Page 3673 - Week 10 - Wednesday, 13 September 2017
The government remains committed to implementing all the recommendations in the schools for all report. Work is ongoing in a methodical way and, even as recommendations are closed, the government is building and improving on its work to ensure that there is enduring change.
I hope that, from this point on, members in the Assembly will be able to make more productive contributions to supporting ACT schools. I move the amendment circulated in my name.
MR RATTENBURY (Kurrajong) (5.00): The Greens will be supporting Ms Berry’s amendment to Mr Wall’s motion today. I thank the minister for her ongoing commitment to ensuring that the Assembly and the community are kept up to date on the progress of this important work.
As her amendments speak to, and as Mr Wall’s media release today also acknowledged, this was never meant to be a tick-the-box exercise. I think that is a really important point to reflect on. Members will recall that, as the education minister at the end of last term, I had some significant involvement in getting this program underway and putting some of these oversight mechanisms in place.
The complexity of the recommendations is significant, as I will come back to in a moment. To my mind the essence of the Shaddock review and the schools for all report was cultural change. It is clear from the expert panel on students with complex needs and challenging behaviour, both in its clear and tangible recommendations and in the comments that came through from the authors, that ongoing and enduring cultural change is the critical success factor in this report. It is one that is difficult to measure but it is certainly the key change that we need to see. The incidents that prompted this report, which I know the community found abhorrent, speak to this not just being something of which we can simply say, “Yes, this has been fixed.” We need to keep driving through: being very clear about community expectations, the minister being very clear about her expectations and the directorate being very clear about its expectations.
It can be a risk for government to simply release milestone implementation reports on such reviews because that can result in point-in-time analyses of whether this has been a successful implementation, and that is not a full account of what this is about. As the person who decided to publish the first implementation update, I was well aware of the risks in doing this, and my colleagues in the government accepted that as well. But we respected the community’s need for assurance that the education system was doing all it could to support students with complex needs and challenging behaviours, and I felt that, given the history of this issue, publishing those reports was very important. I am pleased that Minister Berry has continued with the publication of those reports.
Much of the input I intended to make in this debate has been covered by the minister and picked up in the amendment that she has circulated. There has been regular reporting to the Assembly. All three education sectors have had genuine input into