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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2021 Week 06 Hansard (Thursday, 3 June 2021) . . Page.. 1744 ..


increasing children and young people’s literacy and numeracy outcomes; it is really about providing advocacy, liaison and case management to help those children and young people who are disengaging from education to engage in education. I am sure that the Deputy Chief Minister will talk about how our ACT education also does that. It also works collaboratively with the education authorities in Victoria to achieve those goals.

As one of the core practices indicates, interventions in this program are highly flexible, with strategies, responses and resources tailored to the interests, needs and strengths of individual students. The interventions are delivered within classrooms and school settings, as well as in a care home environment. So it is important to be clear about how broad those interventions are.

I was struck in this 2018 evaluation by Charlie’s story. Charlie is a 13-year-old boy currently living in residential care in Melbourne. Charlie had a very disrupted childhood with multiple moves of placements and had not been enrolled in school. His care team was concerned that he was not ready for the school transition and they got a teacher educator working with Charlie.

I have chosen Charlie’s story because he was in residential care. The interesting thing about Charlie’s story was that when the teacher educator completed some literacy and numeracy assessments for Charlie, they found significant gaps in literacy but that Charlie was performing three years above peers in numeracy. So an educator tailored a program working with Charlie that spoke to Charlie’s strengths as well as his gaps.

The gap for Charlie was primarily engaging appropriately with students of his own age to ensure that he could engage in appropriate conversations and behaviours with adults—that is, the really important development of a behavioural support and safety plan through this process. It is about much more than literacy and numeracy, which I am sure that Mrs Kikkert understands. But that really speaks to the fact that children and young people in out of home care are not one thing—they have strengths.

I will finish on the same note as Mrs Kikkert: we absolutely believe in these children and young people. We absolutely want to engage them in their educational journey and to support the trajectory of that educational journey, and we know that they can do it.

MS DAVIDSON (Murrumbidgee—Assistant Minister for Seniors, Veterans, Families and Community Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Justice Health and Minister for Mental Health) (4.33): I thank Mrs Kikkert for her motion, and I will provide some information about the current work of the education staff at Bimberi Youth Justice Centre as I speak in support of Minister Stephen-Smith’s amendment. Education is an important part of ensuring that children and young people can go on to further study, employment and remain connected with their peers. All young people at Bimberi have the right to be engaged in education programs.

Unfortunately, by the time a young person has entered Bimberi it is likely that their educational experiences have already been disrupted or are difficult. The social determinants that contribute to a young person coming into contact with the justice


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