Page 3096 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 16 September 2015

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The new school at Coombs comprises seven buildings including four buildings providing learning spaces for students, a multi-purpose resource centre, school administration building and a larger school gymnasium-canteen building as well as outdoor learning and play areas. Out of school care facilities will also be available.

In terms of progress, the school’s buildings are almost complete, with the internal fitout just about done. The four buildings providing learning spaces for preschool through to year 6 students have been completed, with the commissioning of the building systems underway.

The administration and multi-purpose resource buildings are in the final stages of fitout before the defect inspections take place. The external works are progressing on schedule, with car parking areas, landscape work and external hard paving progressively being completed across the site.

Construction funding of $47.25 million was provided by the government in the 2013 year and we have already savings of $1.9 million on the project, which were declared in the recent budget. The work continues to track well and the likelihood of further construction savings is, indeed, in sight. I look forward to the first day of the 2016 school year when the new school in Coombs will welcome its very first students.

MADAM SPEAKER: Supplementary question, Ms Fitzharris.

MS FITZHARRIS: Minister, how does the appointment of a principal assist in the school’s development and planning?

MS BURCH: I thank Ms Fitzharris for her interest in the Coombs school. The appointment of the principal at the school in Coombs is, indeed, a big step for the establishment of the 87th public school in Canberra. The principal has already been out and about in the community getting to know the local families, developing relationships with community groups and paving the way for a school culture which is welcoming, innovative and family focused. The principal is also working to ensure that the community are aware of the vision and direction of the school and that foundation students and their families have the opportunity to be involved in setting the scene for the years to come. This is an opportunity that does not come around very often.

The school will be an important part of the lives of the children of the Molonglo valley and a vital community hub for local residents. Information sessions and events are being planned to allow the community to meet new staff and to get to know the site. These activities are an opportunity to showcase what the Canberra school system has to offer, with the principal and staff spreading the word about the progress yet to come and enrolments to grow.

It will be all systems go from day one of term one of 2016. The principal certainly has hit the ground running and has been working with the directorate on building a school for the future, with world-class ICT, building and furniture design that contribute to learning, and experienced and qualified staff—all the things that make a school feel like a place of learning and new ideas. They will serve the local students well.

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