Territory Stories

Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991



Debates Day 2 - Wednesday 1 May 1991

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Parliamentary Record 3


Debates for 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 6th Assembly 1990 - 1994




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory





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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory

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Attribution International 4.0 (CC BY 4.0)

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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory



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DEBATES - Wednesday 1 May 1991 Department of Education. In 1991, after this current ERC exercise, the number will have dropped to around 300. Despite the fact that enrolments have risen and staff numbers in the school sector have risen significantly since self-government, numbers in the non-school sector have been halved. The figures contained in the documentation have been quoted many times. In fact, the largest proportional cut in any sector of the Department of Education was inflicted on corporate administrative services, which suffered a reduction of 15.9%. Educational support services were reduced by 11.3% and those within schools and colleges were down by 5%, with a total overall cut of 6.3%. Proportionately, the smallest cut was to the schools. This morning, the Minister for Education again pointed out that, despite the changes in pupil-teacher ratios, they are still among the best in the country. We have to keep these discussions in context so that reason balances emotion. The fact is that, even after these reductions, our educational services will still rate highly by national standards. That has to be the fundamental consideration - not where we have come from, but where we are at present and where we are heading. The fact is that our education services will continue to be at the forefront in Australia. I turn now to the situation in my electorate. Meetings were held at Rapid Creek Primary School and the member for Millner attended those. On the Friday before the ERC cuts were announced, the parents strongly expressed their concerns about the possible closure of the school. On the evening after the ERC cuts were announced, I attended an emergency meeting at the school. I was at the school on the Tuesday afternoon and I was there again on the Wednesday. I will continue to visit the school to follow through the process. Parents are raising a number of questions which need to be dealt with. As the questions and issues arise, I am making representations on behalf of the parents and teachers. I can advise that the department has met with all staff at Rapid Creek Primary School and has given assurances that all their special programs will be available at one or more of the schools which will receive Rapid Creek students. These include programs in Indonesian, Italian, English as a second language and music. I have a particular interest in the LOTE program developed within the school. The regional superintendent has already made arrangements to meet principals and school councils to ensure that Rapid Creek programs will be available and appropriately staffed in 1991. Consultations with staff will ensure that those staff who wish to follow their students to their new school can do so. All staff have had the opportunity to be involved in these discussions this week. The secretary and superintendent met with all staff at Rapid Creek Primary School at 3.15 pm on Monday of this week and I made representations on behalf of the school to encourage such early consultation with teachers. I am very pleased that, with the support of the minister, the department has implemented that process. Another matter of equal interest to me is that another school in my electorate, Nightcliff Primary School, will be affected. I believe that a significant number of the 176 students now attending Rapid Creek Primary School will attend Nightcliff Primary School next year. Of the 176 students, 111 live currently in Rapid Creek and my discussions with parents indicate that most intend to send their children to Nightcliff Primary School. Some students will be going on to high school of course. However, there will be an influx of preschoolers. Equally, concerns need to be addressed in respect of the impact on the Somerville Child Care Centre which has been using the Rapid Creek Preschool, and is concerned about its 806

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