South Australian Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond says she did not express herself clearly when discussing possible job cuts in the Education Department.

Ms Redmond yesterday said Victoria has about 250 students per bureaucrat, compared to a ratio of about 80 to one in South Australia.

She said South Australia's ratio should be similar to Victoria's, a move that would reduce the number of department staff by more than 1300 on her figures.

Ms Redmond now admits the comparison is inexact because the interstate situation is different but has refused to back down from her claim South Australia should follow Victoria's lead.

"The figure in Victoria includes about 600 allied health professionals who go out into the schools," she said.

"What I tried to do yesterday was draw a comparison about the size of the public sector bureaucrats in Victoria where they have autonomy compared to what we have in South Australia.

"I wasn't clear. I said we should aim for something like the same sort of ratio but in the context of the overall conversation I was talking about the fact that we need to put more people out into our schools and fewer in head office.

"It would have been better expressed [by saying] we were likely to end up with that ratio.

"I probably in hindsight wouldn't have mentioned it because it's led to confusion."

Ms Redmond says it is Opposition policy to decentralise the bureaucracy, moving staff out of head office and into schools.

"The logic of it is if you actually do what Victoria has done and other states have done and that is put more of your management out into the schools so that the schools get more direct control over the people that they employ to suit their own circumstances, then you don't need as many people in a centralised head office," she said.

Ms Redmond says the policy is not intended as a cost-cutting measure but aimed at giving schools more autonomy.

She says the Opposition has not set a number on possible job cuts in the department if it wins office.

"The same amount of money is going to be spent in education, roughly a quarter of the budget," she said.

Premier Jay Weatherill says the Opposition's policy is confused.

"It's fine to talk about 'faceless bureaucrats' but when you drill down and ask the question who are these people, they're speech therapists, they're occupational therapists, they're counsellors," he said.


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