Paterson MP: Schooling opportunities, from start to end

Paterson MP Meryl Swanson MP on schooling opportunities, from start to end, Labor policies and community festivals.
Paterson MP Meryl Swanson MP on schooling opportunities, from start to end, Labor policies and community festivals.

I’ve spent the last couple of weeks out and about, attending lots of events, and talking to people about policies that will have an impact on them and their families.

Year 12 has just finished for many students, so I’ve been spending some time at farewell assemblies. It’s inspiring to see and hear about the many amazing things our students have done throughout their time at school, and their plans once they finish school.

Of course, the HSC is still to come. My eldest daughter went through her HSC last year, and my best advice to all those about to start, is to ensure you maintain balance in your life and talk to those around you if things get tough. A good resource to use is ReachOut.com, which has a lot of tips and strategies to cope with this stressful time.

In the lead up to finishing year 12, a number of students from our area have completed a fantastic initiative through the NRL, called ‘School to Work’.

This program uses the positive profile of the game of Rugby League to support and encourage young Indigenous Australians to stay at school, aspire to achieve their goals, and assist in transitioning into further education and/or employment.

I’m proud to say that 15 young people in our region have graduated from this program, which has supported more than 1,000 Indigenous students since 2011, and aims to support another 1,500 in the next two years. Well done to those who have supplemented their studies by undertaking this program.

Moving away from those who are finishing their schooling to those who are just starting, this week, Labor announced a policy to better support three and four-year-olds in accessing preschool.

This policy will guarantee that every three and four-year-old can access the quality early education they need for the best start in school and life. It will give every Australian child the opportunity to access the early learning opportunities that will set them up for success later in life.

The early years are critical for children, with 90% of the brain developing before the age of five. Quality early learning programs have been proven to have a positive impact on children’s outcomes through school. There are many global studies that show that attending one or more years of preschool results in better learning outcomes.

This program will commit permanent ongoing funding to the national preschool and kindy program for all four-year-olds, extend the program to cover all three-year-olds (commencing in 2021); establish a $100 million facilitation fund to support the roll-out of the program, including training more educators, and supporting expanded capacity where required; and ensure early learning centres are high quality and safe by restoring the $20 million safety and quality funding cut by the Liberals.

Labor will also extend the existing preschool exemption to the Child Care Subsidy activity test to all children accessing the preschool program at a centre-based daycare service in their second year before school. This will ensure every child will have access to affordable early learning.

The program will be delivered across government and community run preschools and kindies, and long day care centres. Parents and carers will be free to choose the setting that best suits their needs.

Labor has also promised to scrap upfront fees for 10,000 early childhood education students studying at TAFE, to expand the workforce to prepare for these changes. I’m proud of these policies and I know that it will benefit thousands of children in our local area.

 Kurri Kurri Community Festival

Finally, the Kurri Kurri Community Festival is hosting a dinner dance on November 3.

The theme is ‘Gatsby Bash’. You can purchase ticket and find more information about the event, including accommodation, on the Festival’s Facebook at www.fb.com/kurrikurricommunityfestival.

With a three course meal, entertainment, drink vouchers and great company, it should be a good night.

I hope to see you there!

Stay in touch

As your representative, it’s important that you know how you can reach out to me if you encounter difficulties navigating a Federal issue.

You can always email me at Meryl.Swanson.MP@aph.gov.au or call my office on 4983 2401. I have an active community on Facebook that you’re welcome to join, at facebook.com/MerylSwanson/, and you can keep up to date with all my speeches and media releases at my website, which is at http://merylswanson.com.au/.