The West

Schools fear web link political
Easy access to information: Peter Collier. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

School leaders are concerned that a memo from Education Department director-general Sharyn O'Neill directing schools to post a link to information about the State education budget on their websites crosses a line into political propaganda.

The memo, headed "public education budget infographic to be included on school websites", urged schools to "please include" a link to a graphic presentation of the budget on their web homepages "as a matter of priority".

WA Primary Principals Association president Stephen Breen said he had many calls from members since the memo was sent to all State schools on Friday.

"A lot of principals and deputies rang to say they had concerns about this straying into political territory, given the instructions we have received from governments . . . and our department in the past which say schools should be apolitical," he said. "Schools should not be influencing parents on any political issues."

WA Secondary School Executives Association president Janette Gee said though she had received no complaints, the association was concerned the graphic alone did not fully explain the implications of the budget for secondary school students.

Education Minister Peter Collier said the information had been sent to all stakeholders and government department employees to let them know what the Government was doing.

"Public school teachers, as employees of the State Government, should understand the record spending that is taking place in the Education budget," he said.

Mr Collier said Ms O'Neill had asked schools to post the graphic so their communities could have easy access to the information.

He said there would be no repercussions for schools that ignored the request.

Shadow education minister Sue Ellery said the department was asking schools to directly sell a political message to parents. "I think it's completely inappropriate," she said.

The West Australian

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