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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 2 Hansard (20 March) . . Page.. 639..

from the police on this matter, I am very happy to arrange it. That is the appropriate way to manage these matters. I think all members of ACT Policing would take deep offence at the suggestion that is implied in those questions, that somehow police are not doing enough. They are putting a big effort into this particular matter and I have every confidence in their investigations.

Education—parental engagement

MR GENTLEMAN: My question is to the minister for education and refers to a report in the Canberra Times that the government has contracted the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth to conduct a project to enhance parental engagement. Minister, can you outline for the Assembly the details of this project and how it will lift the bar for education in the ACT?

MS BURCH: I thank Mr Gentleman for this question. As reported in the Canberra Times today, we have committed to a partnership with the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth—or ARACY—on a project to improve the level of parental engagement across ACT public, Catholic and independent schools.

We know that student learnings are improved when parents and school staff work together and that parents play a critical role in their children's education. Parents are their children's first and most influential educators. Parent and family engagement is crucial in supporting children's academic success.

It is for this reason that when I addressed the education leaders last year, I made it very clear that I wanted to build a genuine partnership between parents, students and teachers. A child's learning does not just take place at school but also in the home and with families. Families must feel able and welcome to help in their sons or daughters' education if we are to truly unlock their true potential and to lift the bar of our education system.

This project is part of the ambition of this government to deliver parental engagement in every ACT school and to make sure that every school in the ACT is seen as being central and integral to their communities.

The ACT parental engagement project will focus on primary school children and will be delivered in two stages. The first will involve developing a shared understanding of parental engagement and benchmarking current levels of engagement in the ACT. This will begin very shortly. It will be followed by a survey across selected public, Catholic and independent schools.

The second stage will identify what works best to strengthen parental engagement. This will focus on the development of resources that support teachers, schools and parents to implement best practice parental engagement. The key to positive change in a child's academic attainment is, indeed, the engagement of parents in learning in the home. By improving this engagement we will continue delivering an education system that is both high performing and tailored to every family's needs.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Mr Gentleman.

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