Page 2556 - Week 08 - Tuesday, 9 August 2016

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I will leave my remarks there on the education sector. This coming year is an exciting one for the ACT. We have challenges; certainly the implementation of schools for all requires considerable ongoing effort. I said recently when I released the second quarterly report that I think we are making determined process. We are seeing acceleration of the work in that space, but we certainly must not rest in seeking to implement the outcomes of that report.

Our recent NAPLAN results indicate that we need to look carefully at that data to look into the ACT schooling results. I am reluctant to make broad, sweeping conclusions off those numbers. As I said at the time, we need to drill down into the data because across our school system there are different results; some schools are doing extremely well whilst there are others where we need to look closely at what further efforts we can make to improve performance.

I believe we have many of the right tools in place. There is a commitment in the directorate to pursuing excellence. There is a commitment to working with our staff right across the system—both in the directorate and at the coalface in the schools—to continually raise our standards. That is something I am committed to as minister. I look forward to continuing to update the Assembly on the progress we are making so that the ACT continues to have an outstanding schooling system.

MS BURCH (Brindabella) (9.07): I want to speak very briefly on two recommendations in the report. One is a recommendation around innovative funding models that allows consideration for the non-government sector to grow their sites and to grow their schools. The government’s response has recognised this by agreeing in principle, and I think that recognises that 30 per cent of our school population is in the non-government sector, so it is an important sector for Canberra families.

We recognise that $65 million goes to the non-government school sector. That provides support for their operational costs, including capital costs. What is pleasing in the government’s response to recommendation 14, which I note is that, in addition to the $65 million of funding, the government provides $1.3 million to non-government schools to establish and to upgrade preschool facilities and provides land at no cost to non-government schools. The pleasing point in this sentence in the report is that that $1.3 million is ongoing support to non-government schools to upgrade their preschool facilities. I am sure that would be welcomed by many families across Canberra that seek to put their little ones in preschool.

The other recommendation looks at how we work with the non-government sector to facilitate long-term land release. The minister has gone to great lengths today and at other times in the Assembly to explain the level of forward thinking that is required in planning for government schools, but the non-government sector also need to have that longer term horizon in their planning, and land release is an important aspect of that.

The recommendation is for working with the ACT government, working with the non-government school sector, to facilitate long-term land release in future school planning. The government’s response has agreed. It has stated that the government is

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