Some State high schools will struggle to recruit enough qualified teachers in certain subjects when Year 7s make the move to secondary schools next year, a report by WA’s auditor-general has found.
The report, tabled in Parliament today, said even though the Education Department expected to find the extra 1370 secondary teachers needed, they might not get enough specialists in areas such as science or maths, particularly in country schools.
Auditor-General Colin Murphy found the transition of all Year 7 students to high schools was on track so far, but warned there was still a lot of work to be done at school level.
“There are some risk issues that will need to be addressed over the next six months if it’s going to all work well next year,” he said.
“Getting the right teacher in the right place will be an issue.”
“Remote schools and difficult-to-staff schools are likely to have difficulties.”
He said the transition was a huge project which involved moving more than 18,000 students into high schools, building new permanent classrooms at 29 schools and employing more than 1000 extra secondary teachers.
The fact the move coincided with the introduction of a new funding model and changes to schools’ financial management made the task more difficult for individual schools.
Mr Murphy warned that delays in tendering for new buildings had pushed out completion dates for 11 schools to just before the start of the new school year.
Any further delays could disrupt learning for more than 3000 children.
Education Department Statewide planning and delivery executive director Lindsay Hale said the report recognised the department’s extensive planning and preparation.
“While the report flags that some projects have tight deadlines, our forecasting shows that all building works are on track to be completed in time for the 2015 school year,” he said.