Page 3613 - Week 11 - Thursday, 22 September 2005

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I also, interestingly, was interviewed by the year 10 book committee. I have to say that the list of questions, of which I got a copy in advance so that I had about half an hour to prepare my thoughts about what sorts of answers I would give to them, was a very good list of questions. Judy Pettiford kept saying that she thought that many a journalist could learn from the questions that these students were asking me.

I also read to the blue group one of my favourite primary school books for young people, which is years 1 and 2 approximately, I believe, and that was Where the wild things are. I understand the department got a few interesting photos of me reading Where the wild things are. I certainly enjoyed it and so did the children, I believe. I was also shown the video which had been taken of the preparation by these schools for their entry into the Wakikiri competition, which they won. I am quite positive that they will do very well in the finals.

The principal-for-a-day initiative is designed to celebrate the strengths of public education and the work done by staff under the guidance of the principal. The initiative brings schools and their communities closer together to work in productive partnerships and offers an opportunity for schools to increase their work of contacts in the local community. It was established in Australia in 1999 and enables business men and women and community leaders to experience first-hand the issues facing schools and to meet with students, staff and the wider school community.

There are a number of ACT business and community leaders involved in the principal-for-a-day program, and afterwards we were able to meet and debrief at a feedback forum held at the Canberra college, Phillip campus, which was very successful. There was a lot of buzz in the room, I am sure Dr Foskey would agree, after the day’s events. All the comments were very positive. Everybody had a very positive experience from it. The initiative has impressed me and I think it impressed all those who had not done it before. I know that there were a couple of people who were back for their second go.

Principal-for-a-day scheme
Griffin Centre

Assembly open day

DR FOSKEY (Molonglo) (6.16): I want to endorse everything that Ms MacDonald said. I went to Melba high school, which was interesting, given the Ginninderra west schooling controversy. I have to say that I felt it gave me a particular insight into that issue. That is one of the reasons, perhaps, I am speaking out about it.

I want to talk today about another two events that I went to in the last week that I think are connected. The first was the Griffin Centre farewell, which occurred in the middle of the day in the middle of last week. As you are all probably aware, the old Griffin Centre will soon be demolished. Lots of people have already moved into the new building over the road. That road used to be just a road to a car park. Now it is a road into Braddon. It is, in that sense, a bit of a divider. I will not comment on the wisdom of that road; I am not really expert enough.

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