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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 03 Hansard (Tuesday, 16 March 2010) . . Page.. 909 ..

autism and workshop and information sessions for parents and carers of school-aged children with autism. The second area is the student-centred appraisal of need. This process is used to appraise the additional resources needed by students with a disability to access and participate in their learning program. Although initially developed for use in the public school system, the Catholic Education Office has adopted it for use across Catholic schools. Under this partnership, the department trains the moderators for the Catholic Education Office, and joint meetings help to improve processes. The third area of support and collaboration between these two systems is in the delivery of professional learning for public and Catholic school teachers and learning support assistance. These help to ensure the best outcomes for students with a disability.

Merici college is celebrating, along with other schools, Catholic Schools Week for 2010, and I will be visiting this college this week for the community breakfast. It is one of 27 Catholic systemic schools registered in the ACT. Formerly known as Catholic Girls High, Braddon, this college was established in 1959 to educate young women in the Canberra region. It prides itself on being a technology-rich school built on traditions of best practice in girls’ education, supporting student needs and extending gifted students.

The college provides an example of how Catholic schools participate in educational programs coordinated by the public school sector and is supported by the ACT government. The college implements and participates in the ACT and commonwealth educational programs and priorities, such as the ACT curriculum framework called every chance to learn.

Catholic schools like this college benefit from collaborative approaches to the development of important documents and processes such as the curriculum framework. Catholic school staff participate in professional development with their public school colleagues. Merici college implements the ACT year 12 certificate and, as such, college teachers participate with their public school teachers in the moderation activities each year, ensuring a consistent approach to the assessment of students across all sectors.

The college’s parent council recently received funding from the ACT government as part of the parents and friends grants. This was to the tune of $15,000 from the ACT government. As a direct result of this funding, the college was able to improve its communication with parents, develop a website and an electronic bulletin which is sent to parents on a fortnightly basis—a tangible example of the cooperation and support provided to Catholic schools in the ACT.

As I said, I shall be attending the breakfast on Thursday morning and am looking forward to looking at the new canteen and the value of healthy food choices which are promoted through the canteen. I note that the menu has been prepared by the students enrolled in the vocational courses for hospitality and business administration studies, using locally sourced seasonal products, and issues such as waste control are being handled sustainably. I look forward to learning more about the college’s program and meeting the students and teachers. The college provides just one example of the excellent quality education provided by Catholic schools in Canberra. I congratulate them and am looking forward to joining them to celebrate Catholic Schools Week.

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