Ombudsman staff coming to Ballarat

Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass OBE.

Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass OBE.

Victorian Ombudsman staff will visit Ballarat in October as part of an own investigation into government school expulsions.

Staff will be in town on October 28 to meet with people or groups who wish to raise concerns about the issue.

Investigators will be available between 11am and 2pm at Ballarat City Council committee rooms (one, two and 25) on Armstrong Street South.

The Victorian Ombudsman announced it would launch an own investigation into expulsions in early September, following a 27 per cent rise in expulsions over the past year.

The Education Department's most recent figures show 201 Victorian students were expelled in 2015, up from 158 in 2014. 

The investigation focuses on whether the relevant department is complying with the Ministerial Order and policies regarding government school expulsions, including ensuring relevant parties are notified that an expulsion is being considered, ensuring a conference is conducted with the affected student, ensuring the student is provided with other educational and development opportunities and providing a fair and effective appeals process.

It also aims to look at whether vulnerable or at-risk students are over-represented in expulsion numbers and whether the department is effectively addressing any such issues, if data collected by the department regarding expulsions is sufficient to inform departmental policy-making and programs and if the department is monitoring and preventing instances of informal expulsions, which occur outside a formal expulsion process.

Complaints to the ombudsman indicate that families experience difficulty when attempting to appeal expulsions and in finding alternative education placement for a child when they are expelled. It is therefore timely that the ombudsman investigates these matters.

Submissions also can be made at educationinvestigation@ombudsman.vic.gov.au or by calling 03 9613 6222 or (regional) 1800 806 314.