‘It will leave kids behind’: Calls to rethink school plan

PARENTS should be able to decide whether they send their children to school amid fears significant numbers of children will be left behind their peers after five weeks of homeschooling, Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington says.

As parents grapple with how they'll teach their children from home when Term 2 resumes in a week, many while working full time from home, Ms Frecklington has called for a rethink of arrangements.

Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has called for a rethink of schooling arrangements surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: supplied
Queensland Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has called for a rethink of schooling arrangements surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. Picture: supplied

Ms Frecklington said parents were confused and concerned around who was classified as an "essential worker" who could send their children to school.

"Having schools open for some children but not others runs the risk of creating a two-tier education system that will leave some kids behind," she said.

"I'm especially worried about children being left in homes where they may not receive any home schooling at all for the next five weeks.

"And let's remember that many families don't have access to laptops, printers, digital devices or sufficient internet connections.

"If parents can teach their children at home and are able to do so they can choose to.

"But parents who want to send their kids to school should have that choice.

"Both parents and teachers need clarity on these issues urgently."

 

A pedestrian crossing attendant Peter performs his duty outside a primary school, even though most students stayed home, in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled
A pedestrian crossing attendant Peter performs his duty outside a primary school, even though most students stayed home, in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Dan Peled

Under Queensland's arrangements, only essential workers can send their children from work, which includes situations in which both parents cannot work from home.

If one parent is home, they need to keep their children at home.

'Vulnerable children' may also be sent, which is classed as children known to the Child Safety Department or Youth Justice Department.

Asked about concerns some children would struggle to learn from home, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk today said she knew it would be tough "but these are unprecedented times" and the government had come up with a "sensible and logical solution".

Premier and Minister for Trade The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk holds a daily briefing about coronavirus in Queensland, Brisbane. Picture: AAP/David Clark
Premier and Minister for Trade The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk holds a daily briefing about coronavirus in Queensland, Brisbane. Picture: AAP/David Clark

"The children of essential workers and those vulnerable students, the schools will be open for them," she told the ABC.

"The teachers will be at school and they will be also delivering their online learning to the students that are at home.

"We don't know how long this is going to take place for.

"We have said we are going to review it on the 15th of May for a decision on the 25th of May, so basically half way through Term 2, just to see how things are travelling and to see what other measures we can put in place."

Opposition's education spokesman Jarrod Bleijie said the health advice was that schools could open, and the government should be focusing on making this possible rather than transforming them into a "babysitting service".

 

Queensland LNP Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Glenn Hunt
Queensland LNP Member for Kawana Jarrod Bleijie speaks during Question Time at Parliament House in Brisbane. Picture: AAP/Glenn Hunt

"Queensland's education results were heading in the wrong direction before coronavirus hit us, so the damage to our children's future cannot be dismissed.

"We need clarity from the State Government, not a confused situation with some kids going to school and others being encouraged to stay home."

Originally published as 'It will leave kids behind': Calls to rethink school plan


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