David Bartlett

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Public Education Day

I consider myself very fortunate. Not only did I get the opportunity to attend three great Tasmanian public schools – Mt Nelson Primary, Taroona High and Hobart College – but I also have the opportunity to send my own children to great Tasmanian public schools.

Having been brought up as a ward of the state of Tasmania and eventually experiencing the very real privilege of becoming both Minister for Education and Premier, I remain deeply grateful for my public-school education.

I am absolutely convinced that it was the diversity, excellence in teaching and learning, pastoral care and support that I got through the outstanding educators and support staff at all of those public schools that afforded me the opportunities and pathways I have enjoyed.

As I observe my own children’s pathways through public schools I continue to be amazed and grateful for the opportunities that are presented to them. The truth is, we are a family that could choose to offer our children a tax-payer subsidised high fee private education. We made the active choice of public education for our children based on educational data, excellence in teaching and learning, and diversity and culture. We are certain that the life skills, opportunities to learn and build friendships with others from diverse backgrounds will serve our children well – in fact much better - in their lives ahead.

My hope for the future is that, as a community, state and nation, we truly come to recognise these great attributes of public education and we not only embrace the public system but resource it so that every Australian child has access to the great opportunities on offer.

David Bartlett, Former Premier Tasmania