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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2005 Week 11 Hansard (Thursday, 22 September 2005) . . Page.. 3532 ..


research on the educational benefits of middle schooling. Details of the projected school enrolments for the whole of Canberra for 2005 to 2010 were included.

This is the information that the community has asked for. The community has asked many questions and the government has published a booklet answering frequently asked questions. The booklet was delivered to every letterbox in the west Belconnen area, is available at the school and was handed out at the Kippax shopping fair on Friday nights during September. Finally, the Ginninderra high school P&C has been, understandably, very vocal in its questioning of the proposal. It put to the minister for education a number of questions and all of them, every single one, has been answered and published in full on the web site.

Just this week, I was able to outline in the Assembly some of the great results that the ACT education system has produced in national and international awards. I outlined outstanding results achieved in literacy and numeracy and maths and science, not just in comparison with other jurisdiction in Australia but in international comparisons, including a first ranking in the world, in concert with Singapore and Taipei, in relation to year 4 maths and science.

We all know that the ACT leads the nation in education. We have always known that and we accept it. We are not complacent about it and we strive to maintain our position. We match the best schools in the world on a jurisdiction basis, not Australia as a whole. The rest of the nation pulls us down, but when we extract the performance of the ACT educationally from that of the rest of Australia and compare ourselves against the leading jurisdictions in the world in science and maths, which are Singapore and Taipei, we match it with them. We produce the best outcomes in the world in the ACT.

The families of students who attend ACT government schools are, of course, pleased with those results, as shown in the surveys of parents and carers. The latest survey shows that 95 per cent of parents believe that things their children are learning are relevant to their needs and 96 per cent of parents believe that they have had the opportunity to be involved to the level they wish in school activities. This community satisfaction and community involvement in schools is a hallmark of the ACT public education system. It is reinforced by the community involvement and the consultation being undertaken over the proposal for Ginninderra district high school. As the proposal proceeds, there will be many more opportunities for the community to get involved in the design phase and ultimately in the operations of the proposed new school.

The government’s proposal for west Belconnen is one of renewal and innovation. It is not the only area where this government is moving on these fronts. Our curriculum renewal project, much derided by Mrs Dunne, is just one further example. Mrs Dunne’s criticisms on both fronts should be seen for what they truly are: ill informed, completely irresponsible, entirely contradictory and alarmist drivel. Let us take a closer look at Mrs Dunne on curricular renewal. In her media and other comments on the public record and elsewhere—

Mrs Dunne: I take a point of order, Mr Speaker, on relevance. This debate is about the development of Ginninderra district high school. I am quite happy to have a debate about curriculum renewal. We had one the other day.


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