Page 1733 - Week 06 - Wednesday, 8 May 2013

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The ACT government continues to make record investment in education, at a rate well above the national average. In 2013 alone, our public school education system is being enhanced with additional facilities valued at approximately $120 million. This data reflects great confidence on the part of ACT parents that their children can expect a quality education in the public school system, as they can in the non-government school system.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, in the government sector what schools have shown particular growth and what are principals telling you about the reasons for this?

MS BURCH: Government schools with a strong growth include Lyons Early Childhood School, Mawson Primary School, Yarralumla Primary School, North Ainslie Primary School and Harrison School. Mount Rogers Primary School in Belconnen was another showing very strong enrolment growth for this year. The principal of the school has placed a high priority on ensuring that families can clearly see the pathways and learning outcomes for their children. In conjunction with this, there is also a strong focus on a curriculum that challenges students at every level and ability. Student support is regarded as essential in providing students with their best opportunity to succeed. Schools work closely with the community to ensure that the pastoral care program meets the needs of students.

Canberra High School has increased its enrolments by more than 17 per cent. The school has developed a strong plan for continuous improvement and raising the performance of all students. The plan involves setting high standards for achievement for students, being at the forefront of implementation of the Australian curriculum and applying a well-developed pastoral care program, which provides support for students and incorporates adherence to a school uniform.

These are just two examples of the successful approaches that many public schools offer. The public school system provides a diversity of programs catering for the individual needs of children and their families in the ACT. This includes childcare centres co-located with public schools and seamless transitions for children and young people from one level of schooling to the next.

Of course, not all schools increased their enrolments, and while demographic factors can explain much of this, as always we need to be looking to see whether other factors are at play where enrolment numbers have gone against the trend. Our public schools continue to develop and incorporate new technologies, developing specialist curriculum while still offering the more traditional courses of study. I am pleased to see the continuing level of public confidence in our system and the opportunities that public education offers our children.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, what does the strength of enrolments in ACT government schools say about the confidence ACT parents have in our education system?

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