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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 09 Hansard (Thursday, 13 August 2015) . . Page.. 2861 ..

worked hard to focus on what is needed to assure the community of the quality of our schools. Our schools—public, Catholic and independent—already work together in many ways to ensure the high standards of education. There is already a high degree of alignment and consistency. The new MOUs are simply the latest area in which this cross-sectoral support is aligned. They are already aligned in the curriculum they deliver and already aligned in the commitment to high student achievement and in the quality of teaching.

I would like to thank the officials from the Education and Training Directorate, but particular thanks to Catholic Education Canberra and Goulburn and to the ACT Association of Independent Schools for their hard work over many months on this very important document. This is a great achievement for school quality in the ACT, a great achievement to improve confidence in our schools. I know that ACT schools will become even better. Again, I want to thank all those involved in making this very significant change.

MADAM SPEAKER: A supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, what changes have been made to the non-government school registration manual and how will these changes ensure greater transparency and accountability for all schools in the ACT?

MS BURCH: The changes made to the non-government school registration manual continue to ensure that the ACT non-government school approval and registration processes are rigorous and comply with all legislative requirements. They include improved processes to ensure better transparency, improved communication with the community and clearer information for panel members. The non-government school registration manual complements the better alignment that has occurred between the registration of non-government schools and the public schools improvement process.

Particularly, the manual includes a requirement for an annual statement of assurance attesting to each school’s compliance with the relevant legislation including the Education Act, the TQI act, the Board of Senior Secondary Studies Act and other ACT and commonwealth legislation including privacy, discrimination, health and safety, and working with vulnerable people legislation.

Changes made in the new registration manual have removed unnecessary red tape for matters that are not specifically required under the registration process as outline in the Education Act. There are also clearer guidelines to assist applicants to demonstrate community need for new non-government schools. The registration manual has also streamlined the manner in which the community is notified about proposed new schools and the panel process for non-government schools registration has become even more transparent with a more balanced representation from public and non-government school educations sectors. I welcome the changes to that manual and welcome the diversity of our schools sector in the ACT.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Dr Bourke.

DR BOURKE: Minister, how has the ACT government worked cooperatively with the non-government school sectors to bring about these historic reforms?

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