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A Message from the Minister of Education, Training & Employment

I have taken up office in a time of significant challenge, not just for our education system, but for our entire country. There are no easy answers, but neither can there be any compromises in our line of work; my job, and the job of our educators, is to ensure that every child in our care succeeds. That can be the only true measure of success for any education system.

Since my appointment in May 2009, I have made it a priority to consult widely with education professionals at all levels, students and parents. These findings are documented in detail in the "Education Health Check 2009/10 Report", and are central to the way forward as defined in this document, the "Education Stabilization Plan".

The messages are clear: significant activity was initiated in previous years, some of which has been positive and is being built upon, but our education system has not had the benefit of a clear, strategic plan. There was no clear and agreed sense of direction or common understandings; many initiatives had been developed and implemented without sufficient consultation, planning or resourcing; many of our teachers felt overwhelmed, uninvolved and undervalued.

We have many bright and capable young people in our system, who are excelling. We need to do more to share and celebrate their achievements. However, too many of our students continue to fail to achieve the successes that they need, to position themselves well for further learning and success in the workplace. Indeed, too many learn to fail at the very earliest stages of their education, and never recover.

The quality of any education system cannot exceed the quality of its teachers. We have amongst us some of the most able and effective teachers. However, we need all of our teachers to be enthusiastic, professionally proficient, caring professionals, who set high expectations, believe our children can achieve them, and take responsibility for making this happen. Teachers, in turn, need safe and supportive learning environments, respect as professionals, and resources and support to do their jobs effectively.

This Education Stabilisation Plan documents the choices we have made since 2009, to respond to the many pressing needs and challenges that must be addressed, and to create a sense of stability and a foundation for further work. It is my intention that this work will be subsumed in a National Strategic Plan for Education, to enable a broader focus and longer-term perspective, as we map out a national vision that will guide the development of the education system over the next 5 years. This important next step is planned to begin in June 2011.

I believe every student can, should and will learn.

As Minister for Education, my mandate, in the simplest of terms, is to do all that I can do to help students, teachers and school leaders succeed.

My continuing commitment is to listen, communicate and promote dialogue and synergy, leading with passion, and championing a positive and strategic direction for our education system.

Hon. Rolston Anglin, JP