Constituency Statement - Cunningham Electorate - Schools

Ms BIRD (Cunningham) (16:25): I want to report to the House about a visit to my electorate on 13 May, a couple of weeks ago now, by Minister Garrett to two local schools. It was an opportunity to talk more broadly in the local area about the very important education initiatives that were in the budget. I have addressed those in the budget debate so I will not go directly to those. I want to take this opportunity to thank the schools that welcomed us into their facilities and showed us some of the work that their students were doing.

We, firstly, went to Mount Ousley Public School and we were welcomed by Principal Peter Holmes and the school captains Layne Ireland and Joshua Brown. Peter is a local principal who has had a great commitment to introducing technology into the classrooms. I first met him when he was at Otford Public School in my electorate and he was running a program where the parents and fundraising in the school provided laptops for all the students. He had introduced the same thing at Mount Ousley Public School so we visited their year 6 class to see their one-to-one laptop program.

The teacher, the Assistant Principal, Mae Johnson, showed us the work the students were doing, and the students were very pleased to demonstrate to us how they were using web search tools and presentation programs. They were creating visual and video presentations on their research topics. It was far removed from the old days when I would send Mum to get the big bit of cardboard from the newsagent so that we could proceed with crayons and textas and make a nice display. These kids are producing tremendous visual and video presentations. We visited the school's new COLA and covered walkway, which was built with $2 million under the BER program, and they expressed their great pleasure in that facility.

I would refer members to the video release today on the National Broadband Network website as a conjunction to Minister Conroy's release of the Digital Economy Strategy, which shows a home of the very near future under the NBN with a student sitting learning Indonesian in a virtual classroom in the home.

It is quite exciting to see what these young people's future will be.

We then went to St Brigid's Primary School and were welcomed by Principal Jennie Werasko and met the staff. Then we visited a student group who were participating in their local leadership program, called ilead, which is a great program where the school embeds its values of leadership responsibility and gets leaders from the community to talk to the class. I was with my colleague Stephen Jones, the member for Throsby, who is a former student of the school, and he had previously addressed this program.

I just wanted to put on the record my own and, I am sure, the minister's great appreciation for the schools and for their hospitality and reflect our great admiration for the staff and the students of both schools and the achievements that they are making.