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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2014 Week 13 Hansard (Wednesday, 26 November 2014) . . Page.. 4076 ..

As an example, the survey asks parents how they obtain information on schools in the ACT, whether or not they would like a smart phone app to enable communication with schools, their opinion on school uniforms, and how important issues such as teacher quality and discipline are in the perception of their school.

We have a high quality, high performing public education system here in Canberra and parental engagement is a key factor in making it even stronger. Parent surveys such as this are good tools to test ideas and seek feedback from our parent and carer communities. I urge parents and carers who have not yet done so to take the survey and to let us know what they think. We will use the feedback from this survey to help frame government policy on public education and support decision making at a school level.

I am proud to say that parents and carers in the ACT are spoilt for choice. We have a wonderful public education system here and a very good non-government education system as well. This survey will go a long way to help us improve the way we engage with parents and carers, and to better understand their needs.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, what has been the response to the survey so far?

MS BURCH: The response to the survey so far has been very strong indeed. As I understand, over 1,200 responses have been received so far, and completed surveys are still coming in. Our schools have done a good job in circulating the survey to their parents and families and encouraging them to participate in this important piece of parental engagement. It is pleasing that our school and parent communities have embraced this opportunity to give feedback on our priority to serve them better.

While the strong result is pleasing, I must say that I am not surprised by the level of interest and activity. Since becoming minister for education just over two years ago I have visited just over half of our schools, including 54 ACT public schools. At every school I have always been impressed by the willingness of parents and teachers to engage in conversations about how we make our system better for all students. The strength of the response that this survey has generated indicates to me the willingness of parents, principals and school staff to work together to make our systems even better.

It is clear that we have a very engaged and well-informed parent community and I look forward to working with them to implement exciting reforms and improvements across our already excellent system.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Berry.

MS BERRY: Minister, how will the government use this information to ensure that our public schools better communicate with parents about what matters most to them?

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