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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 01 Hansard (Thursday, 3 December 2020) . . Page.. 189 ..

These language options also served students from Weetangera Primary School who, likewise, studied French, and Florey Primary School, where students learnt Indonesian, creating a seamless education pathway.

But no more. Both French and Indonesian have been dropped from the curriculum of Belconnen High School, essentially throwing up a roadblock to language learning for students from all three primary schools in the priority enrolment area. This decision has caught families by surprise and disappointed many young learners. It also violates the ACT government’s Curriculum Requirements in ACT Public Schools policy, which mandates that all high schools in the territory must provide students in years 7 and 8 with at least 150 hours of instruction each week in one or more of eight priority languages, which include French, German, Italian, Spanish, Indonesian, Japanese, Mandarin and/or Korean.

I pause here to make it very clear that families are not opposed to the new curriculum that has replaced the teaching of French and Indonesian at Belconnen High School. To the contrary, they speak highly of it, but they cannot understand why the introduction of new and welcome teaching must mean the end of important other parts of the school’s offerings, ones that are actually mandated by government policy.

I take this opportunity to raise the concerns of these families and call upon Minister Berry to fix this problem before the new school year begins. I hope that she cares about this matter, not just because she is the minister for education but also because she is meant to represent the Ginninderra electorate too.

My very best wishes to all for a happy and safe holiday.


MR CAIN (Ginninderra) (4.04): I thought I would like to share something light-hearted with you all and then something on the more serious side. I am sorry that not everyone is here, particularly for the first bit.

I would like to tell a joke. I had my special moment yesterday with my inaugural speech, and I would like to think that this is my special moment for today. The story goes like this. Twenty-five MLAs walk into a bar. Because I said 25, that means the Chief Minister is part of that Assembly. If I said that 24 MLAs walked into a bar, it would have a different meaning. That is not the joke yet. Twenty-five MLAs walk into a bar. You would have thought one of them would have seen it.

On the more serious side, whether people are watching here or not, whether they are watching virtually or not, I would like people to reflect on the first syllable in Christmas and what that has meant in our culture and society, going back approximately 2,020 years. Hopefully, you might think it means something to you. It certainly does to me.

Education—class of 2020

MS CASTLEY (Yerrabi) (4.06): I take this opportunity to speak of one group of very special Canberrans, to pay tribute to a select category who number in their thousands,

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