Page 4095 - Week 13 - Thursday, 31 October 2013

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Parent members of the task force were given access to online courses for speech, language and communication and dyslexia and significant reading difficulties. They endorsed the courses and suggested they be utilised by all ACT public schools for professional learning and that the embedded resources are considered particularly useful and evidence based.

A resource base is built into the courses which can be shared by schools with families, so bringing them together in discussing the needs of students with learning difficulties and a personalised plan. The directorate will continue to build on and enhance the current partnerships that support students with learning difficulties, particularly those across ACT Health and Community Services directorates.

The student engagement section of the Education and Training Directorate is currently working with a speech pathologist from Therapy ACT to determine effective strategies in meeting the needs of students with language disorders and learning difficulties as an adjustment to the current delivery of resources.

With considerable work already being undertaken and a clear reform agenda which embraces the importance of meeting the needs of all students, I look forward to presenting the progress of this work to the Assembly in February next year. I look forward to what will be some of the early bits of business in the new Assembly year.

Whilst you are in the chair, Mr Doszpot—I do not know how I can go through the chair to you over there, but I will try—it is important to make sure we do the best for all our students—from the gifted and talented, from the twice exceptional, to those with learning difficulties. For you, as shadow education minister, to use your time in this place to do some political slinging across the chamber was a disappointment. I was looking forward to having your policy contribution in this area. Nevertheless, we are quite clear in supporting this motion. I have no problems with Mr Rattenbury’s role under executive members’ business. It gives him the same right as members in non-executive positions on private members’ day.

I indicate the government’s support of this and look forward to coming back in February. I thank all those involved with the task force. They did a very good, clear piece of work and they went out and spoke to the people who mattered—the experts, the families and the students. I commend them for their work, and I look forward to implementing these strategies and improving the outcomes for all our students in the ACT.

MR RATTENBURY (Molonglo) (11.50), in reply: I thank Ms Burch and Ms Berry for their comments today. This is an important issue. It is one that parents in the ACT have raised with me in my office as being of significant concern. The reason I brought it on for discussion today was that it is of great value to bring serious issues in the community before this Assembly, as members often do. All members do it at different times in different ways.

It is quite bemusing that the Liberal Party feel that it is entirely inappropriate for me to raise matters of public concern in this place. We have a range of mechanisms for

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