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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2007 Week 5 Hansard (30 May) . . Page.. 1207..


MR BARR (continuing):

harassment and violence that pose an immediate threat to the safety of students and staff. Issues—such as the ones that have been in the Canberra Times recently—that are out-and-out assaults occurring on school grounds are appropriately referred to the police.

MR MULCAHY: Mr Speaker, I ask a supplementary question. Minister, what studies or surveys have been undertaken in recent years in relation to bullying in ACT government schools?

MR BARR: There have been a variety of such studies and work undertaken. "Studies"is perhaps not the best term to describe it but a variety of measures and programs are in place. Some have been trialled across different schools and different settings. A school-based management system and the rights of school boards to set individual policies within the broader education framework provide the opportunity for schools to tailor packages to meet the needs of their individual communities. So there are a variety of programs in place.

I particularly want to highlight the restorative practices that are being run. In particular I would like to highlight the work of the Charnwood-Dunlop school, which has received some media interest. There were significant issues at that school only four or five years ago that have been turned around in a most magnificent way by the school community as a result of instituting restorative practices. That was as a result of consultation with the school community and of discussions at a school board level and a parents and citizens level.

If you are talking about "tick a box"survey work, I will have to take that part of your question on notice. I am not entirely sure whether there has been that level of survey carried out but I do know that within school communities these issues have been addressed at a board level and at a P&C level. So to the extent that parental opinion and student opinion within a school is sought, yes that does occur. But whether it is in the form I think you are getting at in terms of ABS-style data surveys, I am not entirely sure. I will have to take that part of the question on notice. But I am certainly aware that school communities go to great lengths to address these issues from the smorgasbord of polices and programs that are available and the best practice that occurs in Australia and around the world. They are looking to apply policies that work effectively in individual schools. There are some fantastic examples.

I would encourage Mr Mulcahy to have a look at the transcripts of some of the hearings from Ms Porter's committee which is looking at just these issues, particularly around restorative practices. They are working very effectively, and none more effectively than at the Charnwood-Dunlop school. The fantastic turnaround that has been achieved is testimony to the principal at that school, to all of the staff, the school board and the school P&C. It has been an amazing effort. They have completely turned that school around and they are seeing fantastic enrolment growth. They have a fantastic school—one that the ACT government supports very strongly.

Policing

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the Minister for Police and Emergency Services. Minister, can you inform the Assembly of progress on implementing the


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