Page 758 - Week 02 - Thursday, 12 February 2009

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supplementary question is this. In the short term, while these numbers are low, what sort of education program is going to be delivered?

MR BARR: A full education program is being delivered at all of the early childhood schools, with appropriate staffing levels. In some instances, this has meant the combination of year levels, but, as members would be aware, that is not uncommon within the ACT education system, in government and non-government schools. And given the age span of the early childhood schools, covering only preschool to year 2, we are talking about providing an education program to similarly aged children.

It is a remarkable contrast with what was being offered at Tharwa, where, because of the small size of that school, you had to have year 2 to year 6 all together in one classroom. It is a pretty significant age difference that was being accommodated there. There were no kids in year 5 at Tharwa and there was one kid in year 6. We are not dealing with the level of educational disadvantage that was clearly the case at Tharwa. What we are talking about is the combination of a kinder and year 1 class, for example. That is commonplace across the education system.

It was always the case, and I stress this, that these schools were going to start off small and grow, like every school does—every new school in the territory. That will be the case with the new Gungahlin college when it opens in 2011. It will start with a year 11 class, because I do not think that many year 12s will want to leave where they have been in year 11 to come back to Gungahlin for one year of schooling. It will start with a year 11 class and then grow, and it will have a year 11 and a year 12 in its second year of operation. That is entirely as you would expect with any new school. When Burgmann adds additional year levels, they add year by year and let the school population grow into that. That is entirely consistent with how new schools develop—not just here in the territory but across the country.

This government is committed to early childhood education. I am sure that each and every student who is enrolled in these early childhood schools will receive a first-class education from dedicated teachers—

Mrs Dunne: And the others in other schools won’t?

MR BARR: Childish interjections from Mrs Dunne aside, all students in the ACT system, whether they are in government or non-government schools, will receive the benefit of high-quality education from dedicated teachers. That is the most important thing, and that is what this government is about.

Alexander Maconochie Centre—opening

MR HANSON: My question is to the Minister for Corrections. Minister, what are the stages in the commissioning process for the Alexander Maconochie Centre? Could you please provide some detail of these stages?

MR SPEAKER: What were the first four words?

MR HANSON: What are the stages in the commissioning process for the Alexander Maconochie Centre?

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