The 2017 Department for Education and Child Development annual report is provided on this page. You can also download the report (PDF 4.5MB).
Department for Education
Education Centre, 31 Flinders Street, Adelaide 5000
Postal address: GPO Box 1152, Adelaide SA 5001
Contact phone number: (08) 8226 1000
Free call: 1800 088 158
Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Date presented to Minister: 5 April 2018
To: The Hon John Gardner Minister for Education
This annual report is presented to Parliament to meet the statutory reporting requirements of the Public Sector Act 2009, the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987, and the Education Act 1972 and meets the requirements of Premier and Cabinet Circular PC013 Annual Reporting. This report is verified to be accurate for the purposes of annual reporting to the Parliament of South Australia.
Submitted on behalf of the Department of State Development by: Rick Persse, Chief Executive
Section A: Reporting required under the Public Sector Act 2009, the Public Sector Regulations 2010 and the Public Finance and Audit Act 1987
Agency purpose or role
The Department for Education and Child Development brings together high‑quality education, early childhood and child health services that support children and young people from the day they are born, in all South Australian communities.
A strong and vibrant public education and child development system delivers benefits to all South Australians. Our key stakeholders are:
The department's Strategic Plan outlines the vision, values and desired characteristics of the South Australian public education and care system. All stem from the shared vision to build a stronger future for our children by making our state's education and child development system world class.
Our 5 key priorities for South Australia’s children and young people are:
We will achieve our vision and deliver on these priorities by building capability in the 6 fundamental areas that have created impact in successful education systems around the world:
DECD Strategic Plan https://www.decd.sa.gov.au/department/about-department/strategic-plan
Key strategies and their relationship to SA Government objectives
SA Government objective
Fairness for all
Learning in partnership
Agency programs and initiatives and their effectiveness and efficiency
|Giving our children a head start|
|Improving service integration in children’s centres||44 children’s centres were operational as at the end of 2017, with 47 to be in place by the end of 2018.The Children’s Centres Family Support program expanded to 47.7 FTE.||Children’s centres and family centres bring together care, education, health, community development activities and family services to achieve the best possible learning, health and wellbeing outcomes in a universal setting.|
|Quality of our early childhood services||As at 31 December 2017, 80% of public preschools assessed exceeded the National Quality Standard compared with 59% of preschools/kindergartens nationally.||To ensure quality in early childhood education.|
|Child and Family Assessment and Referral Networks (CFARNS)||3 pilot CFARNs established:||A coordinated, targeted and culturally appropriate early intervention for children and their families to improve their safety, health, development and education outcomes where risk factors exist.|
|Preschool educator ratios||At least 1 educator for every 10 children in public preschools in areas of greatest need, and 1 educator for every 11 children in other public preschools.Preschool directors assisted by centralisation of utility bills and modernisation of preschool websites.||To ensure quality in early childhood education.|
|Preschool outdoor learning areas||15 of the 20 preschool outdoor learning areas to be developed between 2014 and 2018 are complete. This is a $6 million program.||Positive and healthy attitudes lead to behaviours that can be maintained over a lifetime.|
|Engage with parents early||A number of initiatives are underway:||Parents play the most important role as a child’s first teacher.|
|A focus on literacy and numeracy to put the basics first|
|Literacy and Numeracy||The statewide Literacy and Numeracy Results Plus professional development program supported preschool leaders, principals, leadership teams and education directors in leading literacy and numeracy improvement. 1,200 leaders across the state participated in the Results Plus professional learning program and $5.6 million was provided directly to preschools and schools for literacy and numeracy improvement. 11 Best Advice Literacy and Numeracy papers were published for preschool and school leaders. Progressive Achievement Test professional learning workshops were delivered to approximately 1,900 teachers and leaders across the state.The Aboriginal Reading project supported one third of Aboriginal preschool enrolments statewide.||To help all young people leave school able to:|
|Learning design, assessment and moderation||Collaborative moderation and reflective practice was undertaken by every public preschool and school in 2017.The first of 3 levels of schooling professional learning programs commenced with 124 primary teachers (including STEM 500 teachers).||Collaborative moderation and reflective practice that leads to improved student achievement.Teachers working together to develop consistency of professional judgement of learner progress and assessment, and high quality learning experiences for all children and students.|
|External school reviews and partnership-level performance tracking||28 education partnership reviews took place, covering 134 preschools and 230 schools.128 schools were externally reviewed, providing each school with directions to support further improvement.||Greater support for schools to raise student achievement and sustain high performance.|
|Educating students for the jobs of tomorrow|
|STEM learning strategy||To engage students at all year levels, and to develop system-wide excellence in STEM education.|
|STEM Works program||9 projects completed, with a further 62 under construction. In total 139 schools will be provided with new and contemporary facilities.Work is scheduled for completion in late 2018.||To engage students at all year levels, and to develop system-wide excellence in STEM education|
|South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) completion||A record 15,280 South Australian students completed the SACE (up from 15,107 in 2016), with 7,957 students in public schools (up from 7,777 in 2016).||Partnerships between industry, enterprises, unions and schools help better prepare students for transition to work.|
|Expanding the teaching of languages||The French Bilingual program began at Highgate School with a reception class and a year 1 class. Plympton International College became the state’s first Chinese bilingual public school with half of the curriculum being offered in Mandarin.The Languages Strategy for Public Education 2018-2021 was released November 2017.||Improved student participation and retention in language education.|
|Expanding the teaching of music education||A new music strategy is in development to expand on 19 music focus schools and local music partnerships. Instrumental music is taught across the state through these music focus schools and network schools. In May 2017 there were 7,769* students who accessed instrumental music.* This may include students accessing more than 1 lesson or ensemble.||Expanded teaching of music education.|
|State-of-the-art new city school and school upgrades||Construction underway on the $100 million Adelaide Botanic High School, due to open from term 1, 2019. Planning began on delivering 2 new birth to year 12 schools in Adelaide’s northern and southern suburbs, and a new secondary school in Whyalla under a public/private partnership arrangement. $13 million is being invested in upgrading 110 public schools across the state through the provision of new floor coverings, external painting and paving.As at December 2017, the department was in the process of delivering infrastructure projects worth over $1 billion.||Adelaide Botanic High School and the new northern and southern schools will increase capacity in the inner and outer suburbs.|
|Career development through Student Pathways strategy||Partnerships between schools, business and tertiary sectors continued in 2017.Whole-school career development strategies were developed in sites.||To improve students’ transitions into further education, training and work.|
|Help for every student to achieve their best|
|Aboriginal education||More Aboriginal children are attending preschool and staying in school to year 12.||Closing the gap in educational attainment for Aboriginal students.|
|Keeping safe and trauma-trained staff||800 educators and 400 pre-service teachers were trained to deliver the mandated Keeping Safe: Child Protection Curriculum in public preschool and school sites. A trauma-informed approach initiative was developed in 2017 to build local capacity in supporting children with trauma.Over 980 staff were engaged in trauma-informed practice professional development or training. Staff accessed this through the SMART program delivered by the Australian Childhood Foundation or through participation in the inaugural Trauma Informed Practice in Education conference hosted by the department.||To ensure the safety and wellbeing of children, young people and educators.|
|Attendance||School attendance rates improved in South Australia from 89.9% in 2011 to 90.7% in 2016. In 2017 the rate has decreased by 0.1% to 90.6%.||To engage and support our children and young people to attend school.|
|Flexible learning options (FLO)||In term 1, 2017 there were 4,611 FLO-enrolled students, down from 4,814 in term 1, 2016. Qualified case managers are assigned to students who have disengaged from secondary school with complex social and emotional barriers to their engagement in learning.||To plan a future pathway to further education, training or employment.|
|More options for children with disability||22 new special options with 216 places commenced in 2017 for children with a disability.One Child, One Plan initiative was announced for graduated implementation from term 1, 2018, to be embedded into all public schools and preschools by the end of 2021.||Integrated learning plans for children and students with identified needs.|
|Supporting our teachers to deliver great results|
|Advancing the careers of our best teachers||62 scholarships worth up to $20,000 each were offered in 2017 for teachers to complete a Masters qualification. As at|
31 December 2017, 164 teachers have accepted scholarships through this initiative. 86 teachers participated in the national certification learning program in 2017, with 38 achieving national certification at the highly accomplished or lead teacher career stage.Support was provided to over 850 beginning teachers and their mentors in 2017 through the Early Career Teacher Development Program.
|Support for teachers to be their best.|
|Teaching for Effective Learning (TfEL)||Resources accessed in 2017:||Teaching and learning practices that lead to improved student engagement and achievement.|
|Identifying and developing leaders||Principals are being developed through the Future Leaders program, and 142 site leaders were supported to complete the Graduate Diploma of Strategic Leadership in 2017.||Support and development of principals and leaders.|
|Building Better Schools initiative and other infrastructure||Work underway on 91 projects as part of Phase 1 of the $692.2 million Building Better Schools program, with the development of high-level scoping plans and drawings.13 transportable buildings were delivered to address an increase in demand.||Building Better Schools upgrades are tailored to the needs of each school and include removal of ageing classrooms, provision of new buildings, and refurbishing of classrooms and buildings.|
|ICT initiatives||Delivering Digital Initiative 2016-2020: work on the 4 strategic priorities to meet the current and future needs of schools, preschools, care and protection services continued.Work on specifications for a new electronic records system continued in 2017.||Integrated, secure and flexible digital solutions for public education and care in South Australia.|
Legislation administered by the agency
Children’s Services Act 1985
Children's Services (Appeals) Regulations 2008
Children's Services (Registered Children's Services Centres) Regulations 2003
Education Act 1972
Education Regulations 2012
Organisation of the agency
Office of the Chief Executive
Early Years and Child Development
Finance and Funding
Partnerships, Schools and Preschools
People and Culture
Strategic Policy and External Relations
Other agencies related to this agency (within the Minister's area/s of responsibility)
Child Death and Serious Injury Review Committee
Child Development Council
Commissioner for Children and Young People
Dame Roma Mitchell Trust Funds Board of Advice
Education and Early Childhood Services Registration and Standards Board of South Australia (Education Standards Board)
Ministerial Advisory Committee: Children and Students with Disability
Multicultural Education and Languages Committee
SACE Board of South Australia
Teachers Registration Board of South Australia
The Guardian for Children and Young People
Employment opportunity programs
Result of the program
Flexibility for the Future
In 2017, the department exceeded its 2017-2018 financial year target of more than 41 additional part-time employees.
Traineeships and Graduates – Jobs4Youth program
In 2017, 22 young people were recruited into traineeship positions and 2 graduates were appointed to various positions. Of those, 22 completed their placements and were appointed to ongoing and temporary positions. 68% of trainees were of Aboriginal descent.
Amy Levai Aboriginal Teaching Scholarships
32 Aboriginal people were supported throughout 2017 with 6 graduating to begin teaching at the start of 2018.
Agency performance management and development systems
Performance management and development system
Assessment of effectiveness and efficiency
The department has a clear, well-defined, principle-based performance and development policy that connects the work of all employees to strategic priorities, improvement plans and performance indicators. Individualised planning, learning and review are features of the annual cycle.
During 2017, the policy was reviewed as part of the broader improvement and accountability framework. It also responded to the Premier’s Direction (5 May 2016) requiring the department to implement performance management and development reviews with all employees (including executives) at least biannually.
Changes to the policy and associated practices were designed to:
As at 28 December 2017, 48% of employees had completed a performance and development review within the previous 6 months.
Qualitative feedback will be sought on the effectiveness and efficiency of the new performance and development policy and supporting material in 2018.
Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs of the agency and their effectiveness
Occupational health, safety and rehabilitation programs
Work Health Safety (WHS) Risk Review program.
Senior Executive Group (SEG) identified 7 key health and safety risk events for review.
For each risk event, a review team was established, comprising of operational and corporate stakeholders who have knowledge of or experience with the risk, or who play a role in setting policy to manage the risk.
The risk review team held workshops to identify the potential improvement strategies to manage the risk.
Employee Psychological Health and Wellbeing program
This targets the wellbeing needs of all employees, raises awareness of mental health issues in the workplace, and builds competency in the prevention, early intervention and management of employee psychological health.
Following a review and assessment of employee psychological health across the organisation, the department started a number of evidence-based psychological health and wellbeing initiatives to target those at higher risk of psychological compromise.
Additional programs for all department employees have been developed and are currently in pilot phase.
Injury Management Early Intervention program
Early and targeted intervention is provided as soon as an injury is reported and before a compensation claim being lodged. It facilitates an early and sustainable return to work, and helps prevent and manage the risks associated with incidents and injuries.
Return to Work program
All work-injured employees are provided with early and tailored assistance to recover and return to work.
Fraud detected in the agency
Category/nature of fraud
Number of instances
Potential misappropriation of funds
Inappropriate financial processes
Fraudulent behaviour or misrepresentation by an employee
Strategies implemented to control and prevent fraud
The department is committed to maintaining a working environment free of fraud and corrupt behaviour and does so through its fraud and corruption control policy and framework. These articulate the department's prevention, detection and response strategies and provide the processes for managing suspected and/or actual fraud or corruption.
Any instances of misconduct are treated seriously by the department, and where these occur, prompt action is taken to ensure that they are thoroughly investigated and that those responsible are held to account.
Data for the past 5 years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/fraud-detection-reporting-by-the-department-for-education-and-child-development
Number of occasions on which public interest information has been disclosed to a responsible officer of the agency under the Whistle-blowers’ Protection Act 1993
Data for the past 5 years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/whistleblower-reporting-by-the-department-for-education-and-child-development
Executive employment in the agency
As at the last pay day in June 2017
Number of executives
PS Act Executive F - Untenured
SA Executive Service Level 1 - Untenured
SA Executive Service Level 2 - Untenured
Principal Band A-4
Principal Band A-5
Principal Band A-6
Principal Band A-7
Principal Band A-8
Principal Band A-9
ED Act negotiated conditions
Notes: Profile includes employees who were actively employed or on paid leave. Executives are defined as employees who receive a total salary equivalent to $115,938 per annum or more (equating to EL1 minimum under the public service structure). Deputy Principals at Leader Band B-5 and above classification level meet the executive salary threshold but are excluded as they are not considered part of the ‘executive’ group
Source: DECD VALEO system and CHRIS system, DPC Workforce Information Collection as at the last pay day in June 2017.
Data for the past 5 years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/executive-employment-reporting-by-the-department-for-education-and-child-development
The following is a summary of external consultants that have been engaged by the department, the nature of work undertaken and the total cost of the work undertaken in 2016-17.
All consultancies below $10,000 each
Consultancies above $10,000 each
The Boston Consulting Group
Development of a new operating model for the new child protection system.
Assurance services relating to the Education Management System project.
Ernst & Young
Development of a risk strategy for the Education Management System project.
Business continuity management development including a review of emergency responses.
BDO Advisory (SA) Pty Ltd
Probity services for the Education Management System procurement process.
Total all consultancies
Data for the past 5 years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/consultants-reporting-by-the-department-for-education-and-child-development
See also https://www.tenders.sa.gov.au/tenders/index.do for a list of all external consultancies, including nature of work and value. See also the Consolidated Financial Report of the Department of Treasury and Finance http://treasury.sa.gov.au/ for total value of consultancy contracts across the SA Public Sector.
Financial performance of the agency
The following is a brief summary of the overall financial position of the agency. The information is unaudited. Full audited financial statements for 2016-17 are attached to this report.
Our income – where it comes from
As a result of 'machinery of government' changes announced in June 2016, the Department for Child Protection was formed and the child protection functions of the agency were transferred to the new agency from 1 November 2016. The total income received by the department and schools from controlled operations for the 2016-17 financial year, excluding care and protection activities, was $3.12 billion. An increase of $107.9 million from the previous financial year.
Revenue from the State Government increased by $47.6 million. This includes funding for the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) capital initiative and increased funding for public schools and preschools.
Revenue from the Australian Government also increased by $19.9 million, mainly relating to increases associated with the National Education Reform Agreement totalling $28.2 million.
There were benefits recognised associated with the disposal of non-current assets totalling $11.5 million, and increases in school related revenue including student enrolment fees and charges totalling $6.8 million.
Our expenditure – how our funds were spent
Total operating expenses of the department and schools for controlled activities, excluding care and protection activities, increased by $96.9 million to $3.06 billion compared with the previous financial year.
Employee benefit related expenses increased by $68.3 million. This relates to a range of factors including increases in remuneration rates paid under enterprise bargaining agreements and awards and increases in total staffing numbers, offset by a revaluation of long service leave entitlements associated with actuarial assessments.
Supplies and Services expenses increased by $27.9 million, of which school expenditure totalled $12.6 million.
During the 2015-16 financial year, the department also made a payment to the State Government totalling $60.9 million pursuant to the cash alignment policy. No similar payment was made in the 2016-17 financial year.
Summary of our assets – what we own
The value of assets for department and schools (excluding care and protection activities) totalled $5.5 billion as at 30 June 2017, which represented an increase of $696 million compared with the previous financial year.
The value of land, building and improvements, and other property was revalued in the 2016-17 financial year. This resulted in an increase of $585 million. Most of the revaluation increase related to buildings and improvements.
Cash balances also increased by $122.4 million, including increases in cash held by schools in SA School Investment Fund accounts, and an increase in at-call deposits with the Treasurer.
Summary of our liabilities – what we owe
The value of liabilities for the department and schools (excluding care and protection activities) totalled $1.1 billion as at 30 June 2017, an increase of $8 million compared with the previous financial year.
Materials and services charges
The materials and services charge set by each governing/school council is intended to cover the costs of those essential materials and services used or consumed by individual students during the course of their study and must reflect the actual cost of the materials and services provided.
For 2017, the standard sum that schools were able to recover was $231 for primary students and $305 for secondary students. Governing/school councils may also poll their school communities to seek majority support to legally recover an amount greater than the standard sum.
In 2017, the total materials and services charge invoiced by schools is estimated to be around $64.9 million, and includes an estimated $12.3 million of ‘school card’ assistance for low-income families.
Other financial information
Nil to report
Other information requested by the Minister(s) or other significant issues affecting the agency or reporting pertaining to independent functions
Audit and Risk Committee Report
The Audit and Risk Committee (ARC) provides independent assurance and advice to the Chief Executive and the Senior Executive Group on the department’s risk, control and compliance framework, and its external accountability responsibilities.
The ARC comprises 4 members of senior management and three independent external members, including the chair. Representatives of the Auditor-General's Department attend as observers. The committee met on 5 occasions during 2017.
The committee’s role is to review processes, timelines and business procedures and provide advice on audit, risk management and business assurance activities across the department.
During 2017, the ARC focused on the following matters:
Section B: Reporting required under any other act or regulation
Reporting required under the Carers’ Recognition Act 2005
The Carers’ Recognition Act is deemed applicable for the following: Department for Communities and Social Inclusion, Department for Education and Child Development, Department for Health and Ageing, Department of State Development, Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, South Australia Police and TAFE SA.
Section 7: Compliance or non-compliance with section 6 of the Carers Recognition Act 2005 and (b) if a person or body provides relevant services under a contract with the organisation (other than a contract of employment), that person's or body's compliance or non-compliance with section 6.
Awareness: There is a system to ensure all management, staff and volunteers have an understanding of the Act and Carers Charter.
Consultation: There is a system to ensure consultation with carers, or persons or bodies that represent carers, in the development and review of human resource plans, policies and procedures.
Practice: There is a system to ensure the principles of the Carers Charter are reflected in human resource practice.
Section C: Reporting of public complaints as requested by the Ombudsman
Summary of complaints by subject
Public complaints received by Education Complaint unit
Category of complaints by subject
Number of instances
Behaviour Management General
Family Law Dispute
Duty of Care
School Facilities Access/Use
Behaviour Third Party
Teaching/Curriculum-Standards and Performance
Special Education-Behaviour Management
Data for the past 5 years is available at: https://data.sa.gov.au/data/dataset/public-complaints-received-by-the-department-for-education-and-child-development
Nature of complaint or suggestion
Services improved or changes as a result of complaints or consumer suggestions
Training for basic complaint management for site staff
Training developed for online learning
Assistance for site staff to manage ongoing difficult complainants
Education Complaint unit assessment and resolution staff providing some targeted face-to-face mediation
Training for staff on managing aggressive and difficult complainants
Targeted face-to-face training