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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 06 Hansard (Friday, 6 May 2005 2005) . . Page.. 1977 ..

local Indigenous communities. This has resulted in a closer relationship with the ACT Indigenous Education Consultative Body.

As I have mentioned, the Home School Liaison Officers are facilitating closer links between schools and Indigenous families through their program of home visits and associated meetings. During this reporting period, 209 visits were made by the Home School Liaison Officers where issues such as academic progress, attendance and home-school communication issues were discussed. It should be noted that whilst these visits are often of a corrective nature, the staff also take pride in sharing positive school stories and achievements with Indigenous families.

The Indigenous community continued their involvement with the Birrigai Outdoor School, especially in relation to the Leadership and Mentor Camp and the Birrigai Boys Program.

NAIDOC week again presents opportunities for schools to experience Indigenous culture and to forge stronger links with Indigenous families in the community. This is an important element in creating safe, supportive, welcoming and culturally inclusive educational and service environments.

The continued good work of the staff of the Koori Preschool programs in building relationships with Indigenous communities has resulted in a significant rise in the number of Indigenous children attending Koori preschools and mainstream preschools. Enrolments rose from 80 in August 2003, to 101 in August 2004.

During the reporting period the government allocated funding under the 2004-08 budget to extend the Koori Preschool program. This means that an additional 1.5 Classroom teachers and 1.5 preschool Indigenous Home School Liaison Officers will be employed.

Koori Preschool will expand from offering one session at four sites to two longer sessions at five sites. As a further result of this expansion, educational resources for loan by Indigenous families and an expanded program of support to Indigenous children in mainstream preschool settings are being developed.

In addition to this, the Government also allocated funding under the 2004-08 budget to extend the Indigenous Literacy and Numeracy Consultancy program. This will have the effect of increasing staff significantly for this important program.

While these additional resources will be primarily directed to supporting Indigenous students who fell into the lowest 20% in the Year 3 ACT Assessment Program results of 2004 it is anticipated that they will have a much wider role on impacting on Indigenous student Literacy and Numeracy.

I will report more on this in the tenth report to the Assembly when more quantitative information will be available.

These initiatives will also support other innovative programs such as the Birrigai Boys Program, the Indigenous College Transitions Officer Program and the Teachers of Indigenous Students Network, and will have positive effects on the educational outcomes of Indigenous students.

These are just some of the ways in which our schools are demonstrating their ongoing commitment to improving outcomes for Indigenous students and assisting

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