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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 05 Hansard (Tuesday, 11 May 2021) . . Page.. 1264 ..

MS BERRY: No, and across the country there are schools that are significantly larger than those in the ACT. But, again, I direct Mr Parton to the expertise of our teaching professionals, because whilst a facility might have a very vibrant and full student community, it is the teaching professionals that make the difference every day to a child’s education. I have no advice that suggests that the size of a school affects a child’s education, but what does affect a child’s education is the professionalism of the teachers. That is why I will back the teachers in every day.

MS LEE: Minister, why has government school infrastructure not kept up with the numbers increasing?

MS BERRY: I do not agree with the premise of that question, because it has.


MR MILLIGAN: My question is to the minister for education. Minister, the ACT Auditor-General’s report 4 of 2017 established that only 10 per cent of principals found NAPLAN data to be not useful in supporting their decision-making. A comprehensive review of NAPLAN commissioned by the ACT, Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian governments, handed down in August 2020, concluded, with some changes, that “standardised assessment is important in Australian education and that it serves a variety of purposes”. You, however, are on the record as saying that NAPLAN is used to point out dumb students. Minister, why are you ignoring ACT school principals and experts with your ongoing attacks on NAPLAN?

MS BERRY: As usual, the opposition are picking and choosing the comments that they want to make in this place. With respect to what students perceive of themselves, because of the whole circus that occurs around NAPLAN results every single year, with politicians and academics pointing fingers here and there, it is definitely the perception that they form of themselves that they are not as successful if they do not do as well on a NAPLAN test.

For me, I depend on the expert advice of the teaching profession about what is best for education in our schools—

Mr Parton: Whatever the teachers say goes.

MS BERRY: Yes, exactly, Mr Parton. Whatever the teachers tell me, because they are the experts every day in providing a great education to their students. As I said before, I will back them every day over the kind of negativity that comes from the Canberra Liberals about how our schools perform here in the ACT.

MR MILLIGAN: Minister, why, in your area of responsibility, is NAPLAN becoming a circus?

MS BERRY: I just have to say to old mate over here, Mr Milligan—

MADAM SPEAKER: No. Minister, you will refer to him by his title.

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