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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2010 Week 04 Hansard (Thursday, 25 March 2010) . . Page.. 1519 ..

MR SPEAKER: Sorry, Mr Hanson?

Mr Hanson: I just asked Mr Stanhope if he was going to be calling anyone a slime bucket today, which is what he was doing yesterday.

MR SPEAKER: Thank you. Ms Gallagher has the floor.

MS GALLAGHER: I am not distancing myself from the advice that went out to agencies; I am just pointing out to the shadow treasurer that it was not a quote that could be directly attributed to me.

Education—national curriculum

MS HUNTER: My question is to the Minister for Education and Training and concerns the trial of the national curriculum in ACT public schools. Minister, concerns have been raised with me that some unique aspects of the ACT public schools curriculum, such as a section of the civics subject concerning people with a disability, may be lost once the national curriculum is implemented. Can you please advise what input the ACT government has into the national curriculum to ensure that valuable aspects of our unique curriculum are not lost?

MR BARR: I thank Ms Hunter for the question. The ACT has a representative on ACARA—the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority—along with all states and territories and Catholic and independent school systems. We have been involved in the development of the national curriculum. There are, I believe, 10 ACT schools in the government and non-government sectors that are trialling some or all of the elements of the first phase of the national curriculum this year.

The ACT has committed to beginning the implementation of the national curriculum in 2011 and completing that implementation in 2013 for the four phase 1 subject areas, being English, maths, science and history. Phase 2 of the national curriculum that involves the arts and a number of other subject areas is the subject of development with ACARA around the states and territories and Catholic and independent schools systems at this point. A further phase, a third phase, is proposed for implementation. It will go through a similar process.

From the start of the development of the national curriculum to its eventual implementation within a schooling system it is about five years. During that period there is ample opportunity for teachers and curriculum experts within each jurisdiction to comment and to work with ACARA in the development of the new national curriculum. I restate the ACT government’s very firm support for the national curriculum. I believe it is an important reform for this country. We argued and we continue to argue that there is a need—particularly in the history curriculum—for an appropriate level of local content in relation to the teaching of history in particular. There is perhaps less of a need for local content in the teaching of mathematics and some of the sciences as there tend not to be significant differences in quadratic equations or the periodic table, depending on where you are in the country. Certainly, in terms of history in particular, we do recognise and have argued for strong local content within the national curriculum framework.

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