Sunday 16 October 2011

Special Edition 4

Previous Issues

Coober Pedy Area School principal Sue Burtenshaw could get job back

         by: Court Reporter Hannah Silverman

         From: AdelaideNow

         October 07, 2011 12:00AM


         DESPITE two years of court battles, Sue Burtenshaw remains passionate about the career that has caused her so much grief.

         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 "loyal" supporters.

         "Even after this two-year dispute, I remain just as passionate for the job, the school and the Coober Pedy community as ever," she said.

         "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 conclusion".

         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.  


  Teachers Appeal Board hearing of Coober Pedy Area School principal Sue Burtenshaw who could be reinstated reads a statement. Picture: Greg Higgs Source: AdelaideNow