The whistle-blower who revealed abysmal truancy numbers in Halls Creek District High School has kept his job but has faced disciplinary action after withdrawing his appeal against the Education Department. Former Halls Creek school teacher Brock Burston was scheduled to appear before the Public Service Appeal Board on June 15 and 16 but came to an agreement with the Department of Education to withdraw his appeal, with disciplinary action to be taken against him. Finance Minister Sue Ellery confirmed Mr Burston had disciplinary action imposed but had kept his job during Senate Budget estimates on June 27. Ms Ellery said she could not provide further details on an agreement recently reached with the Public Service Appeal Board, which didn’t go to a full hearing. Representing Education Minister Tony Buti, Ms Ellery said the nature of the agreement couldn’t be disclosed due to confidentiality provisions. “What I can say is that the hearing did not proceed, disciplinary action was imposed and was not withdrawn as a consequence of the hearing,” she said. It is the latest in the years-long battle that has seen Mr Burston pursued by the Department of Education for revealing truancy numbers in an anonymous letter to the Shire of Halls Creek in late 2020. After Mr Burston’s letter was published in the media, the whistle-blower faced criminal charges for disclosing official secrets and unlawful use of a computer but was later acquitted. Mr Burston was later transferred out of the Kimberley and relocated to an unspecified location for an unspecified amount of time in a supernumerary position. It came just before ABC Kimberley revealed school attendance plans for at-risk kids in the region had been botched in July, forcing Ms Ellery, who was then Education Minister, to apologise in Parliament for her part in the debacle which saw truancy numbers fudged. The attendance plans were a recommendation from a 2019 coronial inquest into the suicides of 13 children and young adults in the Kimberley between 2012 and 2016, which found poor school attendance was a common factor in their deaths. Mr Burston lodged an appeal against the Department’s decision to move him with the Industrial Relations Commission and started a Go Fund Me in February to help him. On his fundraising page, Mr Burston described himself as an advocate for disadvantaged children and said he had been treated like a criminal. “For the past 20 months, my family and I have been publicly defamed, persecuted, harassed and bullied by the Department of Education,” he said at the time. “To this day, the Department of Education is relentlessly penalising me.” Figures disclosed in Parliament on January 14 revealed nothing had improved since Mr Burston came forward, with a drastic drop in the average school attendance across all years of education throughout the Kimberley over the past two years. The figures were given in answer to a question from Mining and Pastoral MLC Neil Thomson, with Ms Ellery providing the attendance numbers for Halls Creek, Fitzroy Valley, Wyndham and Derby District high schools alongside East Kimberley College. The worst of the figures were for Derby District High School, which recorded a 40 per cent drop in Year 12 attendance from 70.2 per cent in semester one of 2021 to 30.3 per cent in the first semester of 2022. Halls Creek District High School also recorded a fall of nearly 20 per cent in Year 12 attendance from 30 per cent to just 11.9 per cent. There was no improvement at East Kimberley College, with attendance dropping across all year groups, while Fitzroy Valley District High School recorded the most improvement, with its year 7 to 11 students all increasing attendance. Wyndham and Halls Creek district high schools recorded minor improvement in their kindergarten, pre-primary and years 3, 5 and 11 attendance, while all other age groups dropped. At the estimates hearing on Tuesday, Ms Ellery said truancy figures broadly for 2020, 2021 and 2022 were being provided on notice but they were processed as full calendar years, so 2023 figures would not be provided. The Education Department and Mr Burston were contacted for comment but did not respond by time of publication.