Inquiry into structure ends in unnecessary confusion
Media reports that a principal has been 'sacked' and will be 'banned from working at any ACT Government school' are incorrect.
There is a shared recognition that the structure concerned was inappropriate and there is much that needs to be learnt from this experience.
However, statements by the Minister for Education in her media conference on Tuesday - and reports based on those statements - have been misleading. The Minister stated that the “officer responsible will no longer be a school principal” and the principal “won’t be going back to a school”. This is inaccurate.
The AEU has been genuinely taken aback by this misleading rhetoric. We expected, in good faith, that the Government would transparently convey what is in fact the case - the principal concerned will not be returning to that particular school.
The AEU is concerned for the welfare of the affected student, family and school community. This has been a difficult matter for many people. The AEU has been supporting affected members throughout this process and continues to do so.
The investigation concluded that a mistake was made in circumstances that were incredibly challenging. We hope and anticipate that Professor Shaddock's Expert Panel into Students With Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviours will provide important recommendations that will ensure educators are better supported and resourced, and which lead to serious systemic and long-term improvements.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics there are over 100,000 students with disabilities in Australian schools who receive no additional funding to support provision of education that meets their special needs.
Underfunding of students with disabilities severely undermines our capacity as educators to provide those children the start in life they deserve. It is long past time that Tony Abbott delivered the Gonski funding loading for students with disabilities, as he promised he would by the start of 2015, and it is time he committed to honouring the Commonwealth's signed agreements with state and territory governments to fully fund and implement Gonski into 2018 and 2019.