As part of the implementation of the Whole of Government Complaints Management Strategy, the Government has made a formal commitment to the principles of the Australian Standard on Complaints Handling (AS 4269). Consequently, by 1 January 2005, all agencies, including the Department of Education and Training are required to have in place a complaints management system that conforms to the principles of the Australian Standard. This obligation applies to each worksite across the Department. The Department of Premier and Cabinet will audit compliance with this initiative in 2005.
1 Policy Statement (Dept. Education and Training)
Employees of the Department of Education (the Department) are responsible for managing the resolution of enquiries, concerns, complaints and disputes lodged by students, parents, members of the community, employees of government and non government agencies and the Department in their private capacity .
Employees of the Department will make every effort to promptly resolve enquiries, concerns and complaints preferably at the local level where appropriate, in accordance with the principles of procedural fairness
Link --- http://www.ombudsman.wa.gov.au/Publications/Documents/guidelines/Procedural-fairness-guidelines.pdf
Principals, directors and line managers are responsible for establishing and maintaining processes for managing and reviewing enquiries, concerns and complaints that are appropriately managed at the local level. Local level Means a school, district or central office directorate/branch..
The Executive Director, Professional Standards and Conduct is responsible for resolving complaints that cannot be resolved at a local level.
APPENDIX B COMPLAINTS MANAGEMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURES MANUAL - SCHOOL SITE-SPECIFIC This is suggested format/content only and can be amended to suit individual school requirements.
To ensure that complaints lodged at this school are resolved in a prompt and efficient manner.
To promote the highest standard of professionalism in dealing with our community.
Staff at this school are responsible for managing the resolution of disputes and complaints lodged with us.
We will make every effort to promptly resolve disputes and complaints lodged with us according to the principles of procedural fairness.
Where we cannot resolve a complaint, the complainant, Principal or District Director can forward a written complaint to the Director General of the Department of Education and Training.
PLEASE NOTE; All of the above has been downloaded from the DET's web site. http://www.det.wa.edu.au/policies/detcms/policy-planning-and-accountability/policies-framework/guidelines/complaints-management-toolkit.en?oid=com.arsdigita.cms.contenttypes.guideline-id-3741924
Kalbarri District High School. (KDHS)
The Karen Adams/Isaac Story.
(written and autherised by Karen Adams)
Isaac started KDHS in February 2003. (Isaac has Autism a profound disability)
From the beginning there was a problem of:-
Education Aids (E.A.'s) not being qualified or experienced.
E.A.'s receiving little training and training not compulsory (most did not attend when offered)
KDHS did not employ certain people who did have qualifications/experience who asked for employment/relief work.
Few good E.A.'s Isaac did have were always taken away from him for various reasons (including "not being able to fit into school timetable")
(I quickly came to the conclusion that my child's interests were never in the forefront of management decisions).
KDHS's answer to my concern about inexperienced E.A.'s, was that the teacher was responsible for Isaac's education and would direct and monitor E.A.'s closely. However, this was not usually the case.
Year 4 (October 2008) and all of Year 5 (2009)
Isaac was removed from mainstream class (without any discussion with myself)
Isaac was isolated in a separate room, with another autistic boy (who also has Fragile X)
Isaac was isolated from his friends with no integration at all.
This lack of inclusion also included recess and lunch.
Isaac was put with Kindy and Pre-Primary children at recess and lunch (at age 10)
One E.A. was assigned to both boys for approximately 70% of school time, and because the other boy is a lot more demanding, "full on", than Isaac, it tended to be Isaac who was neglected/left to his own devices.
Came to conclusion that KDHS was FAILING TO PROVIDE ISAAC WITH AN EDUCATION.
Isaac learnt bad habits from other boy and brought these bad habits home.
Also, his supposed teacher (he was assigned to Year 5 class, in writing only) had no contact with Isaac or E.A.'s. KDHS instead assigned a teacher (who had no previous knowledge/experience) approx. 3 - 5 hours per week to overview both autistic boy's education plans and manage the E.A.'s.
Isaac was not supervised when he went to the disabled toilet. This lack of supervision resulted in Isaac constantly locking himself in the toilet and flooding it and saturating himself. This continued to happen, despite my complaints that he was bringing this behaviour home and that I was not happy that he was not being accompanied to toilet.
It was also apparent that the E.A.'s also had little interest in their jobs, and seemed to spend more time chatting than teaching, e.g. even when there were two aides in the room, Isaac was left to go to the toilet by himself. (I frequently would turn up to collect him at the end of the day and would find him flooding the toilet, turning the taps on full and splashing water everywhere (no E.A. in sight)
May 2009 - Isaac underwent IQ Test (by School Psychologist) and results showed he had a severe intellectual disability.
Feb 2009 - Isaac's aid time was reduced from 0.9 to 0.7 by Schools Plus. Jamie Senbergs (Vice Principal) told me Schools Plus had advised him "not to prop the system up anymore", i.e. not to use school money to make up aid time to 0.9. (even when Isaac had 0.9, KDHS told me they had to cover some aid time for recess, lunch etc).
I asked on numerous occasions for KDHS to reapply for extra aid time for Isaac when it was proven he had an "intellectual disability". Jamie Senbergs advised me that he had done so, BUT I do not believe this to be the case.
Feb 2009 - IEP meeting was held but NO DOCUMENTS were signed, and NO BEHAVIOUR MANAGEMENT PLAN was put in place.
As I had done at the end of 2008, I again asked school about INTEGRATING Isaac more with his class - at this stage there was NO INTEGRATION whatsoever. Jamie Senbergs and his class teacher (who I never saw again) assured me that they were working towards more integration, but that they needed more time!
Throughout Year 5 (2009) I had many meetings with Jamie Senbergs and Steve Wells (Principal), many of which were attended by Sharyn May, Disability Services Commission, Local Area Coordinator (DSC, LAC) trying to agree on ways to work toward this.
Constantly met with excuses and resistance by school management.
Many promises were made, but not upheld.
By end of 2009, KDHS had only managed to put Isaac in the class with peers for 10-15 minutes a day (if that) and still not at recess and lunch and not even for sport lessons.
July 2009 - Sharyn May LAC was banned from school grounds for reasons later proven to be not true - KDHS had to make apology to her manager and state that she was welcome back at KDHS.
Sharyn had been accused of discussing Isaac with Occupational Therapist (Allied Health) which I had given permission for her to do and for telling him to no longer provide services to Isaac. However, she had actually asked him to not pull out as we were in the process of trying to get more integration.
Occupational Therapy (O.T.) had withdrawn services to Isaac as he stated that his OT programme revolved around integration in the classroom.
July 2009 - DSC advised me to invite Independent Disability Advocacy Service (IDAS) to one of our meetings with KDHS.
KDHS reacted very defensively to IDAS (Independent Disability Advocacy Services) being present, although they were advised that NO LEGAL ACTION had been taken.
KDHS also reacted negatively to any suggestions/requests made by myself or any of the professionals working with Isaac, i.e. Occupational Therapist or Speech Therapist from Allied Health (SEE SPEECH PATHOLOGISTS'S last report at end 2009).
KDHS failed to implement any of the Speech Therapist's programme and Speech Therapist (S.T.) reported being encountered by a lack of interest from school and E.A.'s to any of her suggestions.
OCTOBER 2009 - Autism Intervention Team (Sarah Peet) visited school and devised a new timetable for Isaac, BUT she also failed to implement .S.T's programme. e.g. Use of GOTALK 9. I found her to be very opinionated and single-minded.
From August 2009 - school started their "Campaign of bullying and harassment" against me. (IDAS involvement appeared to trigger this behaviour and my continual requests for change)
This bullying included reporting me to my doctor (also my employer) accusing me of behaving aggressively and insinuating that I was "mentally unstable".
Steve Wells brought the Police to my house (when I had severe dose of the 'flu) and when I questioned him as to his reasons, he replied that he had been told that "I was suicidal".
He had obviously been listening to IDLE GOSSIP and took it upon himself to act without any investigations.
KDHS also reported me to DCP (Child Protection) and I had to undergo an interview by them.
KDHS also reported me to Kalbarri Police on more than one occasion for alleged reasons, ALL OF WHICH were not substantiated.
OCTOBER 2009 - I was banned from Isaac's classroom and was told that I had to drop him off and pick him up from school office (on edge of school grounds). I found this request to be quite ridiculous and yet another form of intimidation.
This decline in relationship with school had been accentuated by an incident I did not find out about until after the event.
June 2009 - At a meeting with Steve Wells and Jamie Senbergs they informed me Isaac would have no E.A. on a Wednesday afternoon. When questioned, they advised that Isaac would join a High School class and be supervised by a teacher and students. Despite my protestations and concern, they did exactly that.
THE VERY FIRST WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON, an incident occurred:-I was later told by a High School student that Isaac had escaped from the classroom, while AL McGREGOR (Deputy Principal teaching this class) had left the room for a CONSIDERABLE AMOUNT OF TIME.
Isaac proceeded to make his way through the breezeway to the school oval (which is NOT FENCED) AND WAS SEEN RUNNING AROUND OVAL - without his clothes on. BREACH OF RISK MANAGEMENT AND LACK OF DUTY OF CARE.
I was angry that KDHS had not reported this incident to me and when I asked Jamie Senbergs if the incident had occurred, he assured me it had not happened.
I asked him to investigate and let me know.
He never came back to me to confirm "yes" or "no".
A few days later, I again asked J. Senbergs whether incident had taken place and he looked me in the eye and totally denied incident had occurred.
A few weeks later I was in Isaac's room and opened up the communication book between the E.A.'s and happened to open it up at a page which had a full description of Isaac escaping and being naked on the oval! - THIS BOOK HAS SINCE GONE MISSING (one of the E.A.'s also told me verbally that incident DID TAKE PLACE ).
As I was reading communication book, Steve Wells, Jamie Senbergs and Al McGregor came into the room and backed me into a corner, making me feel quite intimidated. Al McGregor firstly accused me of stealing from one of the E.A.'s handbags (which was unfounded - proved nothing had been taken). I was astounded and felt threatened.
I was told I was not allowed to read this communication book. I was UNDERSTANDABLY ANGRY but when asked to go to the office with them I refused as I did not want to go alone without any support person. (I had by this stage, realised that they were very good at manipulating situations and LYING!)
They phoned my employer and told him I had been acting aggressively.
Not long after this, they banned me from school grounds, on more than one occasion.
By last term 2009 I no longer felt confident with duty of care provided by KDHS e.g.
School Sports Day - I was text by a friend who advised me Isaac was very distressed and had been left unattended in full sun (the E.A.'s were sitting some distance away, totally ignoring him)
Also I realised I was "bashing my head against a brick wall" in getting school to try and integrate Isaac more with his class.
Realised that if Isaac was to have some sort of education, I would have take him out of KDHS and seek an alternative school, WHICH MEANT HAVING TO LEAVE KALBARRI and MOVE TO GERALDTON.
ENROLLED ISAAC AT HOLLAND STREET SCHOOL. (HSS)
Isaac did not attend much of last term 2009 at KDHS due to my concern for his welfare, and knowledge that he was not receiving much in the form of an education.
Had to give up my job and my brand new Baptist Care House, I had only lived in for 2 years.
Hard to find employment in Geraldton as I cannot work in school holidays.
HAVE SUFFERED A GREAT DEAL EMOTIONALLY AND FINANCIALLY due to the actions of KDHS.
ALSO, two of Isaac's educational games I left at the school (in his room) disappeared and KDHS informed me they were not liable (could not compensate me) as I had not logged them in a book. However, I was never advised to do this. These games were worth approx. $150 in total.
6th December 2009 - Isaac and I moved to Geraldton.
I agreed with Principal of Holland Street School (HSS) that for staffing purposes and to ease Isaac in gently, he would attend HSS two days a week for last two weeks of term 2009.
However, first day I took Isaac to HSS, Angela Roberts (Principal) informed me that Yvette Tormey, Student Services Manager (District Office) had advised her that Isaac was not allowed to start at HSS until she had spoken to me to ensure "I had explored all my options"
I was extremely confused and annoyed, especially when I phoned her from HSS and on numerous occasions over the next week and a half, only to be told she was unavailable and would return my call.
She finally returned my call over a week later, day before end of term!!! I assured her I had definitely explored all my options and could not understand her denying Isaac going to school as legally he was entitled to attend school.
Y. Tormey then told me Isaac was NOT ELIGIBLE to attend HSS!! Despite me reminding her that Isaac had been diagnosed with an intellectual disability which meant he was eligible. (She was referring to his PDD-NOS diagnoses)
She asked that I get a letter from Isaac's Pediatrician Dr M. Jehangir to confirm that Isaac had been wrongly diagnosed at age 2 ½ and should have Full autism diagnosis.
Also asked for a letter from DSC to confirm that a re-diagnosis was in the pipeline.
Finally after meeting with her requests, I received a letter during holidays that Isaac was allowed to attend HSS.
NOVEMBER 2009 - I wrote a letter of complaint at end of November 2009 re KDHS addressed to Laurie Andrew, (Director, Mid-West District Office), c.c. to Minister for Education and Minister for Disabilities (see letter and survey)
Received a reply from L. Andrews (dated 16/12/09) stating that he had reviewed actions of KDHS in each of matters presented and was satisfied they had acted appropriately and denied that they had banned me from school grounds. Advised me to go to Standards Integrity Unit.
* JANUARY 2010* - I was not happy with this response and contacted local newspaper, the "GUARDIAN" who wrote 2 articles on the subject.
28/01/10 JANUARY 2010. L. Andrews's office called to ask for a meeting - told me I could bring my LAC (LAC was not allowed to attend - advised by her Manager)
Was advised by friends NOT TO ATTEND ALONE.
Barry Lakeman contacted me offering his advice and help with situation.
Asked District Office to put questions in writing rather than having a face to face meeting - THEY DECLINED.
FEBRUARY 2010 (1/2/ 10) - tried to arrange meeting with District Office either L. Andrews or Jenny Kuhn (other Director for Mid-West) and myself and Barry Lakeman.
Suddenly District Office no longer wanted meeting.
Spoke to Jenny Kuhn who told me they WERE NOT PREPARED TO DISCUSS ANY MATTERS RELATING TO KDHS.
Would only discuss HSS and Isaac's future.
Did not seem keen for Barry Lakeman to attend meeting.
REMINDED me more than once that Barry Lakeman had no official status with DSC or any other organisation and that he had no official capacity to represent me.
I advised her otherwise, and within a week had advised District Office, Head Office and the Integrity Unit that Barry Lakeman was my advocate/support person IN WRITING.
Jenny Kuhn (Director) also offended me by condescendingly asking me "Do you really want to re-hash all that stuff to do with Kalbarri?" I assured her that I did as it was "not that old", and matters had never been resolved.
1/2/10 - Laurie Andrews called to confirm what Jenny Kuhn had said. He also admitted that "as it was the holidays, it had been hard for him to get hold of people in Kalbarri to ask about my complaints"!
I am of opinion that he wrote his reply to my complaint without much consultation or any kind of proper investigation.
He advised that he could not re-investigate my complaint and that I would have to contact the Standards Integrity Unit.
2/02/10 FEBRUARY 2010 - Called Teresa Delaney (S.I.U.) Standards Integrity Unit.
5/2/10 - T. Delaney returned my call and advised me that;
They WOULD NOT BE SENDING AN INVESTIGATOR TO GERALDTON.
That it was not illegal that I was banned from school grounds.
That they would not investigate "naked incident" - satisfied it had not taken place (took word of KDHS).
That SIU could only offer a PARENT ADVOCACY AND LIAISON OFFICER who could liaise between myself and District Office.
I explained this was of no use as District Office refused to discuss KDHS.
8/2/10 - Spoke to Teresa Delaney again. This time she informed me that they were prepared to investigate "naked incident but not any of my other complaints".
I asked for all this in writing but to this day have not had anything in writing or any further verbal communication. Instead she passed my complaints back to District Office. Received letter from Trevor Price 11/2/10 (Manager, District Operations). (See letter)
2/2/10 - Called Deborah Shaw (Student Services, Head Office)
Asked for any documentation regarding Isaac i.e. IEP's, Behaviour Management Plans etc.
To date 12/3/10 still have not received anything.
Barry Lakeman has also spoken to Head Office requesting this information.
However have spoken to TREVOR PRICE (Manager, District Operations) who has called Head Office.
He informed me 12/3/10 that Head Office had found certain documentation, but were continuing to look for more. Have requested documentation found so far to be sent to me - AWAIT DOCS FOUND.
Trevor Price also informed me that Integrity Unit would be sending me a letter (written confirmation as to their investigations). I had asked him to contact PAUL O'CONNOR (Director Integrity Unit) as I had NOT RECEIVED ANY KIND OF RESPONSE, despite their stating they would "investigate Isaac's naked incident".
AWAIT SIU reply .
18/2/10 - Was advised by B. Lakeman that he had spoken to Paul O'Connor (SIU). P. O'Connor stated that "there was no point in taking incident (naked incident) any further, as no-one had done anything wrong". He had "closed the case".
* PROPER INVESTIGATION NOT CARRIED OUT - AGAIN JUST TOOK WORD OF KDHS.
25/2/10 - Education Reporter from West Australian called to say she was interested in reporting on story (Beth Hiatt). However, after contacting Education Dept Head Office and SIU - she seems more reticent (think she was threatened with legal action).
B. Hiatt informed me verbally that media spokesman from Head Office and SIU had now ADMITTED that naked incident did happen but was a lot less serious than described, i.e. that teacher involved had only left classroom a for a matter of seconds and that Isaac had only got as far as breezeway, and had not been on school oval and was not naked.
**N.B. ** End of February 2010.
KDHS finally respond to HSS's request for any documentation regarding Isaac.
Took nearly 3 months to send this information.
All they managed to send was:-
One IEP, dated Feb 2009
One IEP, dated March 2009? !!! (made up)
One school report from Semester One 2009 Two Speech Pathology Reports
All documentation sent by KDHS (faxed to HSS) has date of 6/4/2002 on each page - ISAAC HAD NOT EVEN STARTED SCHOOL IN 2002 (started February 2003) - FALSIFICATION OF DOCUMENTS ?
Also HSS only received Isaac's PECS FILE from KDHS 4/3/10 despite many requests for this to be forwarded on by HSS.
AWAIT DOCUMENTATION FOUND BY HEAD OFFICE, STUDENT SERVICES DIVISION.
AWAIT REPLY LETTER FROM STANDARDS INTEGRITY UNIT.
The Public Servants named in 'Karen's Story' and who are seen to have failed in areas including their duty of care all work in a position that should deserve community trust and respect. All have the opportunity to choose whether to help or hurt those who require their professional assistance. As you can see those we speak of have used assertions and assumptions to enforce what they believe is their unimpeachable authority. The KT believe this is part of the WA Department of Education's culture. Sadly this inexcusable behaviour of a few will no doubt taint the image of all their talented, dignified and respectful members/teachers.
It must be remembered that there is only one school in Kalbarri, the next is 106k away. It also needs to be understood that it is a criminal offence if you do not send your child to school. Karen had to continue with being bullied by the schools administration, an administration that failed dismally to provide her son with proper support and education. Karen's only other choice was to take her son out of this school and face prosecution/jail.
Here is one single mother who is trying hard to educate her disabled child in the hope he will one day join mainstream society and be a productive independent adult.
How can we trust the Education Department when they treat someone who is struggling with such contempt?
After publishing this story the KT expect the Education Department and others will unite and conspire to try and turn these perpetrators into victims, using words like Lies, Vexatious, Nutter and Psycho in an effort to discredit the truth and belittle those who oppose them. We also believe members of the Education Department administration cult will themselves lie and conspire to keep silent simply to exhaust their victims.
This matter has now been past over to the Ombudsman's Office (Case No. 19010). A full report of their investigation will be published on the KT web site.
Civil law suits are also expected to be initiated by the victims.
It's time someone was made accountable.
Link back to page 4 Kalbarri
The walls are crumbling, the vail of secrecy is beginning to lift off the Education Department's Administration.
Here is a link to a web site that the KT believes will again confirm the education department's administration does not deliver effective training and has little to no effective disciplinary procedures. More of that MALADMINISTRATION from one hell of an incompetent Government dept./Minister.
http://www.schoolbullies.org.au/ which in part reads. (Presented to inform and educate)
Staff Bullying in Australian Schools
"In 2007 Riley, Duncan and Edwards completed the first national online survey into staff bullying in Australian schools. The population of interest was employees in Australian schools in all States and Territories, including primary and secondary schools in both the Government and non-Government sectors. The survey found that 99.6% of respondents had experienced one or more of the forty-four instances of bullying listed in the survey - a highly disturbing finding in an area where zero tolerance to any form of bullying is the expected norm in Australian schools.
The Executive Summary of this research (Investigation of Staff Bullying in Australian Schools, Riley D., Duncan D.J, and Edwards J. 2009 <InvestigationOfStaffBullying_ExecSummary.pdf>) is available from this website (www.schoolbullies.org.au) and the report will be available in May 2009 from The Co-op Bookshop http://www.coop-bookshop.com.au/bookshop/show/9780980637717 and can be purchased online."
Page 3 Headline, WA Sunday Times 11.07.2010 reads:- "Teachers in sex assaults". It goes on to report, "Of the 120 serious child protection allegations levelled at staff, 46 cases were substantiated and 19 were not proven. The remaining 55 are under investigation.
Acting Education Minister John Day said each misconduct report was "highly concerning" because every child had the right to feel safe at school."
Reading on Mr Day is further reported to have said;
"I am assured that the department is doing everything possible to crack down on any staff member who fail to properly protect and care for children."
A full copy of this news paper article is available on request.
The KT would like to thank the Sunday Times and their reporter Yasmine Phillips for this timely article, it adds support to what we believe is poor leadership from an incompetent administration, an administration that oversees a very important government department, one that has for too long failed in its duty of performance and its duty of care.
Mr Paul O'Connor, head of the education department's professional standards and conduct unit also gets a mention in this article and is reported to have said; "each case involving child protection concerns was referred to police and the Corruption and Crime Commission". It may be a good opportunity to ask Mr Paul O'Connor just how the Karen Adams case is progressing? How much longer before we see this complaint resolved?
An update to Karen's story. 15.09.10
The KT asks our readers to carefully read the full article presented on page 2 of the Sunday Times dated 12th September 2010 (headline reads '70 complaints against school') Read this and the responses to that article on the web at link http://www.perthnow.com.au/news/kalbarri-district-high-school-at-centre-of-70-complaints/story-e6frg12c-1225918571774
We ask you to judge those who, by their remarks see this newspaper report as an attack on the teachers. Maybe it will be as obvious to you our reader as it was to the KT that this report focused once again on the incompetence and maladministration of the school's administration and the department headed up by Paul O'c Connor and not the teachers as a whole.
You may also identify and read what some of the well known Kalbarri dinosaurs have to say.
The KT thank the Sunday Times and their reporter Yasmine Phillips for their show of courage to once again bring this matter to the attention of the public. It is becoming obvious to most that it is getting harder and harder for these public servants to ignore their duty of care. No more sweeping it under the carpet ah Mr. Deputy Principal.
The department's professional standards and conduct unit executive director, Paul O'Connor, said each complaint was investigated and "no allegations of misconduct have been substantiated".
Education Minister Liz Constable refused to comment, citing legal reasons.
The KT received this letter/email from Mr David Axworthy, Acting Deputy Director General, Schools.
Tuesday 12/10/2010 - 9:34 AM
Link to LETTER
The KT's Comment/Opinion. Link
As promised, the Ombudsman's Report.
"Dear Ms Adams
Department of Education
Thank you for your letter received in this office on 16 April 2010 seeking an investigation by the Ombudsman into your complaint about the Department of Education (DET). I have now had the opportunity to consider your complaint.
As I understand it, you are complaining that:
1. DET failed to provide adequate integration arrangements for Isaac; and
2. DET failed to provide supervision arrangements for Isaac.
I am now in a position to inform you of the outcome of my investigation to date and my preliminary view of your complaint. This preliminary view has been formed on the material available to me and is provided to you so that you can advise whether I have correctly understood the facts of the matter, and to give you the opportunity to provide further information, or to make a further submission, in response. I will then form a final view, and will advise you and the DET of this.
In forming my preliminary view I have considered the following:
1. the information provided in your initial complaint to the Ombudsman;
2. the information provided in the DET's report;
3. the information provided in the DET's Behaviour Management in Schools Policy;
4. the information provided in Isaac's Documented Plan; and
5. the information provided in Isaac's Individual Behaviour and Risk Management Plan.
I note that in your complaint to the Ombudsman, you believe that you should be financially compensated and that employees of DET should be terminated. Before I proceed and provide you with the outcome of my investigation into your complaint I believe it is important for you to understand the role of the Ombudsman as I understand that the outcome you are seeking with your complaint to this office is the dismissal of school administration employees and financial compensation. The outcome you seek will not be achieved by the Ombudsman; accordingly you may need to pursue legal advice regarding your options.
The role of the Ombudsman is to investigate complaints about certain administrative actions of State Government departments and authorities and local government in accordance with the Parliamentary Commissioner Act 1971. For example, the Ombudsman can look at whether a decision made by a State Government agency was reasonable, based on consideration of all the facts and made in accordance with the relevant legislation or policy.
I understand that on 20 April 2010 you, together with your advocate, Mr Barry Lakeman and Mrs Lisa Dwyer, met with Mr Colin Pettit, Executive Director, Regional and Remote Schools and Mr Laurie Andrew, Director Schools and discussed your concerns about KDHS. During this meeting, I also understand that you acknowledged that Isaac is happy in his new school and you are content with the support he is receiving.
Allegation 1 - DET failed to provide adequate integration arrangements for Isaac
In your letter of complaint you have explained that you had met with KDHS on numerous occasions seeking an increase in the integration time allocated for Isaac, however I understand that in October 2008, Kalbarri District High School (KDHS) removed Isaac from his mainstream class and placed him in a separate room with another autistic boy. I also understand that one aid was assigned to both boys for approximately 70% of the schooling period. During recess and lunch Isaac was then integrated with Kindergarten and Pre-Primary school children, although he was in year 4 at the time.
DET has advised me that KDHS set up a Student at Educational Risk (SAER) room for Isaac and another Autistic boy of the same age; however his integration time in class would change from day to day, week to week as the Education Assistants (EA) were guided by Isaac's ability to cope at any particular time. He was in mainstream class approximately 60% of the time.
I understand that in the last timetable, which was designed in conjunction with a Visiting Teacher from the Centre for Inclusive Schooling's Autism team, Isaac was integrated into mainstream class at least 30% of the time. This took place every morning for 20 minutes increasing when possible dependant on Isaacs mood and behaviour for individual work in the class room. The idea was to gradually increase that time dependent on the ability of Isaac to cope in that situation.
Isaac did activities with his own peer group and was integrated across the school in areas such as Art, Home Economics and Sport however work in the SAER room for periods when he needed one on one time with his Educational Assistant for Maths, English and Lifeskills. These lifeskills also included going offsite to shops so that he could use money to buy things. These types of activities were designed to provide integration into the community.
Isaac was integrated during recess and lunch time where he was supervised by his Education Assistants and duty teachers. During these times he was free to play with other children in the main school however he preferred to sit on the grass and not join in with others whilst eating.
After recess there were a number of activities that Isaac joined his peer group class, these included library board games, stories, art, lego and sport. These activities usually last approximately 45 minutes or longer if able.
Unfortunately I am not in a position to provide you with expert advice regarding integration however, it is my opinion that the DET have acted in accordance with its Behaviour Management Policy. I also understand that you have complained to the DET regarding the above and that the DET have responded to you. Therefore, it is my view that the actions of DET are reasonable in this instance.
Allegation 2 - DET failed to provide supervision arrangements for Isaac
In your letter of complaint you specifically raised an incident concerning your son's supervision. In particular, you advised that in June 2009 you were advised that your son would not have an aid on Wednesday afternoons and would be supervised by a high school teacher. On the first Wednesday afternoon the supervising teacher left the room leaving Isaac in the care of Year 9 students. Isaac left the classroom and was later found where he was assisted in being dressed.
I understand that the above incident was investigated by the Mid West District Office and the DET's Standards and Integrity Directorate. I understand that on 11 March 2010 you were advised of the outcome of this investigation. You may not have agreed to the outcome of its investigation, however, it is my view that this course of action by DET is reasonable.
Further, the DET have advised me that Isaac was always supervised. The KDHS had specifically timetabled EA's to supervise Isaac at all recess and lunch time. At no time was Isaac left unsupervised.
In consideration of the above, it is my opinion that your complaint is not sustained. The DET have provided me with evidence to demonstrate that Isaac was integrated with other students at KDHS and was supervised at all times.
However, before forming my final view, I would welcome any further comment or submission that you may like to make regarding your complaint.
If I have not heard from you within 14 days of the date of this letter, I will assume that I have adequately addressed your concerns and I will close my file on your complaint. If at the end of this you have remaining substantive concerns, you have the option of requesting a review.
The KT is pleased to report that the Ombudsman's office is now involved in a review of this case.
Link to the next page
and a continuation of this story.