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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008 Week 3 Hansard (1 April) . . Page.. 735..


MR BARR (continuing):

Next week—

this is the letter from last week—

the Department of Education and Training representatives will attend our school Board meeting to share and consult with us regarding the transition options available.

Please do not hesitate to call me with your concerns and rest assured that I will be doing my very best to make our transition a smooth and successful one.

Hazel McFadden,

Principal

Let me make it very clear that significant work will occur on the Lyons site, as will occur on the other sites that will become early childhood schools. The vast majority of that work will occur over the Christmas holiday period when there are no students in the school. However, there is a requirement for some preparatory work to be undertaken prior to the intensive work that will occur over the Christmas holiday period. Our desire is to communicate with those school communities that are affected.

It is worth noting at this point that, as a result of the government's $350 million investment, there have been renewal projects occurring in every public school in the ACT—much needed renewal work occurring across our entire public education system. We seek to have the vast majority of that work—like the work at Lyons—occur during school holiday periods. But from time to time it is unavoidable.

No decision has been taken around the commencement of work at Lyons. That is what the meeting on Thursday night is to talk to the local community about—to consult. Heaven forbid that we are consulting! Following that consultation we will work with the Lyons school community to minimise any disruption that will occur during school time.

I can give an absolute guarantee that the programs at Lyons will continue. I have advice from the project management team that there will be the capacity for the school programs to continue on the second level of the two-storey building whilst work is undertaken on the first floor. The bulk of the work necessary to have this school ready for its new life as an early childhood school—part of a network of five dedicated early childhood schools to commence the 2009 school year—will be undertaken during school holidays when there are no students at the school.

That is a very sensible, commonsense approach to ensure that the impact of the renovation work required is minimised on the school community. We are continuing—that is how this issue became public—to consult with the school community. That meeting will occur on Thursday night.

MR SESELJA: Minister, will you rule out similar disruptions at other schools which are converting to P-2 or, indeed, any government schools in the ACT?


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