Western Australian Industrial Relations Commission

Teacher unfairly dismissed

A teacher whose employment was terminated for allegedly assisting Year 3 students in a National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) test and who was alleged to have referred to a student as a ‘little b-tch’ has successfully challenged her dismissal.  The Commission found that the investigation conducted by the Department of Education, the Investigation Report and conclusions were so flawed as to be unable to be relied on.  Also, the Education Assistant who was present in the classroom when the teacher administered the test was unreliable for a number of reasons. 

The investigation was flawed for a number of reasons, including: 

  • The investigators were either unaware or did not take account of the NAPLAN test having a practice section where the behaviour alleged of the Teacher was permissible, and they did not attempt to distinguish the two parts of the test in the investigation.
  • The investigators interviewed a number of Year 3, eight-year-old, students five weeks after the test, during which time they had sat another four tests. They were unable to distinguish between the practice test and the test itself, and between the various tests they had sat. 
  • The investigators asked them questions about tests other than those at which the unacceptable conduct is alleged to have occurred.

The Education Assistant admitted to being unfamiliar with the testing regime and being mistaken about a number of the allegations she had made.  She also acknowledged that when she alleged the teacher had given the students an extra 20 minutes that she was guessing and did not have her watch. 

The decision can be read here.  

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