COOBER PEDY News & Events


Claims that the Coober Pedy Area School is in a state of caos following the departure of Principal Sue Lewis were addressed by Education Minister Jay Weatherill today who said, “We now have a principal appointed for the rest of 2010 and are working to ensure there is a permanent principal appointed as soon as possible to start next year, when we envisage the situation will settle down.”

Assistant principal at the school, Kym Taylor chose to speak with media this week stating that chaos prevailed, with kids not coming to school, not staying in class and running in and out of classrooms and swearing at teachers thus creating a generation of children at risk.”

Parents, however have expressed concerns that with DECS trying to procure a permanent principal for next year, that propaganda such as has occured this week, appearing in the media may make it more difficult to achieve a permanent replacement. Previously some parents had removed their children from the school and other parents had threatened similar action.

In July it was announced that acting principal, Mr Ron Pratt, had been appointed to the school until the end of the 2010 school year. As it’s only August some parents have indicated that he hasn’t been given a fair go.

Kym Taylor then told media, “we had policies in place, but because the policies were implemented by Sue and some people didn’t like them, there is now nothing in place.”

The School Governing Council who will now make the policies has only been a Governing Council for a few months.

Earlier this year and after 6 months of lengthy investigations Chris Robinson, Chief Executive of the Department of Education and Children’s Service (DECS) issued the following advice for the Coober Pedy community including parents and caregivers regarding resolutions relating to issues at the Coober Pedy Area School.

“The investigation into issues raised at Coober Pedy Area School has now concluded. It was clear from the investigation that issues at the school had placed the school’s principal under considerable pressure and divided the school community.

For this reason, I reached the view that it is no longer tenable for the school’s principal, Ms Sue Burtenshaw, to return to her position.  It is important the community now move forward and focus on the best interests of the students at the school”.  Chris Robinson DECS.

Ms Burtenshaw [Lewis] has since appealed the decision.  

The Coober Pedy Area School Governing council have issued a release which states: “The Governing Council is united in its determination to work with DEC’s, to resolve the issues confronting the school in the best interests of its students, staff and community. The school is operational with the total support of the community, service providers and individuals, and is determined to move forward with this support”.

This week Mayor Steve Baines declined from being drawn into discussions while acting principals were trying to do their job. Previously Mayor Baines had stated that he would abide by whatever decision was made, whichever way it went, and has since reinforced that position.