Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2017 Week 10 Hansard (Wednesday, 13 September 2017) . . Page.. 3669 ..
space as a key tool in dealing with students with complex needs and challenging behaviours is crucial. The challenge for all schools is sticking to the principles of universal design and the provision of flexible classrooms and playgrounds. For some of our older schools this must be a continuing challenge. During some of the visits I have undertaken to schools in the ACT it is obvious that adapting old buildings and finding the space to carry out this recommendation properly has, in some instances, posed a challenge.
My motion calls on the government to report and continue to report to the Assembly on the progress of the work undertaken and is aimed at providing some transparency around the changes being made. In some cases only moderate changes may be needed, however, in some cases, wholesale changes will be required. Today my aim is not to single out any school in particular or to lay blame at the feet of anyone in particular; that will remain a matter for history to decide. What I would like to achieve today is an undertaking from the government that the minister continue to take the schools for all report seriously and that there is no change in the level of priority when it comes to implementing all of the recommendations outlined in the schools for all report.
We owe it to families of children who have difficulty in school to have all these recommendations actioned as a priority so they can be confident that their children are being treated with the dignity, respect and support they need to succeed in school. I commend my motion to the Assembly.
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) (4.48): The government will not be supporting the motion, and I will be proposing amendments to the motion that will be circulated in my name. I am sure that all members are aware of the context that led to the government commissioning an expert panel to review and report on the policy and practice in all ACT schools with regard to students with complex needs and challenging behaviour. It was a very difficult experience for all those involved. The result has been a long-term focus on improving how all ACT schools support every individual student. What needs to happen now is that leaders in our community get around schools, teachers and other staff to support them in their vital role.
I am disappointed to see that members in this Assembly who purport to be community leaders are not living up to up to their role. It is quite clear that Mr Wall has not actually read any of the cross-sector status updates on the schools for all programs, and it seems he has not read the schools for all report either. Instead he has used a newspaper article which was an incomplete assessment of the progress of schools for all to date to have a go at public schools and their teachers and staff. He has contributed to divisiveness, not inclusion and, true to form, he has again tried to pit these government schools against non-government schools. This lacks informed comment. It is a dishonest motion. It lacks maturity. It is made up.
As I have made very clear since being appointed as minister to the education and early childhood portfolio, I hold a fundamental belief that every child deserves a great education and the life chances that flow from it. This is not a matter of simply dealing