Page 1456 - Week 05 - Tuesday, 9 May 2017

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MR STEEL: Minister, how can education stakeholders get involved in this conversation?

MS BERRY: I value the knowledge and experience of people with a particular interest in education as part of this conversation. The education symposium a few weeks ago involved a broad invitation to groups, which included the Association of Independent Schools of the ACT, the Catholic Education Office, Board of Senior Secondary Studies, ACT Teacher Quality Institute, ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations, Association of Parents and Friends of ACT Schools, ACT Principals Association, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Consultative Group, Australian Education Union, Independent Education Union, United Voice, Canberra Business Chamber, ACT Council of Social Service, Families ACT, Youth Coalition of the ACT, Health Care Consumers Association and Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth. As members can see, this is an extensive list, but it is not exhaustive, and I welcome the views of others who have an interest.

The Education Directorate has already kicked off their work in the ACT government schools with a discussion with school principals and leaders. I enjoyed being part of the leaders’ forum and hearing from teachers about how they would engage with their schools and what their needs will be. I look forward to a similar process occurring in the Catholic system and throughout independent schools. I am looking forward to taking part in that when I can.

MR PETTERSSON: Minister, how are children and parents being involved in this conversation?

MS BERRY: As I have said, I am keen to hear from students and parents about the future of our system as we continue to improve on equity. Representative bodies like the parents and citizens association have important roles in discussing the issues with their members and providing feedback to the government. But I also want to hear firsthand from students and parents.

Last Friday I attended a student congress meeting—I know that you have attended a number yourself, Madam Speaker—with student representatives from ACT government schools. We had some really great conversations about the importance of equity and shared some ideas about how diversity can be acknowledged and supported so that kids get a great education and the chance of a good life which flows from it.

The congress workshopped some initial ideas and was tasked with some of the out-of-session work to go back to their local school or college and involve their peers in a conversation. I look forward to the congress reporting back on their findings in the coming months.

The government will also give parents the chance to share their views. I know it is hard for parents to juggle work, family and the rest of life; so the education directorate is looking for different ways that parents can get involved without too much of an

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