Page 737 - Week 03 - Tuesday, 5 April 2022

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states that a maximum of 32 students can be in a class for years 7 to 9, with 30 students the maximum for year 10. Minister, can the school comply with these class sizes, given the teacher shortage?

MS BERRY: That is exactly the work that the Education Directorate has been doing across the first part of this term, to ensure that schools do have the staff to be able to operate and deliver face-to-face education. When they cannot, the school might move to remote education for parts of that school whilst we are going through a health pandemic where teacher shortages, unfortunately, occur as a result of COVID.

MS LAWDER: Minister, can you guarantee that all schools can comply with maximum class sizes across the ACT, given the teacher shortage?

MS BERRY: Madam Speaker, it just confounds me that the opposition have not been hearing anything that has been going on. I wonder where they have been for the last 2½ years. There is an international health pandemic which is impacting and is already an issue within our schools around a teacher shortage. It means that we are experiencing extraordinary shortages in teaching and school staff.

Ms Lee: Can you say that you are going to comply with the WorkSafe order? That is what it says: 32.

MADAM SPEAKER: Members, please!

MS BERRY: At the moment, and whilst we continue to go through this pandemic and work through this pandemic together, of course we cannot guarantee—that is why we have these systems in place, to ensure that when there are teacher shortages schools can return to remote education for parts of that school to ensure that those schools are safe. That has been the case from the start of this year as we manage our school systems.

MR HANSON: Minister, how many teachers are we short in the ACT in order to meet maximum class size requirements?

MS BERRY: I have been asked a question just like this during one of the last sitting periods by Mr Hanson, where I said that there was one permanent position vacant at the start of this term. That has been the case. However, of course teachers take leave for various reasons and, unfortunately, that leave and teacher absence has been exacerbated as a result of COVID.

Calwell High School—safety

MR MILLIGAN: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education. The union has said, “The fact that it takes a staff member to be seriously injured and the intervention of an external regulator to provide a degree of safety for the staff and students at Calwell High School demonstrates a lack of care on the part of Education Directorate.” Minister, what is being done to mitigate violence in this school, and how will that be demonstrated that to Worksafe?

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