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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 12 Hansard (Tuesday, 26 October 2010) . . Page.. 5016 ..

Indigenous Education Advisory Council, I will be hosting a forum to involve Indigenous communities and sporting organisations to further explore how engagement with sport can enhance engagement with schooling.

We know from considerable research in this country, in this city and, indeed, around the world that engagement in extracurricular activities, in things like sport and the performing arts and in other areas of a rich and diverse school curriculum, can improve literacy and numeracy outcomes considerably. We know that that evidence is there. We are now able to target our assistance and change the way we deliver our services to improve outcomes—

Mr Hanson: Why cut the six literacy and numeracy positions?

MR BARR: because not everything is working at the moment. And when things are not working, intelligent people look at why and seek to make changes. They do not just throw cheap slogans across the chamber—

Mr Hanson: This is about an enhancement, is it? It’s not about an efficiency dividend?

MR BARR: like our Hansonites over here.

MS HUNTER: A supplementary, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Yes, Ms Hunter.

MS HUNTER: Minister, given the report indicates the year 7 and year 5 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander student participation rate was below that of their non-Indigenous classmates or on the decline, why is this and what is being done to address the participation rates?

MR BARR: Again, I want to sound a note of caution because, given the small cohort, one or two students not participating dramatically changes the percentages as reported in NAPLAN. Having said that, of course we want to see more students, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, engaging in the NAPLAN process. It is an important diagnostic tool for teachers. We are, of course, analysing the data from the 2010 NAPLAN testing. For the first time it gives us a measure of progress because the students who were tested in 2010 were also tested in 2008. So we are able to see that measure of progress from year 3 to year 5, from year 5 to year 7 and from year 7 to year 9.

This is the first time the education system has had this level of data available to it. It is the first time that schools or classroom teachers have had this level of data. We can work with schools to appropriately interpret this data and identify those individual students. In a jurisdiction of our size, when working with those students—and classroom teachers working with those students—when working with parents and when working as an education community, we can make a difference, and the government is determined to do so.

MR HANSON: A supplementary, Mr Speaker?

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