Territory Stories

Debates and Questions Day 2 - 8 May 2019



Debates and Questions Day 2 - 8 May 2019

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Parliamentary Record 19


Debates and Questions for 13th Assembly 2019 - 2020; ParliamentNT; Parliamentary Record; 13th Assembly 2016 - 2020




Made available by the Legislative Assembly of the Northern Territory




Debates; Questions

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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 AND QUESTIONS Wednesday 8 May 2019 6087 who work on referrals from schools or work directly with students and families to foster relationships and encourage their regular attendance. In Term 1 this year, engagement officers will work with schools, families and students in approximately 30 remote and 15 urban Northern Territory government schools. We know that student attendance at school is influenced by a multitude of factors outside the school gate. We take this into account. We need to ensure that families are supported to overcome any barriers to attendance. If children do not have food, we know it is harder to learn and we want schools to be working with communities to provide breakfast and lunch clubs where needed. If children have behavioural challenges, we want to give their teachers and leaders skills to support the needs they have in the classroom. If families do not have access to transport, we want to ensure we work with communities to overcome this challenge and see how we can help get students to school. If children do not feel safe at home, we want to create safer communities in the bigger picture. I applaud my colleague, the Minister for Territory Families, for her work in Galiwinku on the womens safe place in the electorate you represent, Member for Nhulunbuy, on Elcho Island. These great safe spaces in communities are community-driven initiatives that we support as a Labor government. We are building better health clinics around the NT. Member for Nhulunbuy this government opened a new health clinic in Galiwinku, in your electorate. Where there are barriers to school attendance, we want every child to overcome them so they can attend school every day to reach their full potential. We know there are certain events that happen that are outside of the familys control. Believe me, fines are the very last resort that anyone wants to look at. We want to support families to get children to school before any of the punitive measures are even looked at. We do not want to penalise families and childrens involvement in the important cultural event of learning in a traditional, cultural, community sense. When children are out of school because of funerals or other significant events in a community, our departmental and school staff work with the local community to make sure students are engaged and their attendance is accounted for. Where families are travelling between communities at various times of the year we need to ensure that there is ease of access to the local school that the student is moving to. At the same time, there is a consequence for parents if students have continued absences from schools without reasonable excuse or support from their community. Ten compliance officers operate in the Territory and are authorised officers under the Education Act to compel enrolment or attendance at school through the issuing of directions and notices. Mr SIEVERS: A point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker! Pursuant to Standing Order 43, I move that an extension of time be granted to the member. Motion agreed to. Ms UIBO: Such notices are not the first choice. Notices are only issued and pursued when repeated attempts to engage with the parents and family caregivers of a child to ensure the child is regularly engaged with schooling have failed. It is the absolute last resort and something that nobody wants to pursue. From Term 1 this year, compliance officers will engage with schools with the highest numbers of students who have not attended school in the last 20 school days. Compliance officers will work with 34 schools throughout the Territoryurban and remote. In addition, compliance officers will conduct regular patrols of major shopping centres in urban and regional locations during school hours. Compliance officers will also be present following major events to ensure students promptly return to school. One of the key joint initiatives with the Commonwealth government for improving engagement is the Remote School Attendance Strategy. The Department of Education is currently working to finalise and implement a new RSAS agreement.

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