The Department is reviewing the existing regional structure and support services. It has produced a consultation paper - Strengthening DET regional relationships and support - to obtain feedback on a series of proposals for changing the current situation.
The Napthine Government largely dismantled the regional support infrastructure for schools as part of its $600 million cuts to school education. An estimated 600 central and regional staff positions were removed over the period 2011-2014. This severely diminished the Department's capacity to support and assist schools and had a particular impact on the level of services for students with high needs.
The AEU State of Our Schools survey (2014) found that over 90 per cent of principals reported that regional support for schools had deteriorated over the previous year. ( no surprise there!)Principals voiced common concerns about the remoteness of regions and their lack of understanding of how schools operate and the work that they do and the demands and pressures placed on them
The regional consultation paper acknowledges that the present four regions and their support services are not meeting the identified needs of schools. It identifies "core areas of expertise" that the regions should provide for schools: partnership building and brokerage across sectors (including facilitation of school networks); school improvement and management; curriculum, assessment and pedagogy; school operations; well-being and engagement (particularly for students who are vulnerable, have disabilities or exhibit challenging behavior).
My response to the consultation was sent months ago and posted on this blog. My Network is also preparing a response.