Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 06 Hansard (Tuesday, 6 June 2017) . . Page.. 1919 ..
Our work and investment will not stop. Alongside all of this, the government is funding the early planning of a new school in east Gungahlin, in preparation for new suburbs and population growth. Similarly, in the Molonglo Valley, another area of growth, the government is building on existing investments by funding the detailed planning of a future school in Denman Prospect.
MS CODY: Why does the government invest so strongly in public education?
MS BERRY: The government believes in the transformative power of education. Success in delivering education happens when it looks past the background and circumstances of each child and focuses on meeting individual needs with no prejudice about the potential of every person.
Our public schools achieve this. They are diverse and inclusive. They embrace difference. No-one is excluded, regardless of their background, culture, gender, class, religion, sexuality, ability or wealth. Public education is free. Financial means is no barrier to accessing school education, and it will never be under this government. Because of their diversity, our public schools are vital hubs in their local community. They provide an anchor for many families as children develop and grow.
The success of our schools shows in social and emotional learning and school retention, alongside strong performance in tests. Eighty-five per cent of ACT students are completing year 12, and around 90 per cent of them go on to employment or further study. But there is no doubt that we need to keep a focus on school improvements so that all children are set up for a bright future.
As I said earlier in launching the future of education conversation in February this year, improvements in other Australian school systems have in some ways brought them into line with or ahead of ours if you assess schools based on standardised academic tests. This is particularly the case for schools in less wealthy areas.
The highest quality education systems succeed by embracing equity and universality in their approach.
The government will take a closer look at, and explore with children, parents and educators, some of the areas where our system could improve and then implement a strategy that makes sure that there is no barrier to any child achieving their best. And we will keep investing in their future.
MS LAWDER: My question is to the Chief Minister. Chief Minister, why has Jon Stanhope, ACT Labor’s most successful leader, questioned your ability to lead the government’s approach on poker machines?
MR BARR: Far be it from me to get inside the mind of the former Chief Minister in answer to a question that seeks an expression of opinion.