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Parents help government with schooling policies.



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DR BRENDAN NELSON

Australian Government Minister for Education, Science and Training

Media Release

PARENTS HELP GOVERNMENT WITH SCHOOLING POLICIES

8 April, 2004 MIN 676/04

Parents from all over Australia have welcomed the chance to put their views on schooling to the Australian Government.

On 11 March I released a consultation kit, Taking schools to the next level, to find out what parents think about important education issues.

In the first few weeks of the consultation, there have been around 9,000 visits to the consultation website www.dest.gov.au/nef/schools. Parents, grandparents, teachers, school principals and interested members of the community from all over the nation have taken up this chance to have their voices heard. As one respondent put it, “It’s great to get an opportunity to voice our opinion. Hope you can use some of it”.

Parents from all over Australia have welcomed the chance to put their views on schooling to the Australian Government.

As one respondent said;

“It’s great to get an opportunity to voice our opinion. Hope you can use some of it.”

Others have been equally supportive;

“....these inquiries have shown that public input does have a positive effect. . . . obviously this consultation is purposeful, and genuinely seeking suggestions from the wider community”; and

“Thank you for finally asking some of the questions those previously have been either afraid to ask or unable to answer - this goes a long way towards building better school environments for our future.”

The views put forward will help frame future policy directions in education and will make national education policies sounder and stronger.

Some clear messages are coming through in the early responses.

• Australian parents have great confidence in the quality of teaching; • Attracting more men to teaching is important to most people; • Australians want schools to encourage values such as respect, courtesy, tolerance and doing your best. They value highly the opportunity to be involved in their

children’s schools; • They are concerned about how boys are faring at school and have lots of suggestions about how to keep them engaged in learning; and • They have a strong interest in promoting physical activity in schools.

On the issue of attracting men to teaching, one respondent said;

“Normally I'm against affirmative action, but in this case, I'm all for giving lots of scholarships to young men who will do teacher training, provided they are bonded to serve as teachers for at least four years after graduation . . . Men are very important in schools, especially in the primary system.”

Another contributor, writing about schools and community partnerships, suggested that;

“organisations looking for volunteers could partner up with schools to provide the organisation with help, but also to show children how much they can gain with no tangible reward such as money.”

The informative and diverse views coming forward in response to this consultation are providing a wealth of evidence to create better school environments for our future.

I encourage all parents to take this opportunity to have their views heard before 30 April.

You can access the consultation and respond to it online, at www.dest.gov.au/nef/schools and copies of the consultation kits are in all schools. A CD-ROM version is available by phoning 1300 559 655 or emailing schoolsframework@dest.gov.au.

Media Contacts: Dr Nelson’s Office: Ross Hampton 0419 484 095 Dept of Education, Science & Training: Virginia Cook 0412 971 323