By ERWIN CHLANDA
Education Minister Peter Chandler (pictured) has rejected an offer from two teachers to meet with him in person and give him detailed, first-hand information about problems at Yirara College.
The two highly experienced teachers provided much of the information for several of eight reports in the Alice Springs News Online which unleashed a storm of public comments, more than 80 of which provided in writing (see readers’ comment boxes below each report).
The teachers, who spoke to the News on the condition of not being named, yesterday offered to meet with Mr Chandler in person, on the condition that he kept confidential their identities.
One of the teachers, who worked at Yirara last year, even offered to travel to the NT to meet with Mr Chandler.
However, today his minder told the News: “A review is now underway. It would be inappropriate for the Minister to have any discussions that may pre-empt the findings.”
Yesterday the News, having received a tip-off that a departmental inspection may be under way, we emailed the minder, asking:-
• Was it unannounced?
• How many of the enrolled children were present?
• How many classrooms were visited?
• How many teacher were interviewed?
• Did those interviews occur in a one-one-one confidential manner?
• Or were the upper echelon people present?
• What was observed by the inspectors?
• How long were they on site?
• Any other things you may find relevant.
This was all the minder said in her response yesterday: “An assessment of the school is underway today and tomorrow. A report will be provided to the CE by the end of March.”
Meanwhile sources the teachers have within the college have told them that many troublemakers had been removed from the school before the departmental inspection yesterday and today.
“Apparently many of the troublesome kids were sent home after a shocking day Tuesday,” the teachers were told
The contacts in the college also told them that Lutheran Schools Association executive John Proeve was at Yirara on March 3 “and it was chaos”.
Meanwhile two dozen questions the News has put to Bishop John Henderson, the head of the Lutheran Church, on March 2 have still not been answered.
By ERWIN CHLANDA