Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 07 Hansard (Tuesday, 1 August 2017) . . Page.. 2261 ..
MS FITZHARRIS: Not to my knowledge, but I will take the question on notice.
MR STEEL: My question is to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development. Minister, can you update members on the status of work towards a future of education strategy?
MS BERRY: I thank the member for his question. After kicking off the process with my ministerial statement in February there has been a whole lot of activity in schools and across the community on this big conversation that the government is keen to have. I have brought together a team of community leaders to partner with the government, as critical friends and experts, to keep the conversation on track and to make sure that a broad conversation happens that is accessible for anyone who has an interest, from academics all the way across our community to the youngest of our students. As the process continues and a strategy is formed experts such as these will provide advice based on the themes and the issues raised.
Work has begun on the conversation, with the Education Directorate working closely with stakeholders including community sector organisations, parent and community bodies, non-government schools, professional organisations, unions and others. The conversation with this group focused on seeking their views as well as supporting them to have a conversation with their stakeholders. Materials to facilitate the conversation have been distributed widely and the project team has been working hard to support it wherever it is needed. To date the directorate has received over 60 written submissions, with more anticipated as the conversation continues and more discussion papers are released.
The directorate has made visits to over 60 schools to help the local communities plan activities and capture feedback. Student representatives from all public schools have been asked to engage, and I had a chance to be a part of their discussion at the student congress a few months ago. I have also visited individual schools to participate in classroom conversations that are taking place across all colleges is the ACT. Schools are using a variety of engagement methods including video booths, graffiti walls, surveys and a request for student wishes for the future.
MR STEEL: Minister, how is the first discussion paper supporting the conversation?
MS BERRY: I thank the member for the supplementary question. At the beginning of July I released the first discussion paper as part of the future of education work, which will help to continue to guide the conversation and some of the key issues that need to be considered. The paper continues the government’s focus on equity in education that I outlined in my ministerial statement.
In passing, it might be useful to remind members about what a focus on equity means. Education is transformative; it changes lives. A child’s potential to harness the change that education brings is not defined by their gender, religion, sexuality, class, culture or wealth. Gifts and talents flow to children with no discrimination and when