Berry unveils nine supervised school hubs for Term 2

Ian Bushnell 22 April 2020 14
Education Minister Yvette Berry

Education Minister Yvette Berry at Mawson Primary School announcing the nine learning hubs. Picture: Ian Bushnell.

ACT public schools could still return to face-to-face teaching in Term 2, according to Education Minister Yvette Berry, who today named nine school sites across the Territory which will stay open as the system readies for remote learning next week.

The school sites (or hubs) selected to cater for children who cannot stay at home 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.

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.

By Wednesday, families had registered 2663 children and the Education Directorate is preparing for 1900 students a day, with capacity to take another 1000 across the nine sites. There is no cut-off, and families can continue to register for on-site learning.

No child will be turned away, and families who go to their normal school will be directed to the appropriate hub site.

The Education Directorate will contact parents who have registered their need to attend a school site about which one they should go to.

The community sector, whose organisations already provide staff for before and after school care, will be contracted to supervise children across the day, while teachers and learning assistants will be on hand to support students taking their online lessons, the same as their peers at home.

Communities@Work CEO Lee Maiden said her organisation provided services at five sites, and Communities@Work and Woden Community Service, Community Service#1 and YWCA had been in talks with the directorate for weeks.

She stressed their staff were not teachers but would support directorate staff in any way they could.

”We will all work together between 9:00 am and 3:00 pm to support those children,” she said.

Social distancing would still be practised on-site and children would be separated into small manageable groups.

Ms Berry moved to reassure parents that the sites would not just be child-minding centres.

”They’ll be supervised sites; however, it won’t be an ordinary class-led education, it will be the same remote education that will be delivered online to students at home,” she said.

Ms Berry said the hub approach would allow all students to have equitable access to high-quality remote learning experiences, and provide the opportunity for intense cleaning and maintenance at school sites that were not operating.

She said the ACT would press on with remote learning despite calls from infectious diseases experts such as Professor Peter Collignon that it was safe for schools to reopen, but stay flexible as circumstances changed.

The ACT would continue to assess the situation and monitor NSW’s phased return to the classroom but the Territory was able to take cautious and careful approach as it had planned so well to deliver remote learning, she said.

”We’ll keep going with the process to keep everyone safe,” Ms Berry said.

”It’s been really difficult for people, on the one hand saying keep your social distancing, stay at home, do the right thing, it only takes one person [to infect many], and on the other hand thousands of persons that can gather together in a school, so we’re just trying to work through those contradictions, making sure everyone feels safe, and make sure we can deliver a great education as well.”

Ms Berry said the government also had to take into account the teachers and other adult staff who may be vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.

She said it was very easy to go pupil-free but much harder to resume face-to-face teaching quickly, and the Directorate also had to be prepared for positive diagnoses in schools and new waves of COVID-19 in the ACT as winter approaches.

”That’s why we can take the time now over the next four weeks to have a look at what’s happening around the country, take a very considered approach and put some plans in place about what will happen if a school has a positive diagnosis, how we contact trace, do that intensive clean and support that school community,” Ms Berry said.

She said the government wanted the process to be as consistent and uncomplicated as possible.

The directorate had so far provided 600 families with wifi services and distributed thousands of devices to ensure a level playing field.

Ms Berry said the remote learning experience would be monitored and data collected so the lessons learned could be applied in the future.

”We are well ahead of the game providing remote education,” she said. ”Teachers have been really innovative and taken up the challenge.

“So much has been learned in our education community about delivering education differently using technology that we already have in the ACT.”

Ms Berry also had a message for parents about the other lessons their children would be learning outside the curriculum.

”They are learning a whole lot about our community that might not have learned in classroom, about resilience, strength of a united community, about the extraordinary circumstances we’re going through right now, living it and being part of it,” she said.

For more information about the Term 2 school arrangements, visit the ACT Education Directorate.


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14 Responses to Berry unveils nine supervised school hubs for Term 2
tfx1 tfx1 10:44 pm 24 Apr 20

I love this comment from Minister Berry
“”They are learning a whole lot about our community that might not have learned in classroom, about resilience, strength of a united community, about the extraordinary circumstances we’re going through right now, living it and being part of it,” she said.
How does this statement relate to her past views.
Here is a letter from the past where she was one of the signatories and I can find no evidence that she subsequently repudiated this statement.
Dear President Chávez,
We, the undersigned citizens of Australia, would like to extend a warm invitation for you to visit our country. We have watched developments in Venezuela with great interest. We have been impressed by the great effort that your government has taken to improve the living standards of the majority of Venezuelans. We have also noted with keen attention the moves that your government has begun to make to create a society based on popular participation in all spheres of society—from the workplace up to the national government.
Although we are on the opposite side of the globe we feel that our shared ideals of social justice and democracy bring us close together. Every country has its own traditions and culture and has to find its own solutions, but what Venezuela has been able to achieve in so little time will be a source of inspiration and ideas for many in Australia.
In this light we believe that a visit to our country by yourself would not only help to improve the awareness of the Australian people of developments in Venezuela, but also be an unparalleled opportunity to strengthen the ties of friendship and solidarity between our two peoples.
Signatories to invite Chavez to Australia:
Yvette Berry – Organiser ACT Branch LHMU

rsm1105 rsm1105 11:11 am 23 Apr 20

Has the govt articulated the conditions under which it will re-open (I.e. as distinct from current circumstances)?

What will/ needs to change in next 12 weeks to commence term 3?

Carole Ford Carole Ford 9:35 am 23 Apr 20

We need to maintain a sensible, structured approach to re-opening schools. We don't want a resurgence of Covid19 across the school system, a potentially dangerous situation.

Ken Mansell Ken Mansell 8:53 am 23 Apr 20

Chief Medical Officers of Australia, New Zealand, Queensland, South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory say it’s safe and they all have more infectious people than the ACT. Tasmania CMO says no due to the Northern Tasmanian outbreak they should wait.

Iris ButterflyLove Iris ButterflyLove 11:49 pm 22 Apr 20

I would really like to see the ACT government and Education Directorate stand up and better support and acknowledge our early childhood educators.
Yes primary/high school/college teachers are working hard with remote learning and I appreciate that very much and don’t want to take away from that.
However, we have forgotten the early childhood educators, who still have classrooms full of children. They are still providing education and care each and every day. Young children who are needing comfort and reassurance more than ever in the strange world we find ourselves in, are receiving it with open arms from educators. These educators are trying to protect themselves with extra hygiene and cleaning, but anyone with a young child knows how hard it is to ensure healthy hand hygiene with an 18 month old! Directors are trying to support their staffs fears around getting sick whilst also managing an influx of families wanting additional care now that it is free. There is no option for remote learning for these centres.
I am a healthcare worker and I really couldn’t get by without the incredible early childhood educators who care for my child. I appreciate them turning up each and every day, continuing to hug my child when she is hurt, fill her tummy with healthy food, support her through the anxieties around why she can’t hug mum when she gets home from work and providing her a rich and stimulating educational program.
Can we please not forget these incredibly dedicated professionals who are continuing to put the education, meaningful relationships, supportive environments first, our children first.
Early childhood educators are just as important as the teachers of our older children.
Early childhood educators we see you, we appreciate you, we thank you!!!

Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 9:23 pm 22 Apr 20

"We have Chromebooks. It'll be fine!"

Darren Page Darren Page 8:50 pm 22 Apr 20

Childcare workers are looking after the kids not teachers. Like before/afterschool care. Schools are still closed for the whole term at this stage.

    Kitty Tsui Kitty Tsui 2:18 pm 23 Apr 20

    Darren Page drop by the Listen to science, re-open Canberra schools in term 2 and sign and share the petition :D

helena helena 8:28 pm 22 Apr 20

A petition has been started calling for a review of the Term 2 online remote learning model in the ACT that is based on evidence and parent, carer and student consultation.

Petition Link
http://chng.it/zfpXj4yZmW

The ACT is one of only a few states that does not have a strategy for gradual re-opening of schools in term 2 and has taken a set and forget policy approach (a policy established in March) on continued on line learning for the whole of term 2.

The ACT is also the only state to close school sites and offer hub sites for children needing to attend school in Term 2, an approach which raises additional concerns for families and unnecessary work for the department.

Additionally, as some one with 16 years experience in developing, establishing and rolling out education initiatives as well as having undertaken research in education and having delivered CPD to the education sector, the current quality of online learning and the roll out of the online approach, from what I have seen and in my option, is not ready as the Minister claims but is lacking and overlooks some fundamental key steps and considerations. Three of those key steps being
– parent/carer/family consultation
-clear and consistent communication
– and a proper process of regular review considering the rapidly changing circumstances

Jacqueline Pate Jacqueline Pate 8:19 pm 22 Apr 20

All about the budget and money already spent, not what’s best for our children.

    Kitty Tsui Kitty Tsui 2:18 pm 23 Apr 20

    Jacqueline Pate take a look at the Listen to science, re-open Canberra schools in term 2 page, and sign and share the petition :)

    Chris Skene Chris Skene 3:50 pm 23 Apr 20

    I see you've been sampling the Dunning-Kruger again...

Acton Acton 5:54 pm 22 Apr 20

BS
“She said the ACT would press on with remote learning despite calls from infectious diseases experts such as Professor Peter Collignon that it was safe for schools to reopen,”

As it is safe for schools to resume I demand the ACT Govt reopen our schools and stop penalising our children.

“Ms Berry said the government also had to take into account the teachers and other adult staff who may be vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.”

Then isolate them, not healthy children.

“She said it was very easy to go pupil-free but much harder to resume face-to-face teaching”

The job of teachers is to teach in classrooms. It is unacceptable to stop kids attending school.

Here is an incentive: No schools = No Payment of Rates.

    JC JC 7:44 pm 23 Apr 20

    I agree with the jist of your post.

    But may I point out that where you said this.

    “ “Ms Berry said the government also had to take into account the teachers and other adult staff who may be vulnerable to contracting COVID-19.”
    Then isolate them, not healthy children“

    That in essence the teachers are being isolated (Or more correctly like many of us working from home) which has the result that kids cannot attend physical classes. So not quite as simple as say isolate the teachers and carry on.

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