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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2112 ..

MR STEFANIAK (continuing):

In relation to other schools having supplementation or not having supplementation, I will have to get back to you. In relation to plans to close other schools and some great hidden agenda, there is none. Unlike you, we are going to try to manage the problem in various areas of declining enrolment, to see what we can do early in the piece, rather than sitting on our hands, sticking our heads in the sand, and doing absolutely nothing.

Ms McRae, if you got three invitations to attend that particular meeting, I accept that. The fact was that I did not get any invitation from the school board, and that was deliberate, because it would have been inappropriate. I would be amazed, actually, if you and Mr Berry - - -

Ms McRae: Good. I would not have invited you either.

MR STEFANIAK: You would not have invited me either. I would be amazed if you and Mr Berry actually got invited by the school board, because I do not think that was the intention.

I have just been handed a piece of paper. I might be able to assist you in relation to your question, Ms McRae. In their first two or three years of operation, schools are given additional resources to assist them establish programs. In 1995, Palmerston and Charles Conder primary schools received resources equivalent to 2.5 teaching positions, and that will continue for next year. A small number of schools received additional teaching resources in 1995 over and above the normal entitlement. This additional support assisted them to deal with circumstances and difficulties specific to each school. Stirling College, for example, received the equivalent of 3.5 additional teaching positions. Charnwood High School received 3.8 additional positions to assist it in maintaining its education programs, despite declining enrolments, and to assist it to handle Gungahlin students. Ms McRae, if those Gungahlin students had turned up, we would not have this problem. Unfortunately, about 60 or so go to either Kaleen High or Lyneham High, but if all those had turned up to Charnwood it would not have been such a problem. Unfortunately, I understand that only two or three did. It was a mere handful. In terms of Stirling and Charnwood, that support will not be provided in 1996. The school communities are aware of this and are working through options.

In 1996, three primary schools will lose the equivalent of a quarter of a teacher each for similar reasons, that is, Melrose, Wanniassa and Fadden. Richardson Primary School will lose slightly less than the equivalent of one teaching position. The Government believes that the resources for schools should be applied equitably across the system, according to the staffing formulae and taking into account the needs of students. To do otherwise is simply not fair on anyone in the long term.

MS McRAE: I ask a supplementary question, Mr Speaker. The point of asking how you are planning for other proposed closures is to come to the very point you were criticising us for. Are you sitting on your hands in terms of which schools are now either below a viable number or getting towards a viable number, and what are you doing with those

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