Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2008-2009 Week 1 Hansard (10 December) . . Page.. 208..
MR BARR (continuing):
quite clear in the advice they provided around accepting provisional enrolment. It is unfortunate if students' elective choices at other schools are being affected, but that actually would go to highlight the point in relation to why years 8 to 10 cannot go ahead at Kingsford Smith. With a year 10 program with six students, there would be no electives, because you simply cannot offer the range of elective choices with six students.
Again, no-one is arguing that those year levels should be offered at Kingsford Smith, given the level of interest expressed. I certainly would agree that it is unfortunate if students' elective choices have been impacted, and I will seek advice from the schools where those students are enrolled to see if it is possible to address their concerns around electives, because it would be unfortunate if students were not able to get into the electives of their choice. I am not sure that I would agree with Mr Doszpot's example. I think sewing was the example he used—that there is anything wrong with sewing and that it should be used in a disparaging way. I think I myself might have undertaken some home economic studies at high school, and I don't think it is inappropriate for students to be undertaking that sort of study. But, of course, I do recognise that if that is not a subject that a student is particularly interested in, it may not be the most engaging piece of learning for them. But I don't think it is reasonable to use it in the disparaging way that the shadow minister just has.
MR SPEAKER: Mr Doszpot, a supplementary?
MR DOSZPOT: Mr Speaker, I take offence. I did not use it in any disparaging order at all. I was simply—
MR SPEAKER: Order! Mr Doszpot, no preamble or comments. Straight to the question, please.
MR DOSZPOT: Minister, what action will you take to minimise the inconvenience to the students who had provisionally enrolled in years 8, 9 and 10 at Kingsford Smith school and their parents? And I compliment you on sticking to the proper answer before you diverged in a very insignificant way.
MR SPEAKER: Order, Mr Doszpot!
MR BARR: I thank the shadow minister for his advice on answering questions. Given the situation and the unfortunate circumstances, as I indicated yesterday, and have publicly on a number of occasions, it is disappointing that there were not sufficient enrolments. It certainly would have been preferable for there to be sufficient enrolments and for the school to have operated across all those year levels. So I certainly apologise to anyone who has been inconvenienced. The education department and the relevant schools have undertaken to work with the students and the parents affected, to ensure that the full educational opportunities that our magnificent public education system provide are available to all of those students, and individual support will be available through the schools and the department.
Given the advice that the shadow minister has provided around electives, I will certainly seek to follow up with the department and the schools in relation to what could be done to ensure that students are able to access, if not necessarily the electives