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MR STEFANIAK (Minister for Education and Training): I seek leave of the Assembly to make a ministerial statement on government schooling.
MR STEFANIAK: Mr Speaker, I wish to speak about the initiatives for government schooling that this Government will be pursuing in its first term of office. The ACT has, arguably, Australia's best schooling system. We intend to keep it that way. Education is an investment in the future - the future of our children and of Canberra.
Mr Wood: I accept the congratulations.
MR STEFANIAK: I am glad, Mr Wood. We are committed to improving our system so that it remains the best and continues to provide the best outcomes for students - outcomes which meet their needs both now and in the future.
Mr Speaker, I wish now to draw the Assembly's attention to some of the important initiatives that this Government will be pursuing over the next three years. We intend to work with parents and the community in partnership. We are committed to ensuring that school communities are as involved in decision-making as is practical and reasonable. We hold to the view that decisions about the sort of education provided at specific schools, and how available resources should be used, are decisions best made by that school's community. To that end, we intend to encourage greater community involvement in schools by promoting school-based management in our government schools and colleges. We propose to move gradually over the next three years to identify and implement a system which puts the best possible decision-making and control in the hands of individual schools. At the same time, we will identify those functions which must remain centrally managed in any school system.
As a first step, my department will be researching and developing models of self-managing schools. It will do this in close and extensive consultation with all the stakeholders, including parents, teachers and students.
Mr Connolly: Minister, the Opposition is much more attentive than your colleagues at the moment.
MR STEFANIAK: Is that what you are laughing at?
MR SPEAKER: Order!