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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 1 December 2021) . . Page.. 3957 ..

We have been doing that work since August, since the report was released, because the ACT government—

Mr Hanson: On a point of order on relevance, Madam Speaker, the question is a simple one: how often are classes split in ACT schools? I ask that the minister be directly relevant.

MADAM SPEAKER: The minister is talking about a process addressing the issues the review raised. I think she is relevant, but she has a minute left and she may provide more detail.

MS BERRY: Thank you, Madam Speaker. In partnership with the Australian Education Union we have set up this task force to understand the issues that have been identified in the survey with the support of the union and the members they represent—our teacher professionals in ACT public schools.

It is really important to understand and hear from teachers directly through their union about the issues and dig a little deeper into the survey responses to understand completely the kinds of things our teaching workforce are experiencing. We have been doing that work since August, and it seems like the Canberra Liberals have just discovered that that survey exists.

MS LAWDER: What resources are available for those students with special needs when split classes occur?

MS BERRY: I refer the member to my previous answer—that this is work the ACT government is doing in partnership with the Australian Education Union. We are not making up anything here; we have been paying very close attention to this work from the moment the survey was released in August. We have set the task force up. Those meetings have been occurring. The Education Union is representing the interests of their members through the task force, which has been agreed to by them.

It is a genuine attempt by the ACT government and the Australian Education Union to understand the issues that have been raised by teacher professionals in our public schools in that survey rather than waiting for months down the track to start trying to score political points or ask questions about a survey that has been around for a while. It is not a new thing; it has been around for a few months now.

The ACT government has been getting on with the work, valuing and listening to our teaching professionals and the issues they have raised and starting the work on making a difference for the work loads of teachers in our schools, understanding what we need to do around attraction, retention and workload. This is not an issue that is confined to the ACT, but the ACT government is absolutely committed to doing that work. That is proven through the work we are already doing now through the task force.

MR HANSON: Minister, why do you not know or why does your directorate not know how many classes are split and how often, and can you complain what impact this is having on ACT students?

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