Debates Day 6 - Thursday 1 November 2012
Parliamentary Record 1
Debates for 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 12th Assembly 2012 - 2016
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Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory
DEBATES Thursday 1 November 2012 411 community and has a number of parents employed in the classrooms. Yet another example of this partnership approach between communities and parents is the 3-9 Program that operates in a number of schools, whereby the school is opened up for community use. This is something I have spoken to my colleagues about that we need to look further into, making sure schools are not purely for education but are a community facility. They should be used day and night if the need is there. Examples for which schools are being used under the program include classes in financial literacy, driver education, basketball, and even Zumba dancing. We know a school plays an important part in the life of a community and, therefore, the department has worked in partnerships with communities, parents, and other non-government organisations to share facilities and make schools more welcoming places for many parents who otherwise may not have had anything to do with the school. Engaging parents is further reflected in the Families as First Teachers program which operates with schools and is designed to engage parents in the value of education, and build their childrens early learning through play-based programs. It also works to build an awareness of good health and hygiene to address the improvement of developmental outcomes for young Aboriginal children. The Families as First Teachers program addresses school readiness through a focus on literacy and numeracy foundations, orientation to school programs, and parent engagement initiatives. All of this is done in collaboration with the community, other government agencies, both federal and local, and the non-government sector. This focus on the value of schooling in the early years and the importance of engaging parents is also reflected in our Strong Start, Bright Future colleges. The Strong Start, Bright Future college approach that is currently in place has provided a good start, but I want to take this to a whole new level, especially in enabling local governance arrangements that will ensure a sustainable model of improvement. We have much to learn from some of the initiatives occurring, for example, in Cape York. Momentum cannot be lost when a principal moves on or when a significant elder passes. We need a sustainable and supported governance model, one that reflects the true wishes and voice of the community. The Strong Start, Bright Future college approach targets children and young adults along their developmental journey. This program is delivered through a series of integrated services that are dependent on the schools, collaborating with the community and a range of government and nongovernment agencies as well as industry partners. Minister Anderson is spot-on in her aspirations for all Northern Territory students, including Aboriginal students in remote communities to have jobs. We need all of our kids to have the knowledge and skills that will allow them to get jobs and exceed in them in the Territory and beyond. All of our young people need to be global citizens. Parents and communities need to be champions of this aspiration. I have asked the Department of Education and Childrens Services to work with the Department of Business to map the jobs that are available in towns and communities now and into the future. This work has already begun. I have been heartened by the lengths the Department of Education and Childrens Services has gone to with mining companies, the pastoral sector, the tourism sector and with local communities to prioritise these jobs for local students. An example includes the strong partnership at West Arnhem College with Energy Resources Australia which provides job guarantees for senior secondary students, work experience and apprenticeships. If jobs are the goal then schools need to ensure they create focused pathways to those jobs through academic programs and innovative training programs. In the secondary years this means our remote schools focusing on improving teaching and learning opportunities within available resources. The Department of Education and Childrens Services new industry academy has been developed to support schools, especially remote schools, to ensure these training pathways to jobs exist by working directly with industry and by basing dedicated trainers in our community. We know that many of our students arrive at formal schooling not ready to learn. The member for Namatjira has pointed out in stark terms the reality of these statistics. This is where the integration of the Department of Education and Childrens Services and the Office of Children and Families into one department, the Department of Education and Childrens Services, will come to the fore. This joined-up effort needs to build on the early success of programs such as Families as First Teachers. Parents and caregivers need to be supported in providing the best start to life for these children. The Department of Education and Children's Services, including the Office of Children and Families, will work with the community to develop capacity, capability and local people to provide a safe and caring environment in the community. The schools will become a hub, a one-stop shop
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