Page 842 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 6 April 2022

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I know from my visits to Calwell High School that staff at the school are hardworking and care deeply about their students and public education. The students at Calwell are passionate and enthusiastic about creating a vibrant and inclusive school environment. I know that they are doing it tough at the moment, and I want them to know that we will do whatever it takes to ensure that Calwell High School is a safe learning environment for all.

Finally, I would like to acknowledge and to thank teachers, staff, students and families at Calwell High and across all ACT public schools for their resilience and support through term 1 as we continue to face and respond to these difficult circumstances. I would also like to thank unions, principals and the P&C Council for continuing to work collaboratively with the government to produce the best possible outcomes for our school communities in the face of these unprecedented times. I move the amendment that has been circulated in my name:

Omit all text after “this Assembly notes that”, substitute:

“(a) teachers and staff in ACT public schools have been working incredibly hard to deliver high quality education to Canberra families through the COVID-19 pandemic;

(b) the ACT Government values their work, and recognises this by offering the highest remuneration for public school teachers in the country;

(c) Table 4A.14 in the latest Productivity Commission Report on Government Services shows that ACT Government funding for public schools is the highest, per student, in the country (with the exception of the Northern Territory);

(d) the ACT Government is delivering on its election commitment to hire more than 400 teachers and support staff over this term of government;

(e) the ACT Government is also delivering on its election commitment to invest $99 million over four years to renew public school infrastructure;

(f) in the 2021-22 Budget, the ACT Government announced an additional 25 youth and social workers will be employed in ACT public schools at a cost of $7.4 million over the next four years to provide early intervention and support for students and their families;

(g) the ACT Government has invested in expanding telehealth services access to psychosocial supports in ACT public schools;

(h) WorkSafe ACT issued notices to the Education Directorate regarding Calwell High School, and the Directorate is complying with those notices;

(i) the routine collapsing and combining of classes, including creating oversized classes, is unacceptable and potentially unsafe;

(j) in response to feedback from unions, the Education Directorate has introduced a suite of workload reduction strategies to help ease the burden going into term 2; and

(k) the Standing Committee on Education and Community Inclusion is currently inquiring into the management of ACT school infrastructure and the ACT Auditor-General’s Report No 6/2021—Teaching Quality in ACT Public Schools; and

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