Page 96 - Week 01 - Tuesday, 13 December 2016

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Schools for all

Ministerial statement

MS BERRY (Ginninderra—Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, Minister for Housing and Suburban Development, Minister for the Prevention of Domestic and Family Violence, Minister for Women and Minister for Sport and Recreation) (5.17): Today I am happy to share with members progress being made to implement the recommendations of the expert panel on students with complex needs and challenging behaviour. As members are aware, the expert panel handed down a report on 23 November 2015. The report included 50 recommendations, all of which were accepted by the ACT government. The schools for all implementation program was formed to respond to the recommendations.

As Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development, I was pleased to recently receive the third quarter reports of the schools for all program endorsed by the independent oversight group. The third quarter report builds on the significant effort that has been made this year to understand deeply the intent and purpose of the expert panel report. The reports provide evidence that momentum is building across the ACT education system, with progress being made towards the student-centred and inclusive vision of the expert panel that every school in Canberra is able to cater to the diverse needs of each student in their local community. There is continued evidence of a shared commitment across public, Catholic and independent schools to ensure that our young people feel connected and respected, achieve success and are fully engaged in education.

All three school sectors have continued to collaborate by sharing resources and encouraging a thorough examination of the recommendations to achieve the best possible outcomes. At the end of September 2016 the Education Directorate had closed 15 recommendations of the 50; Catholic education has closed seven recommendations of the 26 that were directed to them in the report; the remainder of the recommendations are on track to be closed in a timely manner.

There is also a focus that goes beyond the recommendations. The education sector has shown a three-year commitment to achieving sustainable change to ensure that every school will be able to cater for the needs of every child in their community. As members would be aware, Labor committed to commission a future of education discussion paper to make Canberra’s education system even better. The paper will outline how education will be delivered to meet the needs of the next generation of ACT students. The actions arising from the recommendations of the expert panel through the schools for all program will be one source to inform this important strategic direction-setting process.

Sustainable reform is important, and to that end, many activities are building on existing initiatives and being embedded within existing frameworks and practice. Over the reporting period, there has been a focus on wellbeing, professional learning and capacity building, parental engagement, student voice, and developing safe sensory learning environments.

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