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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2009 Week 04 Hansard (Tuesday, 24 March 2009) . . Page.. 1207 ..


Mr Stanhope: They are political geniuses!

MR BARR: Yes.

Opposition members interjecting—

MR BARR: When they have finished, Mr Speaker.

MR SPEAKER: Order! I cannot hear Mr Barr.

MR BARR: The government is committed to ensuring that every student in ACT public schools and, in fact, across the entire education system is able to access the best possible education. This means getting on with the job of delivering improvements in our education system. That means, particularly in relation to special education, responding to the significant changes in the nature of and demand for special education services in the territory.

With this in mind, last year I announced, as part of Labor’s election commitments, that a re-elected Labor government would instigate a review into the provision of special education in the territory. I am very pleased that Professor Tony Shaddock has accepted our invitation to lead an expert review team to help us determine the way forward in this very important area of education.

Professor Shaddock brings to this role international respect as an expert in improving the education opportunities for students with special needs. He is a registered psychologist in New South Wales and the ACT. He has published over 100 articles, papers, chapters and books on education, special education and service delivery. As a result of his research on inclusive practice, Professor Shaddock is a frequent keynote speaker at national and international conferences. He works part time at the University of Canberra as a professor of special education.

He was the project manager of the recently released research project entitled improving the learning outcomes of students with disabilities in mainstream classes and is providing advice on implementing the national healthy children with autism package. Professor Shaddock has a long record as an evaluator of services and has recently conducted major reviews of special education and student services in Hong Kong, Sydney and Brisbane. In addition to Professor Shaddock, all members of his review team are recognised experts in special education.

In relation to the review, there are a number of broad phases of consultation. The first will provide the opportunity for data collection and consultation in the development of a discussion paper. This phase is due to be completed by mid April. The second phase will see the discussion paper itself released later that month and there will then be an opportunity for public feedback on the discussion paper until about 5 June. This feedback will then help inform final recommendations to government.

I wish to take this opportunity to thank those community, education and carer organisations who already had their input into the review by consulting on the scope


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