Page 2335 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 22 June 2011

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I had the pleasure on 10 June to attend the opening of the Burgmann Anglican school year 2 and middle school buildings and multipurpose hall at the Forde campus. Burgmann is an independent school with two campuses. The school opened in 1999, with 24 students in two classes, and has grown significantly to approximately 1,480 students. The valley campus provides early childhood education as well as a junior and senior school. The Forde campus, opened in 2009, now provides early childhood education and the middle school.

As I noted in a speech last March, there is a misconception about private schooling that only children of wealthy families attend non-government schools. Regardless of the family’s income, the decision to send a child to a non-government school requires sacrifice. Unlike government schools which benefit to a greater extent from the stability, resources and administrative support of a government department, non-government schools are self-reliant when it comes to administration and corporate knowledge. However, it is this self-determination alongside active family involvement which has helped bring about the ongoing success of the schools.

I would like to extend my thanks to the principal, Steven Bowers, deputy principals, Chris French and Kerrie Wilde, and Bev Galloway, head of the junior school, and Wendy Hegarty, head of the early learning school. And I note that Paul Browning, the founding principal, was also in attendance at the opening.

I would like to mention the dedication and hard work of many parents, volunteers, students and teachers who put so much effort into the St Matthew’s primary school walkathon and cross-country carnival which was held at the Stromlo Forest Park on 6 May. I had the privilege of working on the barbecue that morning. I understand that more than $15,000 was raised, which is an amazing achievement for the school community.

In fact, I understand that if a certain amount of money was reached, teachers would be wearing their pyjamas to school on Monday. I am not sure that actually eventuated but I do believe the target was met. On that, I doubt politicians wearing pyjamas would motivate citizens to pay more taxes. Besides, I am convinced that individuals and community groups such as schools can spend money more effectively and efficiently than a government ever could. So we should not be seeking to raise more money anyway.

I very much enjoyed the cross-country-athon and commend the principal, Brenda Foley, and primary coordinator, Paul Cerce. I also commend the parents who made the day possible.

I would like to put on the record my thanks to the St Michael’s primary school community for the wonderful breakfast they hosted during Catholic Schools Week. I commend the principal, Judy Walsh, Father Peter and the teaching staff who do a superb job. The breakfast is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the school and demonstrate the philosophy. I would like to commend the members of the community council, including Nicole Dwight, Maree Tuohy, Father Peter, Judy Walsh, Susan Alison, Jacinta Foster, Dan O’Meara, Jodie Clarke, Val Ciuffetelli, Jenny Rixon, Andrew Welsh, Louise Amos, Susan Anderson, Di Nagel and Matthew Lyddiard.

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