Page 2154 - Week 07 - Thursday, 16 May 2013

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MRS JONES: Duffy preschool has been able to accommodate Rivett preschool enrolments thus far. I believe residents for Coombs and Wright can also enrol in Duffy or Curtin. But what happens to children from Rivett when Duffy preschool is filled with children from Duffy or Coombs or Wright? Do they have no school that will have to accept them?

MS BURCH: It is a good question. Priority enrolment areas shift occasionally. But we have made a commitment through our universal access to the government preschools to accommodate up to 15 hours of preschool. So I would say the intent is to accommodate families in suburbs in a preschool that is near to them. Also, I know there is capacity in the Weston area, in Weston preschool.

I am not able to give you a direct and clear answer because it depends on when those schools reach capacity and how we move forward. I am quite happy to see if there is information that the directorate can provide to me, but I think it is about responding to the need when it arises, and doing that forward planning.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mrs Jones.

MRS JONES: What does the priority placement system do for residents of Wright and Coombs when Duffy and Curtin are full?

MS BURCH: I will have to take some advice on that—other than the principle of supporting, as far as we can, access to a preschool that is as close to their suburbs as possible. But, as I have indicated, sometimes those feeder suburbs change as different capacity measures are met.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Porter.

MS PORTER: Minister, could you explain the priority enrolment policy for preschools to the Assembly?

MS BURCH: It is around ensuring access to the local families and communities at that preschool. As I have said, these boundaries change over time through enrolment peaks and ebbs. That often depends on the growth of families at the time. The suburbs, as we know, often have growth in enrolments, and we have seen that through Tuggeranong, Weston Creek and other areas. We will certainly see peaks of demand for primary school and preschool as the Molonglo suburbs come on.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Mr Doszpot.

MR DOSZPOT: Minister, do we have a situation where preschoolers in some suburbs are not guaranteed a placement and are in second-class suburbs?

MS BURCH: To consider second class suburbs is really such a negative approach from Mr Doszpot. It is the way he has described our funding and our approach to Gonski. What I have indicated is that the boundaries for priority preschools change over time. We, this government, made a strong commitment to supporting families, providing education for the young ones through preschool, through our universal access hours. I think it is quite clear.

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