Page 1655 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 1 April 2009

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Mr Richard Powell, the acting principal, Bill Maiden, and all the staff for the work they have done in establishing what is clearly a magnificent school. I look forward to seeing Mr Powell back at work soon and wish him all the best in his recovery.

ACT Labor has a continuing program to improve where, what and how students learn in ACT public schools. ACT Labor’s record investments, combined with the commonwealth’s “building the education revolution” package, will see over half a billion dollars invested into where ACT students learn. Because we have worked with the community to develop what is effectively a planning code for schools, we have been able to ensure that every ACT student in every ACT school will benefit from this historic investment in their future.

We have also worked to improve what students learn through our new curriculum framework, Every chance to learn, for preschool to year 10. It is now in operation across all ACT schools—government, Catholic and independent. ACT Labor will continue to work on how students learn, by hiring more teachers to reduce average class sizes across all levels of schooling—primary schools, high schools and colleges—with a particular focus on high schools because we want to attract, reward and retain the most accomplished teachers in our classrooms.

The census does reveal that we face ongoing challenges—challenges the government has shown that it has the political courage to face. The census reveals that ACT public high school enrolments fell, and they did. There were fewer high school students across all schools, and that did impact on the public system. But the important thing is that the government has a plan to invest in our high schools to reduce average class sizes and to invest in facilities, and we will continue to work to ensure that public high schools remain a real choice for parents and students in the territory.

MR SPEAKER: Ms Burch, a supplementary question?

MS BURCH: I do have a supplementary question, and again it is to the Minister for Education and Training. Would the minister advise the Assembly about community reaction of which he is aware to the ACT government’s reform process, which has again been reflected in this year’s schools census?

MR BARR: I am aware of a great deal of community reaction to the government’s ongoing reform agenda and our record investments in making the ACT education system better. I do remind the Assembly of some of the public and community reaction to the results—a fantastic result for public schools in the territory.

Mrs Dunne: Point of order, Mr Speaker.

MR BARR: I want—

MR SPEAKER: Mr Barr, please. Stop the clock.

Mrs Dunne: Generally speaking, Mr Speaker, the use of props in the Assembly is not tolerated, and I ask that the minister not use them.

MR SPEAKER: One moment.

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