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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 1 Hansard (9 February) . . Page.. 49..


MR SPEAKER: Ms Le Couteur.

MS LE COUTEUR: Minister, can you advise the Assembly whether, since the release of this data, schools in the ACT have been approached by parents wishing to take their children out of the so-called underperforming schools?

MR BARR: I have received no such advice from the education department. I understand that, at the beginning of the school year, there are some movements between schools. That occurs normally. Some students do not settle in to a new school immediately or they find that, once they have been there for a couple of weeks, it is not the school for them and they do move. That is a normal occurrence.

The insinuations that have been made by some, which would see a massive shift in enrolments in the ACT, certainly have not occurred in the first few weeks of school. I think we need only look at the experience in other Australian jurisdictions, most particularly Tasmania where this information has been publicly available for some time and did not lead to a massive change in enrolments.

What it does is provide very clear evidence for government, for education departments and for schools about where to direct resources. If there is one thing we can be absolutely certain of as a result of this information being publicly available, it is that the debate in this country about where resources in education should be delivered is now over. We know where the extra resources ought to go. Overwhelmingly, it is to the public and Catholic systems. In the context of the ACT, it is predominantly into the public system. That is why it is pleasing to see the commonwealth government, for the first time in quite some time, invest more money in ACT public schools through a range of national partnerships that I am sure we will be talking about more over the course of 2010.

Education—literacy and numeracy

MS PORTER: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training. Would the minister outline the steps the government is taking to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes for ACT students?

MR BARR: I am pleased that Ms Porter raised this matter and we did not have to wait too long to talk more about literacy and numeracy in this territory. Last year the government introduced a five-year literacy and numeracy strategy. This strategy recognises the expertise, commitment and professionalism of our teachers and our school leaders. It builds on the practices in literacy and numeracy that have led to the ACT's high national and international standing. It acknowledges the crucial role of principals and school leaders in improving school effectiveness. It recognises the challenges that schools face in meeting the diverse needs of all of their students and recognises that all schools identify and support students in need of specific attention. It recognises the importance of new technologies and their evolving role in assisting students to learn and to demonstrate their literacy and numeracy capabilities.

The new strategy is based on an understanding that all teachers are teachers of literacy and numeracy and that a combination of literacy and numeracy strategies and


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