From time to time I hark back in my thinking and remembering to the time when Northern Territory Education was being taken over by our government. Until 1978 education in the Territory was under the control of Canberra.

In 1979 that all changed. We had our own department with our own first Director of Education Doctor Jim Eedle.

At the time I was a newish principal at Numbulwar. In March 1978, we were called to a Principals Conference in Katherine. It was our first conference aas ‘NT Education’.

Our new director told us that we should always be conscious of two things.

We should always remember that “schools are for children“. The second principle was “Structure should always serve function (schools for children) and not dominate).“

It often seems to me from that time onwards of the primary purpose of schooling (that it be for children) almost became secondary. The prime function of education more and more has come to be about growing it as an edifice.

A fairly simply constructed department which had two branches, “schools” and “support services“ has grown to now become a department with seven subsections. Our organisation is complex.

With that I don’t accept thatacceptthat our education and outcomes terms for childrenhas improved. The organisation has become one of growth. But it has been growth for the sake of structure and change within rather than being growth focusing on the needs of children.

Education in my opinion has slipped and that slippage continues.

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