Page 1391 - Week 05 - Wednesday, 6 May 2015

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That is it; we need to make sure that we not only look at these issues through the eyes of our respective ages and with the experience that we have but also through the eyes of those who are living in that age group and who have a different perspective. It is a perspective that is informed by where they see the world from. Therefore, it is a very accurate way of assessing how these services work and how we need to respond to some of their concerns.

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Police and Emergency Services, Minister for Disability, Minister for Racing and Gaming and Minister for the Arts) (12.19): I thank Dr Bourke for moving this motion today. We all know that education lays a foundation for a successful life. It is a fundamental principle of the Labor government to support education because we know that it changes lives for the better. Therefore, we are committed to building on the strength of our education system and to provide opportunities for all students to benefit from a great education.

Each year the government, through the Education and Training Directorate, conducts a telephone survey of school leavers. Known as “Where are they now?” this survey helps the government understand where ACT students are working and studying and what their future intentions are. It provides a great resource to highlight the positive impact education has on young Canberrans. The survey results last year indicated that 92 per cent of young people were studying or intending to study post-school; 61 per cent of graduates applied for a university place; and 98 per cent of these graduates were successful in gaining a place.

The ACT continues to have the highest proportion of students completing year 12 of all the states and territories, and our schools provide a diverse offering, from maths and science to languages, music, sports and vocational courses which equip our young people with the skills and attitudes they need to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

Just last week I was at Melrose High School speaking with the principal there, Simon Vaughan, and the science teacher, Geoff McNamara, who won this year’s Prime Minister’s prize for excellence in science teaching in secondary schools for the school’s fantastic ACE program. This program sees students at school engage in cutting edge science and being partnered with some of Australia’s and the world’s leading minds.

Three-quarters of our students who finished year 12 at a specialist school in 2013 were participating in support programs for people with a disability, such as transition to work, community access or social participation at the time of the survey in 2014. This continues the government’s support for all students across our schools.

This year the new Canberra College Cares facilities opened. Just recently the new intensive English centres in Gungahlin and Wanniassa have been completed and the Coombs school in Molonglo is scheduled to open for the beginning of next year. The Canberra Institute of Technology continues to support our commitment to engaging young people in mainstream education and services to gain years 10 and 12. CIT also, of course, offers a fabulous range of vocational education and training opportunities for our youth.

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