childrens learning and development. We also want to identify any changes that might be required to deliver even more positive results into the future. We need to continue to trim the sails to make sure our programs are getting better and hitting the mark. Not only are evaluations of this nature important in ensuring services are effective in responding to the needs of children and families, they also contribute to building the evidence base which indicates what really works in the unique educational settings of the Territory. An integrated early childhood plan requires assessing structures and practices which could form barriers to service coordination, and working in partnership. Our early childhood development plan aims to achieve just that. The government is exploring opportunities to increase the recognition of early childhood qualified teachers working in before-school settings, such as Families as First Teachers and childcare. Children cannot enter school ready to learn unless families, schools and communities provide environments and experiences to support their physical, social, emotional, language and cognitive development. Contemporary education recognises the importance of engaging with families and supporting learning from birth. Educators cannot just respond to children when they start school; they are key players in the provision of universal early childhood services. When I first started my teaching career it was basically when the child arrived at school, at four or five years old, that you started teaching them. We have moved beyond that. Now it is about the very early years, which is what this government is focusing on. The years before school are such a vital time. Instead of playing catch-up or responding when the child turns five and starts school, the early years are being addressed through Families as First Teachers. The role of teachers and education has broadenedand that is happening at the other end too. When most of us started our education there were no vocational education and training programs in schools, and there was not much focus on getting kids ready for jobs, but both ends of the spectrum have been expanded in schools since then. Educators play a key role with families in developing childrens skills and knowledge so they are ready to continue their learning on day one of school. Achieving this goal is a shared responsibility. I look forward to working with the Minister for Children and my colleagues in the subcommittee of Cabinet to develop our early childhood development strategic plan. We need to do the heavy lifting that is needed in regard to social programs for our kids. We will put children at the heart of our program. I am confident the strategy will provide the Territorys children with the very best start in life. Mr SIEVERS (Brennan): Mr Deputy Speaker, I am very pleased to know that this government is putting children at the front and centre. The wellbeing of children is everyones business, and this government has reviewed its structures and policies to ensure it works in a collaborative approach across organisations so we do not let children fall through the cracks or wait until they become involved in the justice system before we act. Over the past few years I watched the previous governments approach to social and health issues. It was an approach that many of my friends, including Mr Hodor, would describe as watching a bus go over a cliff before reacting or putting up a fence. I am pleased the Labor governments approach is far different to that approach. This government believes prevention is better than cure. This governments approach is to identify issues very early and have the long-term interventions required, which is a commonsense

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