Labor fails to deliver extra support for schools

The Weatherill Labor Government has failed to act on its promise to relocate 300 staff from central office to work directly with schools.

The promise of staff relocations from Head Office in Flinders Street was raised in the Governor’s speech at the opening of Parliament in February 2015, in which he said “to better support our schools, the staff the Government employs to provide support will be relocated from central office to work more closely with school leaders at the local level”.

In August 2015 an Education Department media release announced that 300 staff would be relocated “from central office to work directly with schools to improve program delivery and teaching practices”.

However under questioning from Shadow Education Minister, John Gardner, in Question Time this week, Minister Close revealed that the Government is still “working towards a relocation of those staff”:

“We are working through locations that would be appropriate, and part of that is about maintaining the importance of having a single unit within the department but also being able to release it from the view of being held within Flinders Street, which has been regarded for a number of years as a place that is a little remote from the schools.  The intention is to find a location outside of Flinders St to house those teaching and learning staff and, in turn, that much of the work of those staff is done not only within that single unit but also working closely not just with schools but also with partnerships.”

“More than a year after Labor promised to move 300 staff out of head office to provide better support for schools, the Minister is still equivocating about what their role is going to be and where they might go,” said Shadow Education Minister John Gardner.

“These staff should be in classrooms, not sitting in Flinders Street.

“Moving a unit from one section of the Education Department building in Flinders Street, to another Education Department building – or possibly to another floor in Flinders Street – is not good enough.

“This week’s revelations are a concerning sign of a government more focused on spin than services.”