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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 5 Hansard (15 May) . . Page.. 1597..

Looking to the future, I am looking to the findings of the reviews of the year 12 certificate and the progressing parental engagement program. I am sure that these reviews will give us valuable feedback about how we can further strengthen our public education system. I remain committed to this and will continue to work with teachers, principals and stakeholders to ensure that the ACT has the best education system in this country.

I take this opportunity to quickly thank the principals, teachers and all the staff at our schools that do a great job for our children each and every day of school term.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, can you highlight some more of the achievements in the last year for our public schools, their students and their teachers?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Berry for her question. Whilst I have said I see myself as minister for all schools, I will always be particularly proud to celebrate the achievement of our public school system. ACT schools continue to excel in national testing. As said, the latest NAPLAN results show us first or equal first across all of the 20 areas. Our outstanding students were recognised through our years 10 and 12 excellence awards. Once again, our students performed strongly in year 12 academic and vocational qualifications. Some 91 per cent of year 10 public school students in 2012 proceeded to college in 2013. Over 86 per cent of eligible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students enrolled in public schools achieved a year 12 certificate.

The cultural achievements of our students were also celebrated through the annual schools extravaganza—"Step into the Limelight"—which featured over 1,300 performers from 62 schools. Student Peter Alliott from Telopea Park was one of the two students who were winners of the Chief Minister's Anzac spirit prize and attended the dawn service at Gallipoli as well as visiting battlefield and cultural sites in Turkey.

The quality of our teachers has been recognised nationally. As I have mentioned before, Geoff McNamara and Kate Smith were recognised in national excellence in teaching awards. The annual public education excellence awards acknowledged the excellence of our school principals, teachers, support staff and volunteers and enabled winners to undertake further professional development in our schools. Whilst the principals and teachers are often recognised, the teaching assistants, the volunteers and even the facilities managers also play an important role in making sure that we have the excellent public education that we do.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, how have you been engaging with parents, families and other stakeholders of public education to make sure that ACT public schools are the best they can be?

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