ADJOURNMENT – HANDS ON LEARNING

I wish to raise a matter for the attention of the Minister for Education. The action I seek is that he ask his department to investigate what support is available to assist Whittlesea Secondary College to again offer the Hands on Learning program. On 2 May I received an email that Chloe Holmes, a student at Whittlesea Secondary College, wrote to Hands on Learning:

I am a student from Whittlesea Secondary College. I am writing to ask you if you could please help us, we had the program at our school, so many people did it and it was a really great experience to have. But it got cancelled because our school didn’t have enough money, and nowhere will help us get it up and running again. When it got cancelled it broke many hearts and made many of us sad. The guy who ran the program, we had to say goodbye to him, which for some it was very hard. His name was Steve and he really enjoyed coming to our school every Wednesday and Friday, he even came on his days off just to see some of us and to get things prepared. Please think about it, we really appreciate your donation and support, you know that it is a special program, I do too and so do many others. We have learned so much from the program and we have all become better people.

I followed up with Chloe, and she actually came to visit Parliament during the last sitting week. She brought along with her two other students, Jake and Jackson. The boys had never even been to the centre of Melbourne before. They overcame their fears to come all the way to Parliament House. One had never even ridden on a tram. It was such a brave, brave thing for them to do to come here and present the work that they had done. They built a pizza oven during the course of the program. They know that the return of the program will not benefit them, because they are now in year 11, but they really want other students coming through to benefit from this great program. During the course of the program they built a pizza oven, which is now in use by the rest of the school.

There is a new principal, who only started last Thursday, Lian Davies. I have already been out there and met her. I think she is going to make a great contribution to this school community and provide magnificent leadership. I thank the minister for his ongoing interest in Whittlesea Secondary College — we have talked about it often — and all the schools in Yan Yean. He is always across the detail. I know that the views of students really matter to him. Those students actually got to meet the Premier on the day as well. I really want these students to feel that their voices are still heard and that they still matter, and I would really like to see the minister have his department examine what is possible for these great kids.