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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 14 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 4591..


SOCIAL POLICY - STANDING COMMITTEE
Report on School Without Walls

MS TUCKER (11.44): I present Report No. 3 of the Standing Committee on Social Policy entitled "The implications of the proposed restructure of the School Without Walls (SWOW) for the alternative education needs of secondary students in the ACT", which includes a dissenting report from Mr Hird, MLA, together with a copy of the extracts of the minutes of proceedings. I ask for leave to move a motion authorising the publication of the report.

Leave granted.

MS TUCKER: I move:

That the Assembly authorises the publication of Report No. 3 of the Standing Committee on Social Policy entitled "The implications of the proposed restructure of the School Without Walls (SWOW) for the alternative education needs of secondary students in the ACT".

Question resolved in the affirmative.

MS TUCKER: I move:

That the report be noted.

Mr Speaker, today I am very pleased to be able to table this report on the inquiry into the implications of the proposed restructure of the School Without Walls for the alternative education needs of secondary students in the ACT. The terms of reference included looking at the review process surrounding the proposed restructuring as well as the implications of this proposed restructure for the broader alternative education needs of secondary students in the ACT.

The committee chose to take on this inquiry in response to community concern that the review process had been unsatisfactory. The committee sought to gain clarification on a number of issues related to the review process and to the reasons for the review. The recommendations show that the committee indeed acknowledged particular concerns that were raised by the department and the Australian Education Union. The committee acknowledged these concerns by supporting the department's proposal to administratively link with another school and the need to further develop curriculum for younger students at SWOW. However, the committee was very concerned about the lack of thorough analysis done by the department before it proposed the so-called refocus of SWOW, particularly in relation to the relocation to Dickson College.

It must be kept in mind that for 23 years in the ACT governments have recognised the value of diversity in education by being flexible enough to support the School Without Walls. It is the only public alternative school for high school students. SWOW was seen to be valuable not only because it provided a place for development of an alternative education model, but also because it offered an educational opportunity for students who, for whatever reason, were not able to fit into mainstream schools.


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