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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 8 Hansard (27 October) . . Page.. 2277 ..

MS TUCKER (continuing):

Later the same official also said:

The other issue is that it increases the work for the teacher in working with the parent community, because they would have to be working with two parent communities at two different schools. So there is a real issue around that.

This came up in further parts of the hearing as well. My question is: What was the process and nature of your intervention and can you please explain it to the Assembly?

MR MOORE: Mr Speaker, I do not have responsibility for this area. Therefore, it is not appropriate for me to answer the question. I will be happy to supply Ms Tucker with that either privately or in some other way. We will certainly ask Mr Stefaniak to answer the question. That article contained an accusation by Mr Berry, saying that I had acted improperly, which of course I had not, three weeks earlier, because I had intervened. Three weeks earlier there was an article in the newspaper suggesting that I had acted improperly, or words to that effect, because I had not intervened. Mr Speaker, the irony is not to be missed. I think Mr Stefaniak is the one who should be answering the question.

MR STEFANIAK: Thank you, Mr Moore. You are quite right. Ms Tucker, I understand the teacher concerned is very keen to be involved in this trial. I note what the departmental official said. I also note that there are concerns in relation to the best way of providing preschool education. One of the big problems is that we have more part-time preschools now. However, I understand that the teacher in this case is very keen to be part of this trial. She regards herself very much as being part of the community. I understand that there is significant support for this proposal. It is very much proposed as a trial and I will be looking at it closely. Ms Tucker, when my office received a phone call from a former teacher - obviously she had read the same article that you did - who taught about 20 years ago she said that she used to be in a similar position and quite enjoyed it; she did not see it as a particular problem.

The issues raised by the departmental representative and your committee are certainly issues which we look at very closely. Again, I stress that is why there are certain elements - indeed, I think the union should well be classed as one of these - who see some real problems with having too many part-time preschools, because generally you have part-time teachers. But this teacher, I am advised, is very keen to be part of this trial. Certainly, on that basis, I think it probably would be beneficial to let it go ahead to see how it operates and whether there are any problems. I have a very open mind about this. Let us see what happens. It may well be of great assistance, especially when we consider the medium- to long-term future of preschools, the issue of part-time preschools and all the various points that are raised as a result of that. Some very real concerns have been expressed by people knowledgeable in the preschool sector in that regard. I think there is considerable merit in this proceeding as a trial, especially given the attitude, which has been related to me, of the teacher concerned.

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