Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2022 Week 12 Hansard (Wednesday, 30 November 2022) . . Page.. 4041 ..
MR CAIN: Minister, when will the next Suburban Land Agency release for single blocks take place, where will the land be? How many blocks will be offered?
MS BERRY: I will take that question on notice.
MR HANSON: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education.
Minister, I refer to reports that schools in Canberra’s north and west are scheduled to become overcrowded. A five-year forecast of enrolments has identified 19 public schools, most in the ACT’s north, where demand will approach or exceed the available teaching space, with a 17 per cent increase in demand expected. Minister, how will these schools cope, when they are all currently overcrowded, understaffed and under resourced?
MS BERRY: I absolutely disagree with the premise of the last part of Mr Hanson’s question about schools in the ACT being under-resourced or understaffed. That is certainly not the case, and I reject the premise of that part of his question. Yes, of course, we are seeing growth in the ACT, and it should be no surprise that there are children who are in our primary schools right now who will be teenagers one day. And that means that we will have teenagers in our school system, who currently are primary school students, who will then enter into our high school system. I have repeatedly referred in this space to how education plans for growth within our schools—
Mr Hanson: I have a point of order. My question is not asking for an explanation of when the children will become teenagers; it is asking how these schools will cope. The minister has not been directly relevant to that.
MADAM SPEAKER: The minister still has time in her answer, so she is in order.
MS BERRY: As I was saying, I was referring to the work that the Education Directorate does with the Australian National University to understand where there is growth so that we can make adjustments across our system, whether that is new schools or growing our existing schools, and whether or not we need to change public enrolment arrangements across the city to adjust where students can attend school.
That has been the case in this city since the beginning of time—since well before self-government—about managing growth within our schools and within our community. It is an exciting time for our schools that we are experiencing such growth within our public school system across the city, and we want to make sure that our public schools meet the needs of every family, and that every family has a space within their local public school.
MR HANSON: Minister, will you rule out using hallways, staff rooms and libraries as teaching spaces, as has already happened in many other schools across the ACT?