Portland Bay School is a valuable part of the Portland community. It has a strong tradition of offering a high quality education to children and young people with additional needs. The school has an energetic new principal, Paul Nugent, who I know is keen to build on the school’s strong foundations in 2013.
The Education Department is and will continue to work closely with Paul, his staff, school council and community to ensure the school adapts smoothly to the change of leadership.
I would like to take this opportunity to clarify some of the concerns about the school that were recently raised in The Standard. Student safety is the school’s and the Department’s top priority. Staff at Portland Bay School are not instructed to lock classroom doors. They may, however, choose to lock external doors for the purpose of ensuring that students at risk of running away do not put themselves, staff or other students at serious risk. This practice is not uncommon in special schools.
We must always remember that teachers have a duty of care to provide a safe and secure learning environment for all of their students.
Malcolm Millar, regional director, Department of Education