ACT Government updates

Safe, supervised school sites for term two

April 22, 2020

An update on schools open to students unable to learn from home, from Education Minister Yvette Berry, issued at 3.29pm Wednesday 22 April:

The ACT Government has announced nine public school sites that have been selected to be available for students and families for term two.

At the start of term two all public school students will be learning remotely - whether they are at home or at a school site. By staying home, the community has helped schools prepare to deliver teaching remotely in a very short time-frame.  

Schools and teachers are ready to deliver remote education for the whole of term two, unless the situation changes. Students will still be able to be engaged with their normal teachers and classmates, and will still be part of they're school communities. 

Teachers will be available each day at scheduled times, and incidentally throughout the day. Teachers will not be working outside normal work times.

Alongside learning, wellbeing support will be available through school psychologists and allied health professionals for students at home and on school sites.

Nine schools have been selected to be available as safe and supervised sites for students and families who are unable to stay at home, following registrations from Canberra families. 

The schools sites that have been selected are: 

  • Caroline Chisholm School
  • Charles Weston School 
  • Gordon Primary School 
  • Mawson Primary School 
  • Amaroo School 
  • Majura Primary School 
  • Kingsford Smith School 
  • Maribyrnong Primary School 
  • Red Hill Primary School 

To date, we are expecting approximately 1,900 students each day attending a school site. Not every student will be full time and parents are still able to register. Additional school sites will be assessed if the need changes.

Other specialist settings will continue to operate as per usual including the Muliyan Off-Campus Flexible Learning Program, Murrumbidgee Education and Training Centre, the Cottage and the Hospital School.

This approach allows all students to have equitable access to high quality remote learning experiences. This model allows us to:

  • Redirect cleaners to ensure the best intensive cleaning of school sites
  • Ensure that children who do have to attend school have enough supervision; and
  • Allow teachers to focus on delivering brilliant remote learning, rather than asking them to deliver both face-to-face and remote learning. 

Importantly, if students turn up unexpectedly they will not be turned away. If families turn up at their normal public school site, there will be staff at all schools to ensure they’re looked after.

Parents who have registered their need to attend a school site will receive information from the Education Directorate this evening about which school site they should attend.

The ACT Government acknowledges that NSW have taken a different approach to term 2. They’ve made that decision based on their local circumstances and needs and the ACT Government will watch closely as they transition back to face-to-face learning.

The ACT is very well-placed to deliver remote learning. We’re ready to deliver remotely for all of term 2, however will move to face-to-face delivery if the circumstances allow us to do that sensibly.

Like other jurisdictions, the ACT Government will be reassessing over the next four weeks. The ACT Government will be bringing together all stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition back to face-to-face. We will work with students, parents, carers, principals, unions and P&Cs to carefully and thoughtfully plan a return to face-to-face learning.

This has been a difficult time for staff, students and our whole community. Teachers have been working incredibly hard and are excited to provide students with excellent remote learning. I am confident that they will deliver a great experience for our kids.

Parents have also been working hard to help families adjust. If you have questions or concerns, the best place for you to go is your school who know you and your family best. Otherwise, you can contact the Education Directorate on 02 6205 5429.

These arrangements are for public schools. If you attend a Catholic or Independent school, please talk to your school if you are not sure of the arrangements for term 2.

For parents, I know this is really hard and I want you to know that you are not alone, we are all in this together. Take it easy on yourselves and your kids, we will get through this. Your child’s health and wellbeing comes first, learning will follow.

We have learned from the experiences after the Christchurch earthquake and Hurricane Katrina that our kids are incredibly resilient. In those communities, children received no school at all for weeks and it made very little difference to education outcomes when they returned. Our kids have the added benefit of expert teachers providing remote learning tailored to them.