Page 2720 - Week 09 - Tuesday, 16 August 2005

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The school will be modelled on the Gold Creek K-10 school. It will provide a … facility to cover K-5, a purpose-built middle school covering Years 6 to 8, and a high school for the remaining years …

I reject any suggestion that this government has either delayed or neglected the educational needs of Gungahlin students. Far from it. I think you just have to look at the Gold Creek school to see what an excellent facility it is.

We have merely followed Mr Stefaniak’s lead on this and supported his view that excellent facilities can be provided in this way. This leaves me a little confused about the current opposition’s education policy. As the shadow education minister quoted in the Canberra Times, she is not convinced on the available evidence that the P-10 model is the best for all students. She said:

For years and years we have been extolling the virtues of diversity in our education system, big schools, small schools, all to be thrown out for a one-size-fits-all system.

This shows another example of members of the opposition not being able to agree on whether they like middle schooling or not, and whether they support bright, new futures for children and new schools for areas to improve educational outcomes. Part of the problem might be that Mrs Dunne does not appear to be sure what she thinks from day to day. In an interview on 2CC on 2 August she suggested what a better approach might be:

The research across the world says there are optimum sizes for schools and what you need to do if you have large schools is to break these down into schools within schools.

We agree with Mrs Dunne. It sounds very similar to what we are proposing—four schools of a modest size on the one campus: a preschool, that is No 1 school, for 100 students; a K-5 primary school for 480 students; a middle school for 540; and a high school for 360 year 9 and 10 students. So there we have it: schools within schools on the one campus—the way of dealing with large schools when you need to break them down.

This is an example of where there is inconsistency from the opposition on this issue. We have heard Mrs Dunne say she thinks Ginninderra District High School should close but, in line with Liberal Party policy on this matter, no replacement is offered, no solution is offered, no re-investment in the community is offered. There is no focus on better educational outcomes for children in that area, no investment from the Liberal opposition, which is just out there spoiling the issue, creating anxiety amongst school populations, letting them know they will be closed if this goes ahead. What a load of rubbish that is. That is not the case. The government has been honest from the beginning on this issue. We have put our cards on the table. We have been clear about what our solution is to the issues at West Belconnen, and we have just left members of the opposition over there flaying amongst themselves and disagreeing.

Policing—trail bikes

MR PRATT: My question is to the police minister, Mr Hargreaves. Minister, on 2CC radio this morning you said that you were alarmed at the deep frustrations expressed by a

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