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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 13 Hansard (28 November) . . Page.. 4966 ..


Mr Coe interjecting

MS BERRY: You can laugh about it all you like, Mr Coe, but this government is about ensuring that our schools are inclusive places for all of our students, our children, regardless of what they come to school with, as far as their backgrounds or circumstances are concerned, and that our teachers and school staff have every right to return home safely from their place of work. The ACT government has led the nation on this work, and we will continue to lead the nation on this work. It is a very complicated and complex issue, but we are getting on with the job of ensuring that both of those rights are assured.

MISS C BURCH: Minister, why did the 2012 ACT public service-wide policy on managing occupational violence not provide adequate direction for education staff?

MS BERRY: I have spoken a number of times—and I am happy to continue to speak—about the complications of a human services workforce that is sometimes required to deal with issues that can lead to exposure to occupational violence. Our schools are inclusive environments and that means that sometimes people will come into our schools with behaviours that expose some people to violence in the workplace.

Unfortunately that has led to a culture within human services systems, like schools, where staff feel that they might be letting somebody down if they report an incident that might have occurred. The government is changing the culture within that environment to say that it is okay because part of their job is to ask for help. It is not a judgement on their ability or their profession to ask for help to ensure that every child gets the support they need and for teachers to be provided with the training and support they need to support every child in our schools.

Education—community schools

MRS KIKKERT: My question is to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development. Minister, regarding the proposal for community schools mentioned in your future of education statement, how will community schools differ from current ACT public schools?

MS BERRY: Our ACT government public schools are already very inclusive places and already have a number of partnerships with communities, businesses and sporting organisations. What this strategy will look at is what are the best kinds of community school models that currently exist in our schools, programs that we could pilot in our schools to strengthen these relationships that lead to better outcomes, particularly for those students who are disadvantaged or who come from vulnerable backgrounds.

MRS KIKKERT: Minister, will your proposed community schools have more of a say about the curriculum, subjects and associated activities than existing schools?

MS BERRY: I think that there is an assumption that there will be some new schools created as a result of this strategy. What this strategy is creating are opportunities to


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