|Parliamentary education resources and programs.
|Curriculum-aligned programs for students and teachers are delivered onsite, offsite and digitally to encourage ongoing engagement with Australia’s parliament.
Feedback from teachers using Parliamentary Education Office services shows very high levels of satisfaction with the education program.
Teaching programs were consistently conducted in accordance with the booking schedule.
|Relevant and accurate print and digital resources are produced that explore the role and value of the Australian Parliament and illuminate the aims and achievement standards of the Australian Curriculum.
||Parliamentary Education Office websites and publications are updated and refreshed regularly to ensure accuracy.
|Provision of a range of resources and services that facilitate parliamentarian engagement with the community in order to increase citizen understanding of and engagement with Parliament.
||Senators and members are satisfied with the provision of services and support.
Jointly funded by the Department of the Senate and the Department of the House of Representatives, the Parliamentary Education Office (PEO) delivers parliamentary education services to students, teachers and others across Australia. To date, more than 2 million students have expanded their knowledge of the Australian Parliament through participating in a PEO program.
In addition to operational management from both departments, the PEO is guided by the PEO Advisory Committee. The committee is comprised of interested members and senators, meets twice a year and reports to the Presiding Officers.
The full-time equivalent staffing level for the PEO in 2019–20 was 11.4 (in 2018–19 the FTE staffing level was 10.6.) The cost of providing the service of the PEO in 2019–20 was $1.6m (compared to $1.6m in 2018–19).
Education programs: onsite, digital and outreach
The PEO delivers education programs onsite at Parliament House, in classrooms across Australia through its outreach program, and digitally through video conferencing and is recognised as a leader in civics and citizenship education in Australia. School visits to Parliament House were greatly reduced in this reporting period by the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2019–20, 61,344 students from 1,167 schools across Australia participated in onsite PEO programs. These figures represent a 35 per cent decrease on 2018–19 student participation rates.
In 2019–20, the PEO delivered outreach to 967 participants from 12 schools in two states, Queensland and Tasmania. Additional outreach planned for the 2020 calendar year was cancelled due to travel restrictions imposed due to the pandemic.
The PEO continues to increase the number of students and teachers who take part in a video conferencing program, with 3,036 participants in this reporting period. This increase of over 134 per cent on 2018–19 participation rates is attributable to the restrictions imposed due to the pandemic. The PEO scaled up its delivery of programs via videoconference, and in the last four months of the financial year delivered 72 sessions to 1,893 students. By bringing video conferencing to the forefront of program delivery, the PEO maintained services to students and teachers to the fullest extent possible and is well positioned to continue, and strengthen, digital engagement in the next reporting period.
Content: online and print
PEO websites provide information about parliament and curriculum-aligned teaching resources for all Australian teachers and students. In October 2019, the PEO’s redeveloped main website was launched and user testing indicates accessibility, navigation and search functionality all work particularly well for intended audiences. In 2019–20 a total of 916,318 users (representing 2.29 million unique page views) were recorded.
The PEO also produced and distributed a range of publications during the reporting period, including the redeveloped Parliament in Pictures and Australia’s Constitution pocket edition, produced in partnership with the Australian Government Solicitor.
Services for members and senators
The PEO provides dedicated support to encourage and assist senators and members to engage with schools and students. Senators and members are offered a complimentary annual allocation of education and information materials for students, teachers and others in their communities. Senators and members can also request a tailored brochure, Representing You, to assist them when explaining their work as an elected representative. In 2019–20, 150 parliamentarians requested their allocation, which is generally comparable to previous years.
Over the next reporting period, the PEO will follow all relevant health and other advice to safely resume face-to-face programming and reintroduce school visits to Parliament House, noting that a great deal of flexibility will be required. The PEO will also continue to promote video conferencing programs as a method to engage students and teachers who are unable to visit Canberra.
Through the ongoing provision of high calibre digital and print content for parliamentarians, teachers and students, the PEO will continue to provide quality parliamentary education services for citizens across the country.