Estimates: Education DECD (2017)


DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT, $2,506,014,000

ADMINISTERED ITEMS FOR THE DEPARTMENT FOR EDUCATION AND CHILD DEVELOPMENT, $254,385,000

 

Minister:

Hon. S.E. Close, Minister for Education and Child Development, Minister for Higher Education and Skills.

 

Membership:

Mr Treloar substituted for Mr Whetstone.

 

Departmental Advisers:

Mr R. Persse, Chief Executive, Department for Education and Child Development.

Ms J. Riedstra, Deputy Chief Executive, Department for Education and Child Development.

Mr C. Bernardi, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, Department for Education and Child Development.

Ms S. Cameron, Executive Director, Learning Improvement, Department for Education and Child Development.

Mr B. Temperly, Executive Director, System Performance, Department for Education and Child Development.

Ms K. Weston, Executive Director, Strategic Policy and External Relations, Department for Education and Child Development.

 

The CHAIR: I declare the payments open for examination. I refer members to the Agency Statements in Volume 2. While we are having a changeover of advisers, I am not sure if the minister has an opening statement that might be readily to hand. We have the introduction of advisers.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: If I can introduce my advisers, I have on my right Rick Persse, who is the Chief Executive of the Department for Education and Child Development; Julieann Riedstra is on my left, who is the Deputy Chief Executive of the department; and next to her is Karen Weston, who is the Executive Director of Strategic Policy and External Relations. Behind me is Ben Temperly, who is the Executive Director of System Performance; Chris Bernardi, who is the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer; and Susan Cameron, who is the Executive Director of the Learning Improvement division.

I will make a brief opening statement, and I will include some commentary that covers the administered items where there is no opening statement for that item and it is coherent with school education. Education will be the key to the future of our children and the future of our state. We must ensure that every child receives a high-quality education no matter their background or their circumstances. This government is committed to achieving this and continues to build the foundations of education that prepare our children for the future. In all, we operate almost 1,000 children centres, preschools, primary and high schools throughout South Australia.

The pinnacle of our education system is the SACE qualification, which is of a very high standard and, in addition to South Australia, is taught in the Northern Territory, China, Malaysia and now Vietnam. This certificate aims to develop the capabilities of our students that they will need to enter the next phase of their lives, whether this is further education, a job or working for themselves.

This includes a foundation in literacy and numeracy, and we are moving towards integrating capabilities in innovation and entrepreneurship. It also includes initiatives such as the research project, which is aimed at introducing students to the demands of the learning needed for the 21st century. It allows students to draw together all the skills and understandings they have gained in their school career and apply them to a topic of interest and importance.

I note that research projects have been introduced as a compulsory element of high school certificates in many other places, and of course the IB (International Baccalaureate) has had the equivalent since the 1970s, namely, the extended essay. Given that it requires skills of initiative, research, analysis and problem solving—all crucial to 21st century workplaces—research projects are likely to continue to be added to modern high school qualifications.

It is pleasing to see that we have seen a recent increase in the number of students studying a language in year 12 since the universities made changes to their entry requirements two years ago at the request of this government. We must encourage children to establish an interest in one or more languages early and give them an opportunity to excel at these. Initiatives such as the two bilingual language programs that commenced this year—one in French and one in Chinese—are significant steps towards achieving this.

I am pleased to say that the number of students achieving their SACE is increasing each year. Last year, we saw a record 15,107 students achieve their SACE—a number that has been rising since 2011 when the new SACE was introduced. Pleasingly, we have also seen increases in the number of Aboriginal students and students from the country achieving their SACE.

It is important that our children's learning gets off to a great start. We cannot afford to leave anyone behind. In fact, the state government believes early childhood education is one of the best investments we can make. This state government is committed to expanding the network of children centres from 42 to 47, all of which will be opened by the end of 2018. We are also opening 20 nature-based outdoor learning areas in 20 preschools across South Australia, as evidence shows unstructured outdoor nature play, being active and learning new skills promote positive and healthy attitudes leading to behaviours that can be maintained over a lifetime.

However, these facilities are only as good as the educators who work in them. I am very proud to say that we are seeing great teaching in our preschools. Since 2014, 2,005 DECD preschools have been assessed and rated according to the National Quality Standard. Of these, almost 80 per cent have received an exceeding rating under the National Quality Standards, compared with 56 per cent nationally. This highlights that South Australian public preschools are among the very best in Australia.

Once our children begin school, it is important that we give them an opportunity to explore a number of different subjects so that they can start to focus on what they enjoy and what they are good at. In response to the changing world, the need for innovation and an understanding of technology increasingly includes science, technology, engineering and maths subjects (STEM). This is one of the growing fields throughout the world, and our children must at least have an understanding of these subjects. If they enjoy STEM, they must have the opportunity to become expert in it. This will be key not only to their futures but to the future of South Australia.

This state government is investing in STEM. An amount of $250 million was allocated towards the STEM Works project in the 2016-17 budget, and we will deliver STEM facilities to 139 schools over the four years following. The first STEM Works project at Brompton Primary School was completed in June 2017, and all projects will be completed by the end of 2018. This will give students and teachers access to modern facilities that will encourage children to experiment and collaborate in these fields.

In December 2016, construction began on the Adelaide Botanic High School, which will be a STEM-focused school. An amount of $100 million has been committed towards the new school, which will cater for 1,250 students, and Mr Alistair Brown was appointed as principal in May 2017. The school is scheduled to open in 2019 with year 8 and 9 students. Furthermore, we are investing in teachers to increase their confidence in teaching STEM. The STEM learning strategy will train teachers to lead these areas in pre, primary and high schools, so that the standard is raised for all our students.

We are offering many other opportunities for our teachers to increase their skills and abilities to inspire learning. We are offering leaders the opportunity to complete a Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership. Seventy-five graduated in March this year, and we have 159 leaders currently enrolled. Furthermore, we are offering teachers scholarships to undertake master's degrees in relevant areas of study, including education, IT, Aboriginal studies, special education, literacy, and languages.

This state government recognises that these teachers and school staff must be supported to direct all their attention towards teaching students. From 1 July this year, the state government is fully funding electricity, gas and water costs, and processing all utility invoices for every South Australian public school and preschool. This will mean that our schools can use more of their resources on education and staff can concentrate on students instead of administration.

We will also continue to invest so that they have the facilities they need. As announced in this year's budget, Adelaide's growing northern and southern suburbs will be home to two new birth to 12 schools for 1,500 students each. This adds to the investment in education infrastructure that this government has made in the growing northern and southern suburbs of more than $500 million since 2002.

This new capacity in our public education system will give these students access to the most modern facilities. These schools will give students the opportunity to develop the capabilities that will get them the jobs, the places for further study or the entrepreneurial opportunities of the future. Education is vital to the future of every one of our students and to our state, and this state government is committed to ensuring it is of the highest quality.

Mr GARDNER: In Budget Paper 3, on page 93 there is a note in relation to student enrolment numbers that a 1 per cent growth in government school enrolment numbers above the levels incorporated in the budget would increase expenditure by approximately $20 million per annum. Can the minister advise if the dollar impact therefore decreases if there is a reduction in numbers?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is right. The funding is based on enrolments. We have seen a small trend towards government schools recently that has seen quite an expansion in our numbers.

Mr GARDNER: With regard to the 1 per cent sensitivity to enrolments, does the dollar impact change whether the enrolment is in primary or secondary school?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes.

Mr GARDNER: Are you able to advise what the rate therefore is for both primary and secondary school enrolments?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will take that on notice to provide the detail.

Mr GARDNER: In Budget Paper 4, Volume 2, starting with page 13, for the minister's office the FTEs listed are 10. I note that last year 11 FTEs were listed and I asked whether there were any other staff in the minister's office. About a month ago, we got an answer back saying there were six ministerial liaison officers and other people as well. Can I please ask now what other staff are in the minister's office paid for by the department, or indeed by other departments, in addition to the 10 FTEs listed here? If we could get an answer sometime in the next eight months this time, that would be useful.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will absolutely commit to give you an answer more quickly than last time and, yes, of course there are additional staff who are administrative departmental staff from the different departments for which I am responsible.

Mr GARDNER: We will go to another budget paper, Budget Paper 5, page 31, the new superschools. I am sure there is probably one in the other budget papers as well. You have $7 million over four years for the two new superschools. The minister identified them also in her opening statement. In my budget speech, I actually identified a number of questions that I would be asking today, so I am hoping that some of the answers are fairly easy to hand. In relation to the Sellicks-Aldinga new superschool, where exactly is that to be located, or is it yet to be determined?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The location for that school is yet to be determined.

Mr GARDNER: Presumably, either Sellicks or Aldinga then. When are these two schools set to open?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is expected that they will be completed by 2022. That is when our demographic analysis suggests we require them.

Mr GARDNER: What year levels will be offered at that time?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will make a decision closer to the time. Because the schools will be completed, it will be possible simply to start the school from all year levels, but it may be that the demographics make sense to start in some year levels and allow it to grow over time, and the answer may be different for each of those schools.

Mr GARDNER: The minister has identified that the demographic research the department has done has identified this need, but, especially if you are considering opening all year levels with 1,400 R to 12 students, 100 special school students and 55 in children's centres, what existing schools are going to be impacted and in what way are they being engaged and consulted?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We are building schools because we know that we need them and that the existing schools will not have the capacity. As we develop these schools over the next few years, we will be working very closely with the existing school communities, and that will be part of the consideration as to which years we start with.

Mr GARDNER: I accept that, but certainly if those schools in the surrounding area are currently over capacity by 1,500, or on track to be over capacity by 1,500, then you can imagine the new schools opening without impacting those schools. The minister has identified that the department will be engaging with schools in the surrounding areas, so can you identify which schools you will be engaging with over the coming years to talk about how these new schools will impact them?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We could probably give you a comprehensive list on notice, but it will be all the schools within those catchment areas. Just to distinguish, saying that we may have all year levels does not imply 1,500 students; it is simply about the age of the students who cannot be accommodated elsewhere. It may not mean that there is a full year level for each of those ages, so it may well not be 1,500 immediately. It will be dependent entirely on the needs of the community, but the school will be completely ready. We can make those decisions. We are not closing any schools in the area. It is about balancing the numbers as we build up. We have some time to do that while the site is identified and the schools are built.

Mr GARDNER: Is the government giving consideration to starting the school with only a primary school level or only a high school level to ease into that impact on local schools? Is that one of the options available?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Naturally, when we say that we may start with some year levels, we may start with all. Any combination is feasible; it needs to be dependent on the requirements of the community.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to the 100 special school students identified as being part of the cohort of these schools, is the plan for there to be a special unit within the school or a special school located adjacent to or near the main school, as we have at some schools at the moment?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will allow that to also be part of the consultation and the work with the community. We are anticipating that it will be a unit that is linked to the school rather than a discrete school within that larger site.

Mr GARDNER: When are you expecting those special classes or that special unit to be operational?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It will certainly be available immediately and we expect it to be needed immediately it is opened.

Mr GARDNER: Can the minister explain how the public-private partnership will operate?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The Treasurer will be the commissioning minister for that, so I think it is simpler if we direct questions to him so that there is a single point of truth.

Mr GARDNER: Will there be a cost to the education budget once the school is operational in 2022?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Indeed, there will be the operating costs that the students require. As the number of students are there, then we will be paying for the teachers to teach them.

Mr GARDNER: Will the schools be funded from 2022 as other schools are?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Using the same model as the current PPP schools that we have.

Mr GARDNER: One school that does not appear in these documents is the Magill education precinct. Why has the government not progressed that commitment from the last election?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I understand with Magill that a feasibility study is either close to completion or may, indeed, have been completed. I am yet to see it. As the member will be aware, this is a feasibility study that has been undertaken with the University of South Australia. We will speak alongside our partners in due course.

Mr GARDNER: As the local MP, I obviously have some level of interest, and the minister would be aware that I am a member of the governing council, and I have been very careful not to mix those two roles. However, as the local MP, I have been given a copy of the correspondence from the Norwood Morialta High School Governing Council chair, Sandra Mestros, in which she writes to the minister:

…the NMHS Governing Council and school community were disappointed that there was no mention of the Magill Education Precinct development in the SA State Budget presented in June. As you can appreciate, our Governing Council and community have invested a large amount of time discussing the future of our great school and are eagerly awaiting an outcome…

She goes on to seek a 'prompt formal written response' from you and offers to meet in person. Minister, have you read this correspondence and responded to it? Alternatively, will you be open to meeting with the school's task group?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am always open to meeting with people from school communities. I will have to check my records as to whether we have responded to that letter yet, but there is nothing to go into the budget until we have a completed and agreed feasibility study and can contemplate priorities against other priorities.

Mr GARDNER: Will that feasibility study be completed in time for consideration of these matters before the Mid-Year Budget Review, presumably in December?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I cannot comment about the timing. We will see.

Mr GARDNER: Has the progress of the Magill education precinct development been impacted in any way by the proposed development that a private Chinese school may be seeking to operate from an adjacent site to the proposed DECD build also on the UniSA campus?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I cannot speak on behalf of the University of South Australia, but it would be surprising if plans for their campus did not have an impact on other plans for their campus. I imagine that there is an interaction, but it is a University of South Australia interaction.

Mr GARDNER: Has the Department for Education or the minister or the state government had any interactions with the Chinese-based private company that is looking to build that school?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The chief executive had a brief meeting with them while on a China delegation earlier this year, but it was a brief meeting and I am not sure how much content there was in it. I am unsure whether I have met with them because I have been to China and I have met people alongside the University of South Australia, but I am not certain if it is the same group.

Mr GARDNER: Can the minister check whether she has met with them and get back to us?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes.

Mr GARDNER: Can we also be advised of the nature and detail of the CEO's meeting and, perhaps if records need to be checked, they can come back, too?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We can do, but I think it was just a high-level and polite meeting. I do not think there was any content, but we can confirm.

Mr GARDNER: If we go to Budget Paper, Volume 2, page 20, which is the catch-all school education budget page, I have some questions about some matters relating to the Errington Special Education Centre. On 11 April, you took some questions on notice in the house, and I would like to ask if you are able to provide some answers or an update to this committee on the matter. On 11 April, you identified that the chief executive was going to review in detail the extraordinary comments of Magistrate O'Connor in relation to a case involving staff at the school, and determine whether he or the department needed to take any actions in response to the case. Has that review now been completed and, if so, what actions have been taken?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am loath to comment on the record because I understand that SAPOL is still involved in this matter, so I will take it on notice and see what is appropriate for me to say in public.

Mr GARDNER: I am happy if the minister wants to take a couple of other questions on notice, but I do have other questions. If the review has not been completed, what is the time frame to complete it?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am going to take everything on this matter on notice.

Mr GARDNER: On the same day, the minister undertook to determine whether any other or independent reviews of this case were underway and get back to the house. She has just identified, obviously, that SAPOL has an interest there. Can she now provide that advice?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Again, I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Is SAPOL's review in relation to their own internal conduct of the prosecution, or is it in relation to the education department's activities in relation to these matters, or is it in relation to something else?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will not comment on that at this stage. We will take everything relating to this matter on notice and determine what is appropriate to give a written answer to.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to another question taken on notice by the minister in April, what is the status of the three staff members who were singled out by the magistrate for comment?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will continue to take those matters on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Has the minister or the chief executive met or spoken with the former teacher, Jemima Raymond, who was acquitted in Magistrate O'Connor's court?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No, the chief executive has not.

Mr GARDNER: And the minister?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No, I have not.

Mr GARDNER: Is the minister, or the chief executive, willing to meet with Ms Raymond to discuss her situation?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I understand there are legal proceedings, so I will have to take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Will Ms Raymond be allowed to regain her registration as a teacher so she can regain employment in her profession in South Australia?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am afraid that is the same answer.

Mr GARDNER: I will stay on the same page but maybe ask some different questions. I am interested in the structure of the department. The chief executive's restructure has helpfully been identified through handy flowcharts on the department's website, with attractive pictures of lots of people who are in this room—

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: You are very generous.

Mr GARDNER: —which is helpful because it helps us put these things into order. We have the eight executive directors underneath. I note that the flowchart has been updated in the last couple of weeks. I understand there has been some further restructure and some of these notes identify that changes from the senior executive realignment in December 2016 are now suggesting that this organisational chart may change further in coming months.

I would like to go through each of the eight areas, starting with the area under Ms Riedstra, Mr Bernardi and Mr Treadwell. Are there any further new directors to be created in this area as a result of the executive realignment, or is the current document identified on the website still accurate? Are there to be any changes to it in coming months?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is still accurate for that area.

Mr GARDNER: As at today or according to the most recent figures, how many FTE staff are working under each of the directors or acting directors and what is the headcount?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: What is the total budget over the forward estimates for the divisions under each director?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff are seconded to that division from schools or other areas in the department and who meets that cost?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The division headed by Ms Riedstra?

Mr GARDNER: This is the division headed by Ms Riedstra, with the assistance of Mr Bernardi and Mr Treadwell.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am asking just for clarity because I will be taking it on notice. We need to make sure what we are answering.

Mr GARDNER: Where are each of these directors based, and how many of their staff are based at that location (Flinders Street or Hindmarsh or anywhere else)?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The three identified executives are based at Flinders Street.

Mr GARDNER: Are all their staff also based at Flinders Street?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No, they are not.

Mr GARDNER: Are the others all based at Hindmarsh?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No, they are across the state.

Mr GARDNER: How many of their staff are based at each location?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to the people and culture section, headed by Ms Schonfeldt, we have five directors listed. Are there any further new director positions to be created in this area as a result of the December realignment?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No.

Mr GARDNER: So these five are set in place. As at today or according to the most recent figures, how many FTE staff are working under each of the directors and what is the headcount?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: What is the total budget over the forward estimates for the divisions under each director?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff are seconded to those divisions from schools or other areas in the department?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Where is this executive director based?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: She is also based at Flinders Street.

Mr GARDNER: Are all the directors under her based at Flinders Street?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes, they are.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff are therefore at that location? I suspect it will be similar to the question that we just took on notice.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is right, so we will take that on notice and make sure that is answered.

Mr GARDNER: Moving on to Learning Improvement with Ms Cameron, there are five directors listed at the moment. Is that going to be maintained until the end of the year or until the next realignment?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes.

Mr GARDNER: As at today or according to the most recent figures, how many FTE staff are working under each director and what is the headcount?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will provide that to you.

Mr GARDNER: What is the total budget over the forward estimates for each director's division?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will provide that to you.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff are seconded to those divisions from schools or other areas in the department and who is meeting that cost?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will provide that to you.

Mr GARDNER: Which of these directors are at Flinders Street and which are at Hindmarsh?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: All the directors are at Hindmarsh.

Mr GARDNER: Is the executive director based at Hindmarsh?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: She is.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff are based at Hindmarsh and how many are based at any other locations?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will return with that answer.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to Partnerships, Schools and Preschools with Ms Millard, there are currently four directors listed and I think 20 education directors. Is that arrangement being maintained until the next realignment?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes.

Mr GARDNER: As at today or according to the most recent figures, how many FTE staff are working under each of those directors and/or education directors and/or acting directors and what is the headcount?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We can provide that.

Mr GARDNER: What is the total budget over the forward estimates for the divisions under each director?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will provide that.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff are seconded to those divisions from schools or other areas in the department and who meets that cost?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will provide that.

Mr GARDNER: Where is each of those directors based?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Other than the education directors, they are based at Flinders Street.

Mr GARDNER: The education directors are based around the state?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is right, and those directors are on the list to go to Hindmarsh when it is able to accommodate them.

Mr GARDNER: Just formally, in case I did not get it on the record before, how many staff are based at each of those locations and other locations?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will return with that.

Mr GARDNER: On the education directors, does the same number of staff work with each education director or does that vary from region to region?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Essentially, the model is the same, although there are slight variations. I will confirm the detail for you. One that strikes me is possibly the APY, which might have different requirements, but the model is essentially a standard one.

Mr GARDNER: I will move to the System Performance division, headed by Mr Temperly. Where is he based?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Flinders Street.

Mr GARDNER: Currently, there is one director, one acting director, one manager and one general manager listed under him. Are they all based at Flinders Street as well?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes, they are.

Mr GARDNER: As at today or according to the most recent figures, how many FTE staff are working under the director, the acting director, the manager and the general manager in their respective portfolios and what is the headcount?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will provide that information.

Mr GARDNER: What is the total budget over the forward estimates for the divisions under each of those individuals?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will provide that.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff are seconded to those divisions from schools or other areas in the department, and who meets that cost?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will provide that.

Mr GARDNER: Are all their staff based at Flinders Street?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will provide that detail, too. I think they are, but we will be clear.

Mr GARDNER: If not, how many are at other locations?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes.

Mr GARDNER: I will move to Strategic Policy and External Relations with Ms Weston—welcome. There are currently three directors and a manager identified in this area, and I think this is one where there has been some change recently. Are there any further directors, managers or other changes to be made as a result of the realignment?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is correct at present.

Mr GARDNER: As at today or according to the most recent figures, how many FTE staff are working under each director or manager and what is the headcount?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will provide that.

Mr GARDNER: What is the total budget over the forward estimates for the division under each director or manager?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will provide that.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff are seconded to that division from schools or other areas in the department and who meets that cost?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will provide it.

Mr GARDNER: Where is Ms Weston based and where are her directors and managers based?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: At Flinders Street.

Mr GARDNER: How many of their staff are based at that location and how many are at any other locations?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: They are all at Flinders Street.

Mr GARDNER: And you will get back to me with the numbers of staff as well?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will.

Mr GARDNER: Thank you. In relation to this role, it was advertised a little while ago as being a fairly handsome package. Were there many applicants for this role and when was the role filled and on what salary?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: There was an enormous amount of interest in the position, but I will get the details of the timing and so on.

Mr GARDNER: In regard to the changes made as a result of the realignment of things like non-government schools and services, what was the reasoning behind moving some of these services out of—I think they were previously in system performance and into this new role, the restructure of the creation of this line?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: As this is properly the business of the chief executive, I will invite him to give an answer to that question.

Mr PERSSE: I think it is important to describe the context for the realignment, as you say. It happened in November last year, and it was precipitated by the fact that the former Families SA was moving out of the department into the new Department for Child Protection, which enabled us to have a look at our structure in Education.

What was remaining in Education were essentially two separate offices—one was the office of corporate and one was the office of education—so I took the opportunity to flatten that structure. That resulted in the abolition of the chief education officer position, and the executive directors underneath that role now report to me directly. That is the restructure that you are referring to.

I created two new divisions. I should stress that this was at zero cost because I had removed a very senior chief education officer position and replaced one new position, which was the position that Karen Weston is in. I saw the two roles being quite important.

Just to describe the system performance role, which is the role that Mr Temperly is in, this is to ensure that there are system-wide strategies that are being executed consistently across the state. Functions include change management and the facilitation of that, and the data and evidence that underpin all our policy and strategy. We had two different divisions running business intelligence and data management, so we brought them together under one executive director just to make sure there was consistency. The other key role in there is accountability and coordination across the state.

The new strategic policy and external relations role that Ms Weston has been recruited to is to lead and facilitate a quality and consistent strategy and policy development function across the department, which my view was we could improve on, and also to ensure that we are doing that in a best practice approach. The position is also responsible for a strategic and coordinated engagement with stakeholders and partners. Those stakeholders and partners I am talking about are entities such as principals associations, the universities and our interjurisdictional colleagues. That was the rationale behind it.

Mr GARDNER: There was one other unit that we will get to in a separate part of estimates, I think, regarding early years. I have a couple of other questions in relation to this area. How many staff across the department are on unpaid leave?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Can we get some corresponding figures for the last two years in the budget on that?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will also take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: If you are taking it on notice, how long has the current cohort been on leave, by brackets of six months perhaps?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: How many less than six months, more than six months, more than a year and so forth?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will add that to the notice questions.

Mr GARDNER: What is the average time they have been on leave?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will add that to the notice questions.

Mr GARDNER: Since the last election in March 2014, how many times has the education centre at Hindmarsh been renovated or refurbished?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Twice that we are aware of: once, which I think we talked about last time, to accommodate the partnership meetings; and then more recently to accommodate the relocation of some staff.

Mr GARDNER: That more recent project to do with the relocation of staff is still underway, or are those renovations complete?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We have finished with that centre and it is now the building next door in order to accommodate far more staff.

Mr GARDNER: To clarify then, the current building's renovations are complete and now there is a new building coming in next door. When that build is complete, how many staff will be located at Hindmarsh and how many are there at the moment?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: There are 120 at present. The new building will accommodate 300, but it may be that there will be some more staff that we are able to allocate as well. We are determining whether another department can also go out there.

Mr GARDNER: What is the cost of the recent refurbishment at Hindmarsh, not the one we talked about last year.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: For the 2016-17 year, we have spent about $90,000.

Mr GARDNER: What is the cost of the new building that is going up?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: To be clear, it is not a new building; it is a refurbishment of an existing building adjacent and we have allocated $11.6 million.

Mr GARDNER: That is $11.6 million and, once that is complete, 300 staff will be moved out of Flinders Street finally and into Hindmarsh, as was suggested a couple of years ago.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It will be a minimum of 300 staff.

Mr GARDNER: How much has the department spent in Cabcharges over the last financial year and how much of that was on Cabcharges for people moving between Hindmarsh and the city and back?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take it on notice, but I am not certain that we will be able to provide an answer because we do not record our Cabcharges by locations, but we will do what we can.

The CHAIR: Before we move to the next question, I would like to acknowledge a group in the gallery today, members of the Royal Society for the Blind at Port Noarlunga, who are guests of the member for Kaurna. We very much welcome them to parliament and hope they enjoy their time here with us. It is lovely to have you with us.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will have to try to be a bit more interesting, member for Morialta, now that we have an audience. Can I add to the previous answer, of course, that there is the magnificent tram and we do encourage our staff to use it.

Mr GARDNER: What is the distance from the Hindmarsh office to the tram?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I have not measured it, but I have walked it.

Mr GARDNER: Were you carrying equipment such as one might take to a briefing with teachers?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am always carrying quite a lot of gear.

Mr GARDNER: Moving to Budget Paper 3, page 30, let's talk about education funding. What is the additionality funding received this year and next year from the federal government? Sorry, I should slightly rephrase that. What schools received the additionality funding this year and next year (2016-17 and 2017-18) from the federal government? What schools will that go to and how much per school?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The details we can take on notice, but we determine the allocation within government schools. We receive the funding as a block. However, let us be clear: while we have got 2016-17, it is still not entirely clear what we will be getting from the federal government. I cannot pass up the opportunity to point out that we are going to be $210 million short on the agreement that this government signed with the commonwealth government for six years—$210 million short for this state across the three sectors, $157 million short in the next two years for government schools alone.

That agreement was going to take us close to the school resourcing standard that we agreed was appropriate and necessary for high-quality education, yet we will try to provide a good education without the $210 million that is needed for this state. I can provide to you the amount the government is choosing to give us, but I will also point out what the government is choosing not to give us. Two sovereign governments signed an agreement; one of them has stepped away from that agreement.

Mr GARDNER: To confirm, the minister has agreed to supply a list of the schools and how much additionality funding they are receiving. Is that what she said when she took it on notice before?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No, I said to you that I would provide the total amount that the federal government has given us. The federal government does not give it to us school by school.

Mr GARDNER: But previously the state government has identified in a list how much of the additionality funding goes to each school. I am asking whether we can get a copy of that list for last year and this year.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will give you what data we have.

Mr GARDNER: Does all that additionality funding from the commonwealth go directly to schools, or is some of it taken for other purposes within DECD—apart from that which goes to the Catholic and non-government sector?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: All the funding goes to education for the students.

Mr GARDNER: How much of the funding that goes to education for the students is serving that purpose within non-school DECD activities?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: For the first four years, we received 25 per cent of the total arrangement, so 75 per cent was sitting in the last two years. The federal government has essentially abandoned us. It is slightly less mean than the Hockey budget (not a big bar to jump over), which was $335 million that we would have been short. What we have done is largely given the additionality directly to schools, that is both state additionality and federal additionality directly to schools, but we held some centrally, which was to provide additional support for students with a disability. We are determining how we will manage that for the next school year.

Mr GARDNER: When will that be determined?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: When we are ready to announce it.

Mr GARDNER: Given the state government's commitment to fulfil year 5 and 6 of the NERA from the state allocation, can the minister confirm the quantum of funding that this amounts to from the state government in 2018 and 2019?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We can take that on notice. I have a figure in my head. I am always loath to give inaccurate figures in parliament, so I will take it on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Hopefully, we will get the answers soon; I would not have thought it was too far from the table. How is that funding being allocated and distributed, the state component of year 5 and 6?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I think that is the conversation we just had. We are currently determining that.

Mr GARDNER: In terms of some of that state component, the minister and the Premier have gone on record previously to talk about, for example, increases in funding to non-government schools coming out of year 5 and 6 of the state component, and continuing as recently as last year's budget. Some commitments were made; I think it was about a 30 per cent increase. Can the minister confirm that that is the case?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I can confirm that the model is the model. We have stuck to our side of the bargain, and the funds that are allocated for non-government schools we will continue to allocate in the way that we had originally intended. It is interesting that, if we were to apply the federal Liberal government's approach, then we would be giving less to the Catholic sector—if we chose to adopt their model in the next two years. We have made a deal and we are going to stick by it because that is what a good government does. In terms of how we spend our own Gonski additionality, our own additional funding that we have continued to maintain, we are working through that at present.

Mr GARDNER: Minister, I am specifically asking about the state government's additionality funding.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Indeed, and so am I.

Mr GARDNER: The question is: when will you be able to tell us how that state government additionality funding is being allocated and to whom it is being distributed?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We can easily identify the allocation for the non-government schools because we already have an agreement, then within our own system we will determine the best priorities for that money.

Mr GARDNER: What is the allocation from the state additionality, specifically to non-government schools, in those two years?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: You can keep asking questions; I believe I will have that information during this session.

Mr GARDNER: I will go back to Budget Paper 4, Volume 2, page 20. I note that according to some media releases and other media, and through talking to people, the state government has developed and is now delivering its own Safe Schools program. What has been the cost of developing this program, and what is the ongoing expense related to this program?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The way you have constructed that question, probably not deliberately, is not quite accurate.

Mr GARDNER: Please enlighten us.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The South Australian government has assumed the responsibility for paying for the Safe Schools project, but it is being delivered through SHine SA, which held the contract with the commonwealth government previously. We have not developed it in-house, but we have maintained a relationship with SHine SA. Regarding the cost, we have approved a budget of $250,000 per year over the next three years as part of the contract.

Mr GARDNER: So $250,000 a year is the contract with SHine SA?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is right.

Mr GARDNER: Were there any other costs in setting up whatever the new delivery model is?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No, it is entirely delivered through SHine SA.

Mr GARDNER: Is the minister's original answer suggesting that this is not in fact a new project but the same Safe Schools program being delivered by a different group? I thought SHine SA were the South Australian coordinators for the old program?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is not entirely identical because we had to have our own contract, and there has been still some ambiguity over whether we are allowed to call it Safe Schools, for example. The nature of some of the materials, because of intellectual property considerations, is substantially the same in that it is essentially there to support teachers in how they approach the subject of the various conglomeration of issues associated with the Safe Schools; that is, approaching issues around bullying associated with transgender, same-sex attracted, or gender-diverse students, and some individual support within a school, should the school call for that assistance with any particular issues relating to an individual child. I can give you an example.

I was contacted—I have been contacted several times in fact—by a parent of a child who is at school as one gender but was not born of that gender. People in the school are unaware of that; the children in the school are unaware of that child's history. The school is aware and the teachers are aware, and SHine SA has provided an enormous amount of support to that student to help them feel confident that should their history be made public they will be supported by people who understand what that child has gone through.

The mother is enormously grateful for the existence of such a program. She had a child who was contemplating self-harm frequently who is now feeling confident, and the teachers involved are feeling confident that, in dealing with a matter that is reasonably rare, they have been supported to support a child undergoing a specific issue that can be challenging if not handled well.

Mr GARDNER: What is the difference, if any, between the old federal Safe Schools program and the new state one, apart from who is paying for it?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I have not seen the contract that the commonwealth government had, so it is not possible for me to be completely sure. What I can say is that we have in our contract a great deal of clarity around the role of the governing councils being aware of and supportive of a school participating in Safe Schools. My understanding is that that was custom and practice in South Australia, but not necessarily in all the states, so we have firmed that up in our state-based contract.

Mr GARDNER: So there is a difference, potentially, in relation to the governance within schools of how schools sign up, and I will get to that in a moment. In terms of the content of the course that is being delivered, is there any difference between the new state South Australian Safe Schools program and the old federal Safe Schools Coalition Australia program?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Just to be clear, it is not really a course.

Mr GARDNER: Well, program.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is a support service that is largely directed at supporting teachers, but it does also work occasionally with students at the request of the school. The difference is that we are still determining—and if it has been resolved, it has not been made clear to me—the nature of the materials that SHine SA is able to provide to teachers because of questions of intellectual property.

I have no objection to the materials that were certified as being appropriate by the federal government's review of the content, but I am not clear yet whether we have been able to determine if they are all able to be used because the intellectual property does not reside in South Australia. I can get an update on that, but that is the latest I am aware of.

Mr GARDNER: So at the moment, the department's description of the Safe Schools Anti-bullying Initiative says that the SSAI (bullying does not get an acronym) will operate for three years and that SHine SA will deliver services and support to secondary schools in three areas—I am paraphrasing here. Those three areas are development to school staff (helping to train teachers), advice and support to school staff (presumably responding to needs raised by teachers) and the third is promoting youth leadership (for example, through the annual action day).

There were course materials that were involved in the old program and you have identified that at the moment they are not part of the South Australian program, potentially, because of intellectual property reasons. Is it the government's intention that those schools that sign up to Safe Schools here in South Australia will start having those materials, if possible, or new ones developed along the same lines?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It has been confirmed that my understanding is correct, that we are still resolving the question of what kinds of resources are able to be used and whether existing ones can be used. Of course, teachers are able to obtain information and support from wherever they really choose in how they wish to discuss certain complex matters with their secondary school students. We will be clear once we have some certainty about what is available.

My understanding is that the materials were never a particularly large part of the service provided; it was more about the relationship between the organisation, being SHine, and the teachers and some individual students and then, of course, for some students who wish to be activists in this area, that they were able to get some support in action days and so on, as you have listed. The materials were originally developed after teachers had requested that there be a consistent set of curriculum materials.

A review was done by the federal government, prior to its decision to no longer fund the program, by an educator from Western Australia, whose name escapes me, who certified that they were appropriate—

Mr GARDNER: Mr Louden?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes, that is right; that is the guy. We may or may not be able to make those available but, as I say, teachers can in fact have access to anything they choose to inform their practice.

Mr GARDNER: Are any non-government schools signed up to this program or working with SHine SA, whatever the term is; if so, how is that funded? If not, is it proposed that there be engagement with non-government schools?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am not aware that non-government schools have chosen to go into a relationship with SHine SA. I can inquire, but they would not necessarily let us know.

Mr GARDNER: Under the funding agreement with SHine SA, would the non-government schools be charged any more, any less or any differently from any public school that signed up?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It would be a relationship between SHine SA and any individual school. I have no way of answering that.

Mr GARDNER: There is nothing in your contract with SHine SA to deliver this program that differentiates between the school system?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The contract is not for them to deliver it to non-government schools. I have no responsibility or connection to the non-government schools' choice about how they wish to manage LGBTIQ student issues.

Mr GARDNER: To clarify, the contract is to deliver this for public schools?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Absolutely.

Mr GARDNER: And if SHine SA wants to do it with non-government schools, then non-government schools can come to some arrangement with SHine?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Exactly.

Mr GARDNER: Through what mechanism are parents given the opportunity for their child to opt out of the new state Safe Schools program, given the nature of the program that you have just described? I assume that we are really only talking about action days or something like that at the moment or, potentially, in the future, if there are curriculum-related materials to be provided. How can parents opt out?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: There are a couple of levels. At the governing council level, for the school to begin to have a connection to SHine SA, principals will need to seek governing council endorsement before they join the initiative. With parents, the school has a responsibility to obtain parent consent for student participation in specific activities or events organised or delivered by SHine SA, such as attending the annual action day. Schools need to be aware of their obligations about student confidentiality, and there are some details provided to schools to assist them with that. That is essentially the summary.

Mr GARDNER: The intention you have identified is that there will be resources provided to teachers through the SHine SA program. Will there be an opportunity for parents to opt out of having their children participate in classes using those resources in the future, or is that still to be developed?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Given that we are not at that point in the contract, I will take that on notice and provide the information when it is available.

Mr GARDNER: How does this state-based Safe Schools program interact with the policy on supporting same-sex attracted, intersex and gender diverse students, which I identify is described in itself as a mandatory policy and staff are required to adhere to the content? In a number of places, it refers to staff delivering what is described in this document still as the Safe Schools Coalition Australia program. In particular, under Professional Learning, it states that DECD has a memorandum of operational collaboration with SHine SA to support the implementation of the Safe Schools Coalition Australia program in SA schools and then goes on to describe what Safe Schools is. Given that this policy is described as 'mandatory' in the first line of the policy, how does this policy interact with what we have just said about how governing councils are required to have consent before the school signs up and so forth?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I do not have the policy in front of me, so it is difficult for me to give a detailed response. It seems to me that what we have is a policy that is about making sure that we do not breach discrimination legislation, and it is a policy to help guide schools in their approach. The mention of a program that is in fact voluntary, I imagine, is intended to be an additional resource that is available to schools. If it is not worded sufficiently clearly then we can clarify that, but I imagine that most people who read it would understand it.

Mr GARDNER: The policy also talks about the Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum, which is a requirement under the DECD Child Protection in Schools, Early Childhood Education and Care Services policy. Can I confirm it is mandatory for all schools to implement that policy?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum was developed originally—

Mr GARDNER: A while ago.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: —as a South Australian curriculum. I believe some other states have adopted it and the Catholic system has certainly adopted it. The importance of this is that it is about teaching children how to be safe. Teachers deliver this curriculum; therefore, they are required to have training in delivering the curriculum. It concentrates on the primary school years although it does continue all the way through. I see here that since 2006, 29,787 teachers have attended the full-day training.

In fact, I can see that the use of our curriculum has been adopted by the Catholic education system in South Australia; the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia; Catholic Education Western Australia; the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia; the Northern Territory Department of Education; Adventist Schools Victoria; St Patrick's College, Ballarat; the Australian International School Indonesia; the International School of Beijing in China; and the International School of Zug and Luzern in Switzerland.

The curriculum was originally constructed with the assistance of Freda Briggs, who has subsequently passed away, and, as I say, is absolutely focused on children understanding how to keep themselves safe in a variety of circumstances.

Mr GARDNER: Do any other anti-bullying programs, apart from the Safe Schools program, receive state-funded government support?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I believe that we largely have schools choosing if they wish to spend some school funding on bringing in an external body, but most of our work on anti-bullying is managed in-house. If there is any particular detail that I need to take on notice, I will.

Mr GARDNER: Does the government have any data in relation to the prevalence of bullying in South Australian schools?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Sorry?

Mr GARDNER: Is there any data in relation to bullying in South Australian schools that the government relies on to inform its policy?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We rely on advice from our schools.

Mr GARDNER: I appreciate that the data in the Safe Schools Coalition—and the state government has provided data supporting Safe Schools—refers to the proportion of LGBTI young people who feel bullied and where they feel bullied, and that has predominantly been in the school setting. I have seen that data. I am interested in how much of the bullying that occurs in our schools is related to other issues and whether there is any data that identifies the prevalence of bullying more broadly.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We do use a variety of mechanisms, including the ABS that runs surveys periodically. We contribute to the national Safe and Supportive School Communities Working Group across the country. That working group oversees the development of frameworks, policies, resources and other materials that support safe and positive learning environments and they are promoted and disseminated via the Bullying. No Way! Website, which is Australia's premier anti-bullying resource for educators, children and young people and their families.

We work closely with and promote the resources of the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner in the field of cyber safety, including cyber bullying. This year, we have given our schools an opportunity to apply for grants to support their anti-bullying strategies for the National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence. We do, of course, also have some central effort through behaviour coaches and other support services that support schools in responding to bullying. Another example of a data source that we are able to use is the report that we get from our students on the middle year index.

Mr GARDNER: We will stay on the same budget line, but a different topic. Philip Amato, who is the Chairman of the Port Pirie Junior Soccer Association, recently wrote to the education department seeking clarification from the department on whether children who sometimes represent their schools in their soccer association and sometimes form a combined team from amongst a number of schools are covered by insurance when they are representing their schools outside of school hours.

Mr Amato's concern is that the FFSA is going to start charging each player $25, on top of their affiliation fees, for insurance if the schools cannot provide him with evidence that those children are insured—I assume it is some sort of public liability insurance. Given that the department has not responded directly to Mr Amato, can I ask that question of you now. What insurance cover do schools provide for children participating in sporting competitions representing their schools, or, indeed, small schools grouping together to form a team?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We do not have a briefing here on that matter, so I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Last year—I think it was in the Budget and Finance Committee—the chief executive identified that there was a new review of whether year 7 would go into high school. Has that review been completed and, if not, when will it be completed?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I do not think the chief executive said that there was actually a review being conducted. If he did, he misspoke. There is a constant assessment of what other sectors are doing and what other states are doing, and clearly year 7 is on the radar. There is an obsession, almost, in some people's minds with the question of where 12 year olds go to school, so we are constantly keeping that under our attention. At present, there is no evidence to demonstrate any difference. It can be done extremely well in a primary school and extremely well in a high school. We continue to keep an eye on that.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff were separated last financial year?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will start by giving you the TVSPs. In 2016-17, 21 employees, or 19.4 FTEs, accepted TVSPs. In relation to unsatisfactory performance, and therefore a different form of separation, since we introduced the new process, which is an additional support held centrally for principals in going through the process of performance management—which, of course, does not always result in a separation; it can absolutely result in an improvement in performance—since July 2015 up until May 2017 six teachers have been dismissed or the contract has been terminated for unsatisfactory performance, 36 teachers who were the subject of a managing unsatisfactory performance process have resigned or retired and, of those 36, four resigned immediately prior to their dismissal for unsatisfactory performance.

Mr GARDNER: How many teachers who underwent unsatisfactory performance management continue to be employed with those issues resolved positively?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I do not have the data in front of me, so I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: How many applicants were there for what I think was colloquially called the 'burnout bonus'?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: 'The teacher renewal program' is the expression you are reaching for.

Mr GARDNER: Yes, burnout bonus.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: There were 257 registrations of interest received and 190 offers provided to eligible candidates. As of 4 July, 179 teachers have accepted.

Mr GARDNER: I do not have the figure in front of me, but was that an oversubscription?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It was.

Mr GARDNER: I am pretty sure that the budget line refers to a $5 million cost for this program. What has the cost ended up being?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will be making that modification once we see how many have accepted. We are still in the process.

Mr GARDNER: At the moment, it is at least 179. Are all those burnout bonuses, or renewal program offers, of the same dollar amount?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is $50,000. It is standard.

Mr GARDNER: So we are talking about at least $8 million. If there are 170, we are approaching $9 million for this $5 million program.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is correct.

Mr GARDNER: I have a couple of questions about recommendations from the Debelle inquiry. We will stay on page 20; it is the catch-all for schools. One of the key recommendations of the Debelle inquiry was for an Ombudsman's inquiry into DECD's complaints handling process and practices. The Ombudsman had five key recommendations, which I believe the government undertook and said publicly that they would be complying with.

In relation to those five recommendations, has the department's brochure, entitled Parent guide to raising a concern or complaint, been amended or replaced by a new document to reflect current policy and procedure, correct contact phone numbers and so forth? Has that new or revised document been mandated for use in all schools and education sites from 1 January this year, as per the first recommendation?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The brief answer is that the complaints team has updated and distributed the brochure titled Raising a complaint with DECD. The brochure is now available at DECD sites, and sites have been required to make the brochure accessible on their websites. Just to be clear, when we say 'sites', usually people think of those as schools but, because some of them are preschools, we lapse into slightly more bureaucratic language at times.

Mr GARDNER: I understand. From 1 January this year, has each school and education site ensured that any internal processes for managing complaints in accordance with the policy and procedure are in place and published on their websites, as per recommendation 2?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We indeed accepted that recommendation and have acted on it. We are working through contacting all our schools, and all our preschools, to ensure that there is compliance.

Mr GARDNER: As per recommendation 3, prior to 1 July this year has each school or site manager ensured that proper and consistent record-keeping of all complaints received is implemented in accordance with the departmental policy?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Under recommendation 3, schools and preschools are required to comply with DECD policy regarding record-keeping practices of all complaints received. The complaints team has been working with partnership schools and preschools to develop a suite of templates and tools to assist in this process.

Mr GARDNER: Forgive me if I am wrong, minister, but that sounds like, 'We are working on it,' rather than, 'We have completed that.'

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes, we are working on the templates and tools. The requirement for schools to be compliant exists. We are working on making the kind of processes that will make that simpler, so that is not to say we are just working on the recommendation. We have accepted the recommendation and, at the very beginning of the year, we made it clear to schools and preschools what they were responsible for, including this requirement, but, as you would expect from a well functioning administration, we are continuing to work on making sure that works smoothly and developing tools for that to happen.

Mr GARDNER: As per recommendation 4, are we going to be able to have an adjunct module to the proposed EMS computer system for recording and reporting complaints and accompanying information by 2019?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is our expectation, but we are in the tender process at the moment for the education management system. Because we have accepted the recommendation, we absolutely expect that to be compliant by the beginning of 2019.

Mr GARDNER: Are school and site managers monitoring and recording complaint-handling compliance statistics and trends at least once annually, as per recommendation 5, and is the ECU providing an analysis of this information for the senior executive group?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We have accepted that recommendation that schools and preschools monitor and record complaint-handling compliance and statistics in order to be able to provide that in annual reports. While we are unable at this stage to have the EMS system do that automatically, we are reliant on manual collection of the data.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to another Debelle inquiry recommendation, recommendation 23 of Mr Debelle's report was for a fund from which governing councils can draw funding for legal advice when the governing council is in dispute with the department. The government lists that recommendation as completed on its website. The implementations of recommendations subsection of the DECD website states that that recommendation has been completed; therefore, how much money is in the fund?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Rather than creating an individual fund, we recognise the right of governing councils to apply for funds. We will accept that, we have a process for that and that is in place.

Mr GARDNER: Who is responsible for administering that fund? The recommendations suggest the Crown Solicitor, but the website suggests that a policy adviser, governance, has been appointed. If it is that policy adviser, where do they work?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: As I said, there is not a fund that requires administration; it is a process and it is administered through Anne Millard's partnerships division that you referred to earlier, member for Morialta. That is the way we have handled it in the department.

Mr GARDNER: How many requests have been granted from the fund and have any requests been denied by the fund?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to page 23 of Volume 2, targets, increased student attendance at DECD schools, how many attendance officers are working within DECD? Last year, it was 22 and I think you confirmed that again this year, but is it still 22?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The establishment is 22 FTE. Today, I do not know how many people are working in there. We often have part-time people, but that is a team of 22 FTEs.

Mr GARDNER: What attendance data does the department currently require schools to provide to head office?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The EMS will enable us to have a much smoother reporting regime with the schools. The schools track their attendance. We receive an annual census of attendance, and also schools are asked to supply us with information about chronic non-attendance, which is the 10 days per term without explanation.

Mr GARDNER: How many chronic truancy referrals has the department received so far this year then and how does that compare with previous years?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr BELL: Is the default position on EDSAS still recorded as present? If there is human error—that is, the teacher does not fill in the attendance record—is that student indicated as being present for the day because that is the default position?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I do not think I can answer that at this stage. Because we do not have a single system (that is where we are going to), it is likely that there will be variability between schools on what the default position is.

Mr GARDNER: I note that since last year there have been two successful prosecutions of parents for a child's non-attendance. Is the department now satisfied that the previously feared defect in the legislation that might have prevented a prosecution is not a problem after all, or did the wording of the legislation limit the department to only those two potential cases where they thought they might succeed in a prosecution?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We have gone through a consultation process on a bill that will modify the language in order to make it absolutely clear what we are able to do for prosecution. It is pleasing, although I say it with heavy heart, that we have been able to demonstrate that the legislation currently is functional, but it does not mean that it is the best model and the best fit for purpose.

Mr GARDNER: Are any further prosecutions being contemplated?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: None have come to me for final approval at this stage.

Mr GARDNER: Have you requested that the department consider further cases?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I do not operate in that way. The department is working on each individual case. They will determine whether they wish to come forward to me with a recommendation.

Mr GARDNER: How many cases is the department considering?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: The minister identified before that the bill will change its language. When is she likely to introduce that to the parliament?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Soon.

The CHAIR: It might have to be your last question, member for Morialta.

Mr GARDNER: As my last question, can the minister advise the committee of the full extent of sites and facilities with the behaviour management charter? Last year, I requested a list of the sites and their capacity for better behaviour centres in particular. In addition, I understand there are other sites where students, who have either been excluded or suspended from mainstream schools, are sent instead, with the charter. I am hoping that the minister can provide us with a comprehensive list of those sites and their capacity and how many students were in those schools on 30 June, which was the penultimate Friday of second term.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

The CHAIR: Before we move on to the procedural motion, I cannot see anywhere a reference to instrumental music in the budget. Have I missed it?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is not separately listed, Chair.

The CHAIR: It is just that we did have some significant changes last year, and I thought there might have been some sort of representation here.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I see what you mean. We did increase the funds that we spent on instrumental music, but we did not identify it as a separate dot point.

Mr GARDNER: It might be in one of those lists of staff and services that I asked for details on.

The CHAIR: Okay; so I will look for your answer.

Sitting suspended from 11:16 to 11:30.

 

Departmental Advisers:

Dr N. McGoran, Chief Executive, SACE Board of South Australia.

Mr R. Persse, Chief Executive, Department for Education and Child Development.

Ms J. Riedstra, Deputy Chief Executive, Department for Education and Child Development.

Mr C. Bernardi, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, Department for Education and Child Development.

Mr B. Temperly, Executive Director, System Performance, Department for Education and Child Development.

Ms K. Weston, Executive Director, Strategic Policy and External Relations, Department for Education and Child Development.

 

The CHAIR: We are still on the same proposed payment lines, but we are looking at administered items and early childhood development. You have new advisers, minister?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Chair, I do not have an opening statement.

The CHAIR: Do we have the same advisers?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No, I will introduce the one new adviser—Neil McGoran, the Chief Executive of SACE.

The CHAIR: I noticed that.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Karen is sitting at the back, but Susan Cameron is no longer with us. She is here, but not sitting as one of the formal advisers for this section.

The CHAIR: We will go straight to questions.

Mr GARDNER: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 2, pages 36 and 37, administered items. I will start with a couple of questions regarding cashflow. Cash outflows to non-government schools are listed as $1.058 billion (that is on about the 10th line) and that is up from $1.025 billion per capita funding. Cash inflows, which are on the next page, are listed as $862 million—this is from commonwealth government grants, non-government schools—up from $833 million.

Forgive me if I am wrong—there is nothing behind this; this is just me looking at this data and trying to make sense of it—but is it correct to say that the state government contribution towards the non-government schooling sector is $196 million, up from $191 million last year? That is me taking the figure on the left page of $1.058 billion and deducting from that the grants that come in from the commonwealth on the right page. Is that a meaningful analysis to do, or am I missing something?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is generally correct. Your approach is accurate. There may be some other government payments that we need to be clear on, but essentially your analysis is correct.

Mr GARDNER: In terms of cash outflows, there is also $5 million listed for the National Equity Program for non-government schools and $5 million for the non-government preschools grants. Are those the other payments you are talking about, or are there others in addition?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: If you go to page 30, member for Morialta, there is a list under 'Grants and subsidies'.

Mr GARDNER: Is this page 30 of Volume 2?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is just a couple of pages earlier than where we were. There is the grants and subsidies line, which for 2017-18 is $1 billion. Those are broken down on page 36, where you have the non-government schools and also the additional grants that you have identified.

Mr GARDNER: Can the minister identify the National Equity Program for schools? I see the word 'national' and I wonder if that is part of a national partnership or a national agreement or any other thing that we get funding from the commonwealth specifically for, or is that something we fund?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Because some of the titles used are legacy titles that appear in financial reporting, we will confirm exactly what that is for.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to the $190-something million—$191 million last year and $196 million from the state government specifically, maybe a little bit more—how is that money disbursed to non-government schools at the moment? How is it identified which schools get how much?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We use the Gonski model, as it is known, to identify the quantum. With the Catholic sector schools, we pay the central authority; otherwise, we pay directly to schools.

Mr GARDNER: To confirm, in relation to the Catholic sector and that model of paying to the sector based on having worked it out by the individual school's needs and paying one lump sum to the sector, there is no suggestion that is going to change, is there?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We are continuing with our commitment to stick to the Gonski model for the next two years.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to that $196 million that is the state government's contribution towards the non-government schooling sector, potentially plus other bits and pieces, what will that quantum become next year?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We do not have the forward estimates with us, so we will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: If you are taking it on notice, can you also give me the other years in the forward estimates?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will give you what I can give you.

Mr GARDNER: Apart from this funding line here and the non-government schools loans program, are there any other ways in which the education department's policies or programs provide services, funding or support for non-government schools and their families?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: There are some resources that we share across the three sectors, such as a disability committee that disburses some funds for students with a disability and some effort that, as sector heads, the three sectors meet and I attend, and there are some resources that are associated with that.

Mr GARDNER: I am happy for you to give some description now, or you may want to take aspects on notice, but can we get a breakdown of the level of support for students with a disability in non-government schools that comes from the state government?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Do the representative organisations receive any support from the state government, the Catholics and AISSA—Catholic Education and the Association of Independent Schools?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Our understanding is that we do not fund them as bodies to function, that they are entirely dependent on commonwealth funding for that.

Mr GARDNER: I refer to Budget Paper 4, Volume 2, page 23, highlights, the last dot point:

A total of ten non-government schools have been approved in the first round of the state government's Non-Government Schools Loan Scheme, delivering a total of $38.5 million in loans for the development of STEM and/or early year's facilities.

I will have to check whether that apostrophe is in the right place.

This initiative makes available…

Ten non-government schools received loans totalling $38.5 million. Can you tell us which schools and how much their loans are? Feel free to comment on the apostrophe, if you want.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Do not tempt me. From round 1, we have Pilgrim School, which is a non-system Catholic school, $1.063 million; St Dominic's Priory, also non-system Catholic, $4 million; St Michael's College, non-system Catholic, $10 million; Good Shepherd Lutheran School Para Vista, $4.2 million; Navigator College, Lutheran, $3 million; Blakes Crossing Christian College, which is an independent school, $2.35 million; Mount Barker Waldorf School, an independent school, $2.5 million; Pinnacle College, an independent school, $0.5 million; St George College, an independent school, $9.55 million and Temple Christian College, an independent school, $1.35 million. We are currently in the process of round 2. Applications have closed and we are going through the process of approving another round of loans.

Mr GARDNER: Did any schools apply in round 1 but were rejected?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: There were 20 schools that applied in round 1 and 10 were successful.

Mr GARDNER: Has the department done any work with the 10 schools that were not successful to assist them in preparing for round 2?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: This is a program that is not just managed by the department because of the involvement of finance, so I would not be able to give a definitive answer.

Mr GARDNER: Has the government given them any assistance—

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I can take that on notice, I just cannot give a definitive answer now.

Mr GARDNER: Are you able to advise whether those 10 schools that were not successful, irrespective of whether they are getting any assistance from the government in reapplying, are amongst the applicants for round 2, and how many applicants for round 2 there are?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Is there an expectation of how many grants are going to be given in round 2?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No, there is no particular set number.

Mr GARDNER: I note that the initiative is $250 million over five years. The first year has seen just under $40 million in loans granted. Is there a budget allocation for how much is expected to be granted in each of the five years?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: This is held by the Treasurer, so I do not have the answer here.

Mr GARDNER: Are you able to get it for us?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I can take it on notice on behalf of the Treasurer.

Mr GARDNER: Going to page 34, the statement of financial position identifies that cash holdings are lower by $92.8 million, which on face value sounds like a lot. Can you explain what is going on there? It is under 'Statement of financial position', about eight lines from the bottom, and says 'lower cash holdings ($92.8 million)'.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That figure relates to the department's holdings, not the SACE Board's.

Mr GARDNER: Sorry, it is listed in the area under administered items, so whether or not it is relevant to the SACE Board, I assumed that it was a question—

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Let's be sure that we are responding accurately. Which page are you on?

Mr GARDNER: Page 34.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is the 'Summary of major variations'.

Mr GARDNER: So that is major variations across the department?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is all the major variations; exactly.

Mr GARDNER: Let's go to page 12 then and talk about the SACE Board. How much is the remuneration for the new CEO, the one who has not yet commenced and is not sitting here.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The board has not determined that yet.

Mr GARDNER: When will a new CEO be starting?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The applications closed on Monday, so it is anticipated there will be interviews over the next two or three weeks. From there, it will be dependent on who is successful and what their circumstances are. Very sadly, Dr McGoran will be leaving that position at the end of August. There is an interim CEO from within the organisation in readiness so that there will not be a gap should we need to wait longer for the new chief executive to start.

Mr GARDNER: Is there a salary band from within which the new CEO's salary is to be taken?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is the executive level band C, as reported in the SACE Board Annual Report, I understand.

Mr GARDNER: What is the dollar value of that band?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am not sure anyone here has that, but I think it is available on the internet; if not, I will take it on notice and provide it.

Mr GARDNER: How many overseas students commenced the SACE last year and this year?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Do you mean visa 571 students who are studying here from overseas or the students who are studying overseas?

Mr GARDNER: I meant the ones who are studying here, but if the figures are readily available for both then I am interested in both.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: There were 705 overseas students. We will have to take the visa 571 question on notice.

Mr GARDNER: What has been the completion rate of those students undertaking the SACE in South Australia?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: How many students are enrolled in stage 2 language subjects this year, in 2017?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The cut-off date is in September when we then receive the data, so we do not have that for this year.

Mr GARDNER: Given the difficulties that we saw in the last 12 months with the online NAPLAN test and the trial in some schools not going forward, is the SACE Board still confident that marking eight on-screen examinations by 2020 will be done as per the timetable of the SACE Modernisation 2016-2020 plan?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: As Dr McGoran has given an enormous amount of thought to and has worked on this project, I will ask him to answer that question.

Dr McGORAN: In response to the question, obviously the SACE Board has been watching the NAPLAN activity very closely. First of all, we had to undertake a very detailed procurement process using the state procurement process rules. Through that, we had four applicants or vendors that were apparently willing and able to meet our requirements. Our requirements were more than 600 and they related specifically to all sorts of activities, from authoring an examination right through to the students being able to undertake that examination in their own school setting on a computer.

Part of that was ensuring that, despite the bandwidth issues that schools might anticipate, we are still able to deliver that examination. In the end, we have selected a vendor and signed the contract at the end of June for delivery of this examination for the first time next year, which is English literary studies, in November. The delivery model will be ideally online, but for those schools that have bandwidth and/or other concerns there will be other delivery options that this vendor will be able to provide to us, including having a box (a local intranet) in the classroom where the examination is taking place or even USB.

Our learning from the NAPLAN was that it tried to do two things at once: firstly, it tried to change the experience of the students and, secondly, it tried to change the actual format of the examination. Our learning from that is that that is probably not the best way of going. Our intent is, firstly, to change the experience of the student so they will respond electronically to the questions that we provide in a 1½ hour examination of close reading. Over time, we will then change the examination to include greater visual media technology once we are comfortable that schools and students are able to manage that. Our first step next year is changing the experience.

We have also thought about some troubleshooting; that is, what if we know in advance that schools are not able to do that. If that is the case, there will still be the paper version available, and the comparability will be possible because we have only changed the experience, rather than the design of the examination. It is really important because, if the examination on-screen is markedly different from the paper version, then the community would not be comfortable with the comparability. We have managed that.

Lastly, we are engaging very strongly with schools, particularly the IT coordinators in schools, to make sure that they are comfortable with the bandwidth requirements and the infrastructure and that we are aware of all their needs as much as they are aware of ours.

Mr GARDNER: Last year, the intention was, in addition to the 2018 delivery of English literacy that you have just identified, to have, in 2019, English as an additional language, history and geography and then, in 2020, psychology, biology, accounting and economics. Are they still on track in all those subjects and is it going to be the same vendor you have just described that will be delivering those modules?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is the same vendor and we are on track.

Mr GARDNER: Last year, we were advised that accounting and economics were being reviewed. Has that taken place now, or is that still to take place? The subjects were being reviewed ahead of them becoming on-screen.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The subjects that have been renewed and completed are digital technologies and music subjects, and in early 2016 we have already had accredited agriculture, biology, chemistry, earth and environmental studies, physics, ancient studies, geography and modern history. In the 2016-17 financial year, we have started Aboriginal studies, accounting, business and enterprise, economics, integrated learning, physical education and scientific studies. In the financial year we have just come into, the remainder of the subjects will be renewed.

Mr GARDNER: So the reviews of those subjects—accounting and economics and the others you identified—have started but are not complete?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is correct.

Mr GARDNER: We understand that Australian history is now history (that is a little pun for your enjoyment). Are any other subjects being reviewed given low numbers of participants?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: All the subjects are being reviewed. The review includes looking at the number of students, content and articulation with the Australian Curriculum and also exploring the opportunity to introduce any new subjects should a need become apparent.

Mr GARDNER: Can the minister articulate why Australian history has been dropped from year 12?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Australian history through to year 12 was not a particularly popular subject; we think that 24 students undertook it last year. We have integrated Australian history into modern history so that it is an elective a student is able to take should they take history or modern history from next year, bearing in mind that Australian history is a significant component of the curriculum leading up to year 10.

Many students have studied Australian history in that period and feel that they have done enough on Australian history and are prepared to go in another direction. Others who wish to continue to deepen their knowledge of Australian history will be able to continue to do that through studying the subject modern history.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to the on-screen examinations, why are the very popular mathematics subjects not part of the cohort of the first eight subjects?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Although they are popular subjects, we have identified that familiarity with using electronic devices to answer mathematical questions is not sufficiently strong yet. That is a combination of the need to demonstrate working out, which is frequently done using pen and paper, and the use of symbols and the requirement to move quickly. What we are anticipating is that we will be able to lift the use and facility of technology in producing the equivalent so that students are competent and not disadvantaged by having an electronic version of the exam in the future.

Mr BELL: My question is around absences for NAPLAN tests. Over the last three years, has there been an increase in absenteeism from NAPLAN?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is not actually this subject area because we are on administered items, but last year I think we had a higher participation rate than the year before. We do not have this year's results yet. Is that sufficient?

Mr BELL: That is fine.

Mr GARDNER: Going back to the SACE, how much money did the year 12 merit ceremony cost this year?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: In 2016, it cost $112,993.

Mr GARDNER: Sorry, I mean the one that took place at the beginning of 2017.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Sorry, that is for the 2016 cohort.

Mr GARDNER: Okay.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It occurred very early in 2017; you are correct.

Mr GARDNER: How much was the figure again?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It was $112,993.

Mr GARDNER: How much of that was project management fees? In the last two years, you have used a private company to deliver that. Was the same private company used or a different private company, and how much?

The CHAIR: Your next question might have to be the last on this line, member for Morialta.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am going to take that on notice because there are a number of elements to that answer.

Mr GARDNER: My last question, as the Chair has told me I have one more, is in regard to the SACE modernisation project again. Are we still on track to achieve marking 42,000 external assessments on screen and 17 examinations, and the other goals of the SACE modernisation project? Are there any that we are not on track to meet?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The SACE modernisation project is on track.

Mr GARDNER: Congratulations, Dr McGoran, on your new appointment. I am sure we will see more of you in that role.

The CHAIR: We are moving now to the early childhood development line.

 

Departmental Advisers:

Mr R. Persse, Chief Executive, Department for Education and Child Development.

Ms J. Riedstra, Deputy Chief Executive, Department for Education and Child Development.

Mr C. Bernardi, Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer, Department for Education and Child Development.

Ms A. Hayes, Executive Director, Early Years and Child Development, Department for Education and Child Development.

Ms K. Weston, Executive Director, Strategic Policy and External Relations, Department for Education and Child Development.

 

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The change in advisers is that obviously we very sadly say farewell to Dr McGoran in many ways. I would like to put on record my sincere appreciation of the extraordinary work he has done in SACE, and I look forward to working with him in his new role with the Catholic education system. We have the addition of Ann-Marie Hayes, who is the Executive Director, Early Years and Child Development.

Mr GARDNER: Earlier in the estimates procedure, I asked a number of questions about staff in departments.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes, we have one bit that is missing, so fire away.

Mr GARDNER: The missing piece in the jigsaw puzzle arises. Hello to Ms Ann-Marie Hayes, who is in the senior management group and is the Executive Director, Early Years and Child Development. The charts provided identify that, under Ms Hayes, there is a director for Aboriginal education, a director for the Child and Family Health Service, a director for engagement and wellbeing, a director for disability policy and programs, a director for early childhood services and a director for student support services. Are there any changes imminent as a result of the executive realignment, or are those the six directors—not necessarily the people but the positions—going forward?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: They are the establishment. There is no foreshadowed change.

Mr GARDNER: No foreshadowed change, excellent. As at today or whatever the most recent figures you have, how many FTE staff and how many headcount are working under each of those directors?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: What is the total budget over the forward estimates for the division under each director?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: How many staff are seconded to that division from schools or other areas in the department, and who meets that cost?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: That is schools, or childcare centres or indeed anywhere else.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Sorry to cut you off. We will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: Where are Ms Hayes and her directors based?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: They are currently based at Flinders Street. They are a grouping that is intended to be moved to Hindmarsh. Forgive me, one of them has already gone.

Mr GARDNER: Sorry, minister, my hearing is not 100 per cent. Can you repeat that?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The directors who are currently in Flinders Street, which is nearly all of them—all but one—will go to Hindmarsh. CaFHS is based in South Terrace.

Mr GARDNER: Right, so CaFHS is at South Terrace under Ms Bradley. The others are all in Flinders Street but will go to Hindmarsh?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is right.

Mr GARDNER: CaFHS will stay in South Terrace?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes. At this stage, that is the plan.

Mr GARDNER: And are all the staff, either at South Terrace or Flinders Street, moving to Hindmarsh?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No. It is highly complex, and we can give you the detail on notice.

Mr GARDNER: So you will take on notice how many staff are based at each location, and take on notice how many staff are at any other location?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Yes.

Mr GARDNER: On face value, the departments of Aboriginal education and disability policy and programs, as well as even engagement and wellbeing and student support services, do not immediately strike me as being early years specific programs. With the executive realignment, is there a broader purpose that means that those areas fall within early years and child development, or is it just for administrative convenience?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: In essence, the point is that child development refers to the development of the young person all the way through, and those matters are about their development that sit alongside their capacity to undertake learning successfully.

Mr GARDNER: So they might as well be there as in any of the other groups then?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is a very similar kind of profession and expertise that is required in the leadership.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to the new superschools that we were describing earlier and the Magill school, I note it is anticipated to have children's centres attached to the two new superschools, and potentially Magill Kindergarten in the Magill education precinct. When will the 55-place children's centres at the two new superschools be constructed? Is that going to be directly in line with the other build?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It will. It will be all constructed at the same time and be ready in time for 2022.

Mr GARDNER: Is it anticipated that these will be B-12 schools with one governance model, or are we looking at having children's centres with their own separate directors and separate to the governance of the schools?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The starting position is that it will be the same as the existing birth to 12 superschools, but we have not settled finally on that level of detail.

Mr GARDNER: What local planning analysis has been done to determine the need for these children's centres, or is it a matter that, given we are building a new school, we might as well?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The age of the kids was taken into account in the demographic analysis, and it was determined that there was a need for that size of centre as well.

Mr GARDNER: Will the Magill Kindergarten be moved on to the Magill Campus of UniSA and, if so, when?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I cannot comment on the feasibility study.

Mr GARDNER: So that is part of the feasibility study for the Magill education precinct then?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is indeed part of the feasibility study.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to the year 1 phonics check, which I believe, from the minister's Twitter account, is also going to be taking place in kindergartens and year 1—

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: No, if I can just correct you: it is the question of reception and year 1.

Mr GARDNER: Sorry, reception and year 1.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: So always in a primary school setting, and we are ready for that to take place in this term. The advice we have received from Jennifer Buckingham, who is an expert in this field, is that we ought to do both year 1 and reception, because we are doing a trial, to determine the most appropriate age group for that assessment.

Mr GARDNER: Can the minister advise whether the decision to have the phonics check take place in reception was taken on the advice of Ms Buckingham or whether Ms Buckingham's advice led to a decision to have year 1 as well as reception?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We realised that there was a complexity where the UK age of the students in their year 1 is the same as students in our reception but they have had a different experience of education. While most of our young people go to preschool, that education experience might not be the same as the equivalent year in the UK.

While initially the fact that they were at the same age meant that the department's advice was that we should do reception, and in addition there was a view within the department that phonics is taught early in school and that that would be appropriate, it was drawn to my attention that this might not in fact be the best way of using a phonics assessment. We then contracted Jennifer Buckingham and set up a small panel to review the way in which we would administer this assessment. We are the first state in Australia to do this. As I think I have mentioned, it is a trial rather than a full rollout.

The advice was that we ought to do both years to take advantage of the trial to see whether the age is more important or whether the child needs two years of formal schooling before they are able to be assessed fully. The question really is around the intervention that might be precipitated by such an assessment. It is always better to do it earlier, but there is no point in assessing a child who has not learnt something and then regarding them as needing intervention because they do not know it. That interaction meant that we needed to seek advice on the best way forward. As I say, the advice has been to do it across the two age years. We will do that this term, and that will guide us for the way in which we will do it next year in our schools.

Mr GARDNER: I want to be clear, minister. The first answer you gave was that Ms Buckingham's advice was to do it across the two years, but from your second lengthy answer, which went into some detail, which I appreciated, I now have the picture—and correct me if I am wrong—initially the department's advice was that we would do this in reception because the age of the students was similar that of students in the UK. It was then drawn to your attention that this was not universally appreciated as the right way forward. You contracted Ms Buckingham and a small group to review the phonics check, and then a decision was made on Ms Buckingham's advice, or that of others, that you would do both year 1 and reception.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is right.

Mr GARDNER: How many schools participating in the trial will be doing it in year 1 and how many in reception? Will any of those schools be trialling it in year 1 and reception at the same time, or will we have discrete sets doing it in reception and discrete sets doing it in year 1 as part of the trial?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It is 54 schools. We were seeking 50, and 54 applied, so we said of course we will do it across all of them. We are working through right now with each of those schools whether they wish to do both years or one of the years, so I will be able to inform people later, but we do not have that information now.

Mr GARDNER: When is the check due to take place? I read somewhere that it was August.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am sorry, I missed your question because I was making sure I was accurate in my previous answer. Can you repeat that question?

Mr GARDNER: I appreciate your accuracy. When are the checks taking place? I was somehow under the impression that it was August.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is right; it is in August. I believe training is occurring right now. There is an expectation that most of the schools will do it across both year levels, but it is not certain that it will be all of them, and that is why I cannot give you a more precise answer.

Mr GARDNER: Is the feedback from those schools that they are in fact introducing the concepts that are being checked—the phonics—in reception as well as year 1?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I do not have that feedback. I think that is part of the analysis of how the trial goes. We need to really understand from the trial how the Australian Curriculum, the South Australian application of the curriculum and the way we approach the first two years of school work with what is a very sound assessment from the UK, but one that nonetheless sits on top of a quite different school system.

Mr GARDNER: The minister in her earlier answer highlighted that this is a trial in the 54 schools and 'not a full rollout'. Previously, in the media you talked about it being expanded to all schools across South Australia potentially.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: My commitment is that we will do it next year in all schools unless something completely unexpected arises out of the trial.

Mr GARDNER: Coming out of the review from Ms Buckingham?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is my expectation.

Mr GARDNER: Are Ms Buckingham and the small panel you identified reviewing the process up to this point to inform the trial that is about to happen, or will they also review the trial itself? Who is doing the analysis of the trial?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: We are not contracting Ms Buckingham—in fact I believe that is on her advice—for the assessment of the trial. She assisted us in the design of the trial. Jennifer Buckingham has recommended Professor Kevin Wheldall. I am not sure where we are on the contract with that, but we will of course be having the trial fully assessed, and we will use the best expertise available to us.

Mr GARDNER: Who suggested that? You said it was recommended—

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: Jennifer Buckingham.

Mr GARDNER: Jennifer Buckingham suggested Professor Wheldall, who is going to do the assessment of the trial.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is our intention, but if we do not have a contract with him I cannot be certain that that will happen.

Mr GARDNER: Can I ask the minister if she will let us know when that detail of that contract has been finalised. The question I am asking is: when will that assessment be complete? I appreciate that is not possible if—

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take on notice the project plan for it.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to the panel that reviewed the process up to now, the one that Ms Buckingham was involved with, who else was on that panel?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: On the panel was Dr Jennifer Buckingham, Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies; Anne Bayetto, a lecturer at Flinders University; and Professor Ann Castles, Research Chair at Macquarie University.

Mr GARDNER: Let's move on to another matter, namely, Budget Paper 5, page 32; Budget Paper 4, Volume 2, page 17, the financial commentary; and budget papers 1 and 2, which all talk about the SA Collaborative Childhood program. Can I ask some questions about that in this line.

This is a $910,000 initiative for the development and support of the South Australian Collaborative Childhood Project, which is committed to researching and developing local approaches to the principles of the Reggio Emilia education philosophy; $410,000 for prototypes, being sites or services committed to researching and incorporating principles; and $500,000 for the 2017 early learning conference, being in Adelaide. Are you able to give some information about what sites are going to receive the benefit of that $410,000, how they were chosen and how that money will be spent?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: At present, there are 18 that a board is working with, which includes representatives from the Catholic system, Early Childhood Australia and ourselves, and we will be identifying four of those 18. When I say 'we', I mean that group of experts will be identifying four from the different sectors to work with intensively to be the prototypes, and they have not yet been identified.

Mr GARDNER: I apologise if the minister was answering this part of the question just then and I missed it, but what criteria are being considered to develop those prototype sites and services?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The group I just described is currently working on those criteria so that they can guide the selection of the four.

Mr GARDNER: How is the Reggio approach—where assessments are not taken by testing and grading students but, rather, from featuring the children's construction of learning through inquiry and expressive language—being combined with the Australian Curriculum that demands specific outcomes and assessments that require demonstrations that children are learning according to defined standards?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: It has been pointed out to me that this is Reggio inspired, rather than completely importing the Reggio model. There is an articulation into the early years framework and a lot of work has been done to make that flow.

Mr GARDNER: We are spending $900,000 on pushing the Reggio framework and we also have some level of engagement with other philosophies, such as Steiner and Montessori, but unlike Montessori, for example, there are no prescribed written definitions of what constitutes a Reggio approach and no way to be officially certified as a Reggio Emilia school.

Can the minister explain the philosophical underpinnings of this educational approach, or a Reggio Emilia-inspired school with South Australian characteristics as somebody described it to me? What are the underpinnings that have inspired the government to spend this money? It might help the minister to answer by asking this: in deciding to spend $900,000 here, did the government consider Montessori, Waldorf or other philosophies as alternative approaches supported by the state government?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: What I am going to do is ask the expert, Ann-Marie Hayes, to give you a short summary of the approach and why we are particularly attracted to the Reggio Emilia-inspired approach.

Ms HAYES: It is a philosophy that does not actually dictate 'how to' particularly. It is more about a value approach to children. We had a Thinker in Residence, as you would be aware, a couple of years ago. What we looked at is not to actually embed or import Reggio Emilia from Italy but to look at the values that underpin it, which is looking at children as citizens and as competent and having potential, whatever the nature of the child, to develop from that stance, as opposed to the more deficit model of some of the others.

It loosely translates right in the early days, so some of our children's centres have adopted the philosophy, but we also have the Child Friendly SA framework, which you would find on our website, that is totally in keeping with it. The framework supports Reggio Emilia, which looks at all domains of the child. The difference for Reggio Emilia is that it actually takes the child as competent from birth and looks at how we develop and support those competencies through a range of programs and supports.

Mr GARDNER: As I said before, $410,000 is allocated for the prototypes and $500,000 towards hosting the early learning conference. Is it possible at this stage to provide a breakdown of the costs associated with both lines? Is the $410,000 across four sites, for example? Is that $102,500 in each site, or is it done some other way? Is the $500,000 a simple payment for the conference, or are there different fees that make up the $500,000?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: The national regulations require services to have a quality improvement plan, which aims to assist providers self-assess their performers in delivering quality education and care and to plan future improvements. How is the Reggio Emilia process with South Australian characteristics being implemented or utilised to meet those requirements for the quality improvement plan?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: They enhance them. As you may have noticed in my opening statement for schools education, I did reference early childhood and the fact that we have a very high rate of exceedance. It is much higher than the national average, so it generally just improves the quality of offering for early childhood as is consistent with the priorities of this government for the early years.

Mr GARDNER: What professional development strategies and opportunities will be offered for educators through this initiative and how will the government measure the success of this initiative?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: That is probably quite a detailed answer, so I will take that on notice.

Mr GARDNER: In relation to Budget Paper 4, Volume 2, page 16, under the financial commentary, the increase in expenses identifies $5.3 million for 'additional expenditure associated with the implementation of recommendations of the Child Protection Systems Royal Commission'. Is the minister able to identify the nature of those cost increases that make up that $5.3 million?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I can refer you to the recommendations from the Nyland royal commission that are the responsibility of the Department for Education and Child Development. One is recommendation 51 for the CFARNs, as they are known, the Child and Family Assessment and Referrals Networks. We had agreed to undertake three, as recommended by Margaret Nyland: one to be operated by a non-government organisation and two by the government.

As you are not the shadow for child protection, I will not take you through the detail of where that fits in child protection. We have subsequently decided to do a fourth in regional South Australia. Recommendation 89 is the increased promotion of SMART training. Recommendation 90 is around—that is probably not a cost. Excuse me, I will confirm which ones are part of our budget process.

Costs are essentially around training for abuse and trauma support for children who need support due to abuse and trauma who are under the guardianship of the state and also the CFARNs. I can give an exhaustive list on notice.

Mr GARDNER: I do have other questions, but we might do the omnibus questions now and then come back to me, if there is time.

The CHAIR: We can do that at the end of the day, if you want to, because it is the same minister.

Mr GARDNER: It is not the same shadow minister at the end of the day, though.

The CHAIR: It is the same set of questions, though. It is up to you.

Mr GARDNER: My point is, let's do them now and if we have time for me to do more I will come back.

Mr BELL: The omnibus questions are:

1. Will the minister provide a detailed breakdown of expenditure on consultants and contractors above $10,000 in 2016-17 for all departments and agencies reporting to the minister, listing the name of the consultant, contractor or service supplier, cost, work undertaken and method of appointment?

2. In financial year 2016-17 for all departments and agencies reporting to the minister, what underspending on projects and programs (1) was and (2) was not approved by cabinet for carryover expenditure in 2017-18?

3. For each department and agency reporting to the minister, please provide a breakdown of attraction, retention and performance allowances, as well as non-salary benefits, paid to public servants and contractors in the years 2015-16 and 2016-17.

4. For each agency for which the minister has responsibility:

(a) How many FTEs were employed to provide communication and promotion activities in 2016-17 and what was their employment expense?

(b) How many FTEs are budgeted to provide communication and promotion activities in 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21, and what is their estimated employment expense?

(c) The total cost of government-paid advertising, including campaigns, across all mediums, in 2016-17, and budgeted cost for 2017-18.

5. For each agency for which the minister has responsibility:

(a) What was the cost of electricity in 2016-17?

(b) What is the budgeted cost of electricity in 2017-18?

(c) What is the provisioned cost of electricity in 2018-19, 2019-20 and, 2020-21?

6. For each grant program or fund the minister is responsible for please provide the following information for the 2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 financial years:

(a) Balance of the grant program or fund;

(b) Budgeted (or actual) expenditure from the program or fund;

(c) Budgeted (or actual) payments into the program or fund;

(d) Carryovers into or from the program or fund; and

(e) Details, including the value and beneficiary, of any commitments already made to be funded from the program or fund.

Mr GARDNER: What is the government doing to ensure that the demand for new early childhood teachers, directors and certified certificate and diploma staff will be met, and that there will be sufficient trained staff to meet that demand in the years ahead, especially with new childcare and children's centres being built and new requirements as a result of the new National Quality Framework?

The CHAIR: That's 14 questions.

Mr GARDNER: She can take it on notice if she likes.

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: The challenge is that that is really a training question rather than a Minister for Education and Child Development question, so I will return as that minister with an answer for you. Can I just very quickly put on record that Professor Wheldall is not going to do the evaluation. He has indicated that he would rather advise us. He will be on the selection panel to help choose the evaluation team rather than be on the team himself.

Mr GARDNER: Will the minister be able to get back to us when the evaluation team has been chosen and, further, when they are going to report?

The Hon. S.E. CLOSE: I am sure I will be making that public in due course.

The CHAIR: The time having expired for the questions, I declare the examination of the proposed payments for the Department for Education and Child Development and administered items for the Department for Education and Child Development completed.

Sitting suspended from 12:31 to 13:30.