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Monday, 9 February 2015
Page: 61

Mrs GRIGGS (Solomon) (13:46): I rise today to speak about an initiative that I started in my electorate to help educational outcomes. For many parents and students the beginning of the school year can be an anxious time as children think about the challenges of fitting in with a new group of friends or meeting their academic challenges and their families face the considerable hurdle of equipping students for their year ahead. New uniforms, stationery, books and tuition fees add up, and for too many parents this represents a considerable financial burden.

Teachers and principals in my electorate tell me that children without proper school supplies have lower attendance rates and are more likely to do poorly, leading to higher drop out rates than other students. So, to give students a good start to their education and help ease the financial burden for many in my electorate, I put in place a program to provide a back-to-school-free pack for families across the electorate. Each pack contained essential stationery and basic supplies to give children access to the tools that they need to learn and succeed. I had a stall at the Casuarina shopping centre and was delighted by the response. It was a real great delight that the schools supported this initiative, and next year we think it will be bigger and better. The people of Solomon really did appreciate the fact that they were able to get free back-to-school supplies to help their children in my electorate.