Bar­bara Scott recog­nised

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Front Page -

SWANBOURNE res­i­dent and for­mer State MP Bar­bara Scott’s ca­reer­long ad­vo­cacy of early child­hood learn­ing was awarded the Medal of the Or­der of Aus­tralia (OAM) in last week’s Aus­tralia Day Awards.

Mrs Scott said she was honoured to re­ceive the recog­ni­tion for her work as a teacher, ac­tivist and politi­cian over the years.

“The long-term im­pact of good early child­hood pro­grams is ev­i­dent in the late teen years – and it’s par­tic­u­larly ev­i­dent in boys aged 15-18 – when they have to make life choices like ca­reers, ed­u­ca­tion, and work,” she told the West­ern Suburbs Weekly.

The award is among oth­ers given to west­ern suburbs res­i­dents, in­clud­ing iron ore mag­nate An­drew For­rest, who was ap­pointed an Officer of the Or­der of Aus­tralia (AO) and for­mer State op­po­si­tion leader Eric Rip­per, who was ap­pointed a Mem­ber of the Or­der of Aus­tralia (AM).

Mrs Scott was a found­ing mem­ber of the Leed­erville-head­quar­tered Meer­ilinga Young Chil­dren’s Foun­da­tion, and was the Com­mu­nity Kin­der­garten pres­i­dent from 1978 to 1992.

As pres­i­dent of the Friends of Ngala she heads an or­gan­i­sa­tion that pro­vides vi­tal ser­vices to par­ents across WA.

She was raised on a farm near Merredin in the Wheat­belt. While pres­i­dent of the Clare­mont Kin­der­garten she be­came po­lit­i­cally ac­tive and protested at Par­lia­ment against a pro­posal to take teach­ers from four-year-olds’ classes.

“I be­came very out­spo­ken, say­ing every child in WA should have ac­cess to early child­hood de­vel­op­ment,” she said.

A sub­se­quent ca­reer as a South Metropoli­tan MLC from 1993 to 2009 in­cluded shadow port­fo­lios in ed­u­ca­tion and women’s in­ter­ests, cul­ture and the arts.

Mrs Scott said she was proud of writ­ing the Lib­eral Party’s poli­cies for ex­pand­ing kin­der­garten and early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion. “That was a great achieve­ment, in that I got a place for every child for two years in non-com­pul­sory ed­u­ca­tion with trained teach­ers,” she said.

Her Pri­vate Mem­ber’s Bill in 2006 was the first to re­quest the manda­tory re­port­ing of child abuse, and her work con­tin­ues as the first Of­fice of Chil­dren and Young Peo­ple am­bas­sador.

Mrs Scott is also pa­tron of the May Gibbs Foun­da­tion and Cool­bellup’s Pineview Kin­der­garten.

Pic­ture: Jon Bas­sett

Bar­bara Scott has been recog­nised for her work as a teacher, ac­tivist and politi­cian.

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