School chief ready to leave

Chief executive Michael Parker is willing to be made redundant to save his schools. Picture: Emma Reeves d411781
Chief executive Michael Parker is willing to be made redundant to save his schools. Picture: Emma Reeves d411781

OK Youth Services, which runs the educational alternative for about 140 at-risk young people who struggled in mainstream education, had until December 2 to appeal.

The Department of Education Services has recommended licence cancellation because of various concerns including recording and reporting of pupil performance and delays rolling out a new curriculum.

Meanwhile, Catalyst has lost its rented head office in Wangara and use of its girls’ campus in Joondalup because of cashflow problems caused by State and Federal government funding schedule changes and delays.

The girls’ campus is now operating from shared premises in Clarkson, but hopes to return to Joondalup if funding comes through this month.

The boys’ campus in Wangara is unaffected.

Chief executive Michael Parker said winning the appeal would mean release of government funds so the organisation could cover staff wages and rent.

Catalyst has lost about half of its staff and the rest are working voluntarily until the end of the school year, so students can finish pre-apprenticeship courses.

Pastor Parker said the schools’ board would soon make redundant his position and those of two mentors, freeing finances to employ an executive principal.

‘If it means the schools can continue, I am happy to make the sacrifice,’ said the ordained Lutheran minister, who has 25 years’ experience in family counselling and community work.

The Education Minister, in a statement last week, said Catalyst had every opportunity, over several years, to demonstrate that it had met the minimum standards for non-government school registration.

‘Regrettably, it has not been able to do so, hence I am required by legislation to cancel the registration of the schools,’ he said.

The minister said that if Catalyst closed, the students would be offered transitional arrangements into government schools and options for placement in one of nine other CARE (Curriculum and Re-engagement in Education) schools.