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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 08 Hansard (Tuesday, 14 August 2018) . . Page.. 2880 ..

The Molonglo Valley has more young families moving in every day. Many children living in Molonglo are enrolled in our fantastic new P-6 Charles Weston School in Coombs. Our government is taking responsible steps to plan and prepare for the future growth of the area, with funding in the budget for new and expanded schools.

Our commitment at the election was to build the P-10 school in Molonglo in two stages, with the high school stage completed in 2022. That is exactly what we are doing. The budget funds $47 million to build a new P-6 school and funding is also provided for the planning of a high school at the same campus that will cater for the future cohort of high school aged students across Molonglo.

High schools require a certain number of students in order to offer the diverse range of programs that are expected of them. That is why there is funding for the necessary planning work to ensure that the high school will be built commensurate with population growth.

As outlined in the 2018 budget, the new Molonglo primary school will be located in Denman Prospect. It will provide places for 600 students from preschool to year 6, as well as 44 preschoolers. I joined minister for education Yvette Berry on site for the announcement. I can say that the school is perched on a hill with amazing views across the whole of the Molonglo Valley.

Murrumbidgee’s newest modern and sustainable school will join our world-leading education system and will provide high quality, modern learning environments that combine the use of both indoor and outdoor learning areas. The school will also include integrated spaces to help support students with special needs.

It is expected that the primary school at Denman Prospect will be ready to accept students from the start of the 2020-21 school year. The new site will also incorporate space for expansion into the future as the Molonglo Valley continues to grow. Of course, it will also be complemented by the release of a non-government school site in Molonglo in future years.

Our government understands that one of the most vital investments that our budget delivers is greater support for the wellbeing of Canberra students. At the election we committed to providing more school psychologists. We funded five last year and I am pleased that in this year’s budget we will employ a further 15 full-time psychologists by the start of the 2020 school year to ensure that young people’s mental health and wellbeing continue to be supported.

This commitment, of course, followed the 2015 schools report. Although it identified a recommended 1 to 500 ratio, it also noted that rather than simply recruiting psychologists it may be helpful to complement the existing numbers of psychologists with social workers and other allied health professionals in the school counselling roles to build a multidisciplinary team approach and to meet recommended ratios. I note that, if you combine all of those multidisciplinary roles together, by 2020 we will have a ratio of about 1 to 483 students.

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