The Educator Weekend Wrap: Top principal accused, schools reclaim funding & school rises from ashes

In this week’s top story, The Scots College principal, Dr Ian Lambert responded to damning allegations contained in a series of leaked documents. The unfounded allegations against Dr Lambert accusing him of abusing travel privileges and overspending millions of dollars on capital works projects that were not reported to the school council. In a statement made through his lawyers, Lambert denied the claims, insisting he had complied with his employment contract at all times. “The assumption by the former council that staff costs can be benchmarked against peer schools is problematic. No other school in Australia provides a six-month residential program for all year nine boys at a bush campus in Kangaroo Valley [south of Sydney],” he said. “Nor do most schools operate educational programs over seven separate campuses. This is not to say that benchmarking is not a valuable tool to compare similar organisations, however the former council was trying to make an exact comparison that simply does not exist.”

In other news, the Federal Government announced that three Islamic schools at risk of closing down due to potentially disastrous funding cuts would remain open after a decision was made to keep money flowing into the schools. A Federal Government audit had previously found governance and financial mismanagement issues at the six schools run by the nation’s peak Muslim body, the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC). However, on Tuesday, Federal Education Minister, Simon Birmingham, said that since 2 March, three of the six AFIC schools – the Islamic College of Brisbane, Langford Islamic College in Perth and the Islamic College of Melbourne – had followed through with “real action” on their commitments to implement substantial changes to their operations.

Finally, less than seven months after being damaged in a tragic fire, Seaforth Public School is undergoing a promising transformation. Its principal, Bernard Cheng, told The Educator that replacing the buildings destroyed in the fire will be ‘future-focused’ classrooms. Cheng added the school was also undergoing an overhaul of teaching and learning approaches. “For the first time, we’re engaging teachers across all grades to identify things that they see in the school that might need enhancing,” Cheng explained. “This means we will be telling teachers that they are now responsible as key members of the school for delivering the high quality teaching and learning plan that will move us forward.”