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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2018 Week 01 Hansard (Tuesday, 13 February 2018) . . Page.. 53 ..

MR PARTON: Minister, when will this complex in Lowanna Street, Braddon be available to meet homelessness needs?

MS BERRY: I will have to take that question on notice too.

Schools—composite model

MS LEE: My question is to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development. Minister, Mawson Primary School has a population of 460 students, according to the February 2017 school census. Parents at that school learnt that classes had moved to a composite model only when their children returned to school last week. Why has the composite model been introduced at Mawson Primary School?

MS BERRY: I cannot provide any information about that particular school, and why that particular model was introduced. I would suggest that if schools were making decisions about the different kinds of models that they were implementing, they would be made based on the make-up of the school community. With respect to that particular school, I will take the question on notice and see if I can provide some advice to Ms Lee.

MS LEE: Minister, does the Education Directorate have a policy guiding composite class decisions and, if so, what is it and how is it implemented?

MS BERRY: Schools generally have some autonomy about how they create their school learning environment and composite classrooms are not uncommon across the ACT, across a number of schools, depending on the school community and the make-up of the school community in achieving the best learning outcomes for their students. So those decisions are generally made within the schools.

MR HANSON: Minister, what does the policy say about consultation with parents and ultimately who has the say about whether or not classes are made composite?

MS BERRY: Again, these are generally decisions that are made by the schools based on the make-up of their school communities.

Schools—mobile phones

MISS C BURCH: Madam Speaker, my question is to the Minister for Education and Early Childhood Development. Minister, on 7 February 2018, the Canberra Times reported you as confirming that banning mobile phones in any ACT public school was “not on the cards”, notwithstanding that both the federal and Queensland ministers for education have expressed concern and want them banned. Minister, on what basis have you come to your decision, and with whom did you consult?

MS BERRY: I spoke to a number of teachers in schools and also people within my local community about whether or not phones or devices should be banned within the classroom. All of the reports that I have been hearing from school principals in the ACT are that schools are very careful to ensure that devices are used appropriately.

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