Created on Monday, 17 August 2009 13:00
Written by David Kelly
The Barnett Government’s announcement of the establishment of “30 Independent Public Schools” last week is of major concern to the SSTUWA. It should be of major concern to school communities, parents and the broader community.
Why? These are just a few issues:
- Lack of genuine consultation with key stakeholders in the development stage
- Undue haste in nominating to be part of the “scheme”, making a farce of the notion of “community consultation”
- Real concerns about the impact on equity and access issues in the public education system
- No discussion on the industrial ramifications for SSTU, CPSU-CSA and LHMU members
Despite Minister Constable assuring the Executive in term 1 2009 that consultation would occur around the Liberal Government’s pre election policy Empowering Local Communities, Government has proceeded without consultation.
In just under four (4) weeks school communities are to have discussed the notion of “Independent Public School” and determined if they will throw their hat in the ring.
A joint meeting of the SSTUWA, CPSU-CSA and LHMU Senior Officers was held with the Director General Sharyn O’Neill on Friday 14 August 2009. It was evident at this meeting that the “rules/ operation procedures” are in many instances being made up on the run. Further, no real consideration has been made of the impact on industrial instruments or various policy positions agreed between the parties. A further meeting is due this week.
WHAT SHOULD THE BRANCH DO?
- 1. Convene a branch meeting to discuss the matter
- 2. Identify any queries or concerns you currently have on the implementation of the “Independent Public Schools” and return comments on the attached proforma [see attached]
- 3. Consider the following resolutions for endorsement:
-  The __________ Branch of the SSTUWA condemns the Barnett Government for the introduction of “Independent Public Schools” and raises its major concern at the danger of creating a two tiered public education system.
-  The __________ Branch of the SSTUWA demands that the Barnett Government call a halt to the current implementation timelines for introduction of “Independent Public Schools” and enter into full and proper consultation with key stakeholders including the SSTU, CPSU-CSA, LHMU, parents and school communities and negotiate where appropriate.
-  The __________ Branch of the SSTUWA calls on the Barnett Government to make available all documentation associated with the development of the “Independent Public Schools” proposal in the interests of transparency and public accountability and in order to safeguard the public education system.
-  The ___________ Branch of the SSTUWA advices the school administration and School Council that it opposes this school nominating as an “Independent Public School” for a range of reasons including:
- the lack of proper consultation with key stakeholders in development stage and in the application phase
- a major concern that this move is ideologically drive and not in the best interests of maintaining and resourcing quality public education for all students in our system
- the lack of clarity in a number of key areas including impact on industrial conditions of all staff, end of line accountabilities for schools and school councils, review of implementation
- the undue haste to introduce the program which
- 4. Write to Premier Barnett, Minister for Education Dr Liz Constable, Minister Assisting The Minister for Education Mr Terry Redman, Shadow Spokesperson for Education Ms Michelle Roberts, Greens Spokesperson for Education Ms Alison Xamon, your local parliamentarians and the school council raising your concerns at the direction being taken under the Barnett Governments “Independent Public School” roll out. [See sample letter attached]
[Further advice and information for members and the school community will follow.]