Sunday 16 October 2011
Special Edition 4
Area School principal Sue Burtenshaw could get job back
by: Court Reporter Hannah
October 07, 2011 12:00AM
Yesterday, the former Coober Pedy Area School principal said she
was relieved the Teachers Appeal Board had cleared the way for discussions about
her potential reappointment.
The board concluded the action to permanently transfer her from
the school in July last year was "unjust and unreasonable".
Outside the tribunal, Ms Burtenshaw said she was pleased with the
outcome after a period she described as "taxing" for herself and her
"Even after this two-year dispute, I remain just as
passionate for the job, the school and the Coober Pedy community as ever,"
"I'm committed to teaching these children and helping them
learn, grow and develop in a safe environment.
"Ultimately, (it's) the welfare of the students that is most
important, and they have been my motivation throughout this process."
Ms Burtenshaw was the subject of a series of complaints of
misconduct in 2009.
The issues underpinning those complaints included Ms Burtenshaw's
strict "lateness policy", her clash with Year 12 students over the
proposed formal and her dealings with staff and parents.
In its judgment yesterday, the board said: nte"We find that
his (former Education Department chief executive Chris Robinson) decision to
permanently transfer Ms Burtenshaw away from the CPAS was, at the time of its
making, unjust and unreasonable. The situation was not so dire as to compel that
It also concluded she could have handled the implementation of a
new preschool policy more diplomatically and that she acted toward some teachers
in a way regarded as "overbearing and inflexible".
But it said she was not provided with adequate support and
offered a number of attributes to the school.
"We have no doubt that she was extremely competent in a
number of areas and that, given some appropriate support and guidance, and the
removal of unhelpful interference by others, her tenure as principal of CPAS
would have been successful and uneventful," it said.
Ms Burtenshaw will not automatically return to her former
position; but it is understood she intends to enter discussions about being
reinstated as Coober Pedy Area School principal.