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Talks about our education

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Minister for Education Blair Boyer says he is keen to discuss the district’s public education system with Member of Mackillop Nick McBride.

In an interview with The [Naracoorte Community] News, Mr McBride questioned if the district’s public education system was meeting the needs of our children.

He said he was willing to work with “any education minister” to ensure our public education system kept pace, stayed relevant, and provided the level of education that everyone was comfortable with.

Responding to the local politician, Mr Boyer said he has had many conversations about education and applauded Mr McBride’s advocacy for public education in the regions.

“Growing up in Portland and attending a regional school myself, I am very aware of some of the unique challenges that are faced in regional areas and have worked very hard since becoming Minister on ensuring regional students have the same opportunities as their city counterparts,” the minister said.

“I also make a point of travelling to the regions whenever I can to hear first-hand from principals, staff, students, and families.

“I’ve been really pleased to hear some of the great successes coming out of Naracoorte High School, which has had consistent enrolment numbers in the five years to 2022 of about 350 students and increased to 430 in 2022 as a result of the Year 7 transition to high school.

“It has also had some of its best SACE results, with 99 percent of SACE stage 2 grades higher than C minus.

“Two students were also awarded at the SACE Merit Ceremonies in February for exceptional achievement in their SACE subjects. I was also pleased to see one of the students take part in the

Teen Parliament initiative at Parliament House on Friday, March 8.”

He claimed the government has a history of investing in schools in the region, with a $5.2m upgrade at Naracoorte High School completed in 2022 and more than $1m allocated to schools in the region, including the high school and Naracoorte South Primary School, allocated in the most recent budget.

“Education isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, with different options available for families in the area to suit their individual needs.

“Some families in the Naracoorte area have long-standing, family connections with a number of boarding schools, with that tradition playing part in their decision to send their children to boarding school too.”

He said Lucindale had an important role in the whole region, as it was one of four specialist agricultural schools in the South Australian public education system—a factor that may see families from across the region choose to send their child there for that academic specialisation.

“I know the incredible role that country teachers play, not only in their profession, but as leaders in their community, and as part of the recent EB negotiation, we have been able to make the Country Incentive Zone Allowance ongoing – this ensures consistency and stability for teachers in the regions, which in turn leads to better outcomes for students.

“Public education in the regions is always something I’m very keen to discuss, and I welcome any opportunity to pursue that further with Mr McBride.”

Naracoorte News 20 March 2024

This article appeared in the Naracoorte Community News.

Related story: Plea for quality education

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