Greens Call for Education Ombudsman

The Education and Children’s Services Bill is currently before the state Parliament’s Upper House.

The Greens have moved that the new Act enshrine a specialist Education Ombudsman as part of the so-called ‘once in a generation’ reform.

The following quotes are attributable to Tammy Franks:

In what the Government is touting as the biggest overhaul of education legislation in a generation we are still missing an Education Ombudsman – despite the Liberal Party in Parliament having previously supported the creation of an Education Ombudsman while in Opposition.  

As they grow up, every South Australian will likely spend more than a decade in our school system and the education system is the second largest government employer: surely, we can get the best for all in that system with the protection, rigor and reform that a specialist ombudsman would bring to the table.

Reports of problems in our education system are all too common, from teacher’s union complaints about stress placed on under-resourced staff, to parents feeling pressured to vote for school closures, to seemingly an epidemic of bullying. It’s deeply disappointing that we still don’t have an independent person or body to handle an education complaint.

We have an Ombudsman for many areas of life, but not for education. Yet education is so pivotal surely it deserves the scrutiny and specialist expertise of an Education Ombudsman to address issues and identity problems before they become systemic and intractable.

There is currently no specialist independent person or body to handle complaints within the education system. We are lagging behind other OECD countries on this, where approximately two thirds of countries have an Ombudsman or agency to receive complaints related to public schools.

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