Page 902 - Week 03 - Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .

Allow me to continue with the former minister for education’s comments, to enforce this point. She said:

The variety and flexible delivery of services at Kootara Well is an invaluable resource and allows Narrabundah primary school to work with partner agencies to quickly identify and address health issues in the student population.

Kootara Well is a partnership of agencies between Narrabundah primary school, schools as communities, Winnunga Nimityjah Aboriginal health services, ACT Community Care and Marymead. It is an excellent example of the ways in which our schools, working in partnership with other agencies, contribute to the long-term development and success of their students …

But it was not going to be for much longer, was it, for these long-term developments to happen at this particular school and with the community as a whole? The minister continued:

I would like to thank and congratulate all those involved, particularly Trish Keller, the principal of Narrabundah primary school, who has been a driving force behind enhancing services for the community involved in Narrabundah primary school.

Is it surprising that the community are confused? Those comments then do not equate with the government’s now decision to close and then do what they are going to do, reduce it to a P-2 school.

We all know the tremendous efforts of the Narrabundah principal, Trish Keller, and the Stanhope government’s scant regard and treatment of Narrabundah primary school community and all that Trish Keller and her team achieved through their drive, passion, compassion and innovation. So much so were Ms Keller’s efforts recognised that she was awarded the inaugural AEU ACT branch Public Education Award in May 2006. I will read an extract from the citation:

She has changed the culture of the school itself through the implementation of innovative programs in the school curriculum, and raised the profile of the school within the community by actively seeking and developing links with other agencies to provide a rich and inclusive support network for Indigenous and disadvantaged families.

But now we see how the previous education minister, Ms Gallagher, and the current education minister, Mr Barr, reward excellence. We also know that there are still a large number of concerns and vast uncertainties within the Narrabundah community as to what the future holds—and rightly so. For instance, what is going to happen to the Kootara Well program at Narrabundah primary that the previous minister for education so proudly boasted about? Will it continue?

Mr Barr: Yes.

MRS BURKE: Good. I hear the minister saying yes; that is good. I would like to hear more about that. How will over 35 Indigenous students, almost half of the school population currently at Narrabundah, be catered for after the restructure? What will

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . .