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Government’s lower standard puts charter school kids at risk

11 March 2014

Government’s lower standard puts charter school kids at risk

Unqualified charter school teachers will be exempted from a strict code of conduct for other teachers, and will not be subject to any oversight by the new Education Council, highlighting a dangerous double standard in the Governments’ flagship partnership schools, the Green Party said today.

The new Education Amendment Bill explicitly excludes unqualified partnership school teachers from any oversight and checks by the new Education Council, exposing pupils at the schools to a much lower standard of teaching and care than at other schools.

Under the Bill, untrained partnership school teachers are not required to meet the standards in the code of conduct for all other teachers, nor are they required to notify the council of any criminal convictions within three months, as other teachers are.

“The changes in this bill will create a lower standard of education and care for the kids who end up enrolled at partnership schools and puts those kids at much greater risk,” Green Party education spokesperson Catherine Delahunty said.

“Kids who attend these schools will not only be subjected to unqualified teachers but those teachers will be held to much lower standards than their qualified colleagues. That is unacceptable.

“In addition, the parents of partnership school students, and other teachers, will have no oversight body to complain to if they have any concerns about any unqualified teachers.

“Underprivileged kids targeted by these schools should be given the best quality teaching in the safest possible environment. But this Government wants an even lower standard of care for these kids than we previously thought.

“Parents of partnership school students have already been excluded from representation on their school board. They should be very concerned about the latest efforts to remove their ability to have any say in their kids’ education.

“Police vetting alone is not considered good enough for pupils taught by other teachers, who will be expected to abide by the code of conduct and meet regular competence and safety checks.

“If the National Government thinks the Education Council is the appropriate body to ensure that teachers are meeting the grade, it should make all teachers accountable for meeting those standards.

“The Green Party also has concerns about other aspects of the Bill, including the corporatisation of tertiary councils. We share teachers’ concern that the Education Council, be for teachers by teachers, which is not clearly a goal of this Bill, Ms Delahunty said.

ENDS

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