Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 4 May 2022) . . Page.. 1180 ..
MS BERRY: Our public schools are great schools and for the over 50,000 students that attend them they are safe and supportive environments.
Mr Hanson: On a point of order, on relevance. The question is a simple one as to how many teachers have reported an assault during their career at a school. I assume the directorate records that information. If the minister does not have it available she can take it on notice. She should not just say that because it is a ridiculous question that is a reason not to answer it.
MADAM SPEAKER: Mr Hanson, she is referring to incidents of assault and violence, as she has done on this question and others. She has a minute to provide more information. She is not out of order. I will give the minister the call if she has anything else to add.
MS BERRY: No, I am happy to take the supplementary.
DR PATERSON: Minister, can you outline how you have worked to encourage a positive reporting culture within ACT schools?
MS BERRY: When we implemented our occupational violence management plan and policy in the ACT since 2018-19, we have seen an increase in the number of reports of incidents in our schools. That has allowed the Education Directorate to work with school communities, including school principals, on how we can overcome and assess these incidences to ensure that our schools remain as safe as they possibly can and encourage that reporting culture, because there are no more supports that can be given to schools unless we know of the incidences that are occurring in those schools. That reporting culture has been supported by school principals and encouraged across their schools as well.
What we are seeing, and what we will continue to see, is a report of these incidences. These incidences can occur across the school community in a variety of different ways. They can include incidences of assault or violence such as swearing, kicking or pushing past teachers to more serious incidences that have been reported recently. Any incident of violence or assault in our schools is unacceptable. That is why we have a plan in place to address these, to work through them, to assess the nature of the violence, to stop the activity, the practice or the procedures that cause that incident to occur and then work with schools to provide the supports to the teaching and school staff or to the students and/or to the students and families, should they need it.
MR CAIN: My question is to the Minister for Education. Minister, I refer to an article in the Canberra Times titled ‘Teachers are leaving the system in droves, but no-one is listening’. This attracted a lot of attention and comment on the ACT teachers’ Facebook groups, particularly the following comments:
What they need is a system which gives them the resources, time and conditions which allow them to do what they love the most … teach.