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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 10 Hansard (Tuesday, 21 September 2010) . . Page.. 4241 ..

As I have said many times before, the old public versus private debate in education is over, at least for those on this side of the chamber. That is why I am pleased that one of the key findings of Professor Shaddock’s review was a greater emphasis on cross-sectoral collaboration. It is another way of saying that we can learn from each other’s schools and work more closely together to turn possible failures into outstanding successes.

This is important because we all face the same challenge in disability education—how to get better results for students with the resources available. In the last five years, the number of students accessing disability programs in ACT public schools rose by over 12 per cent, and I am sure there are similar patterns in non-government schools. Unfortunately, the resources available for disability education are not, as we all know, unlimited. That is why a strong partnership between government and non-government schools is so important. That is why I have established the new cross-sectoral disability education steering group to draw on the experiences of all schools and apply the lessons for the benefit of all students.

In consulting on this strategy, a draft plan was written and consultation regarding the draft occurred with the Disability Education Reference Group. The reference group includes parents and carers of students with a disability, the Australian Education Union, community-based disability support agencies, Disability ACT, Therapy ACT and school principals. The ACT Human Rights Commission and the chief executive officers of the Department of Disability, Housing and Community Services and ACT Health were also asked to comment on the strategy.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those involved, especially the Association of Independent Schools, the Catholic Education Office and the Department of Education and Training, for all of their hard work and dedication to students with a disability in all ACT schools.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

The Assembly adjourned at 4.48 pm.

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