School hub chaos as after hours care arrangements fall through

Ian Bushnell 1 May 2020 77
Yvette Berry

Education Minister Yvette Berry on Friday at Mawson Primary, one of the nine hub schools. Photo: Ian Bushnell.

Free shuttle buses will operate on Wednesday between the new hub schools and students’ regular schools after a day of chaos for parents who cannot keep their children home for remote learning.

Many parents have given the ACT Government’s school hubs solution a fail on the first day of Term 2 when they discovered their children did not have before and after school care as promised.

Parents whose children could not study from home, such as essential workers, were under the impression that they would be catered for at the nine hub schools announced by Education Minister Yvette Berry on Friday, with out of school hours care provided by community sector groups.

Unfortunately, compliance issues meant some parents were told their children would need to go back to their original school’s after-hours program at 3:00 pm.

”Sure I’m going to leave work at 2:30 pick up the kids, drop them to after school care, then go back to work. What sort of nonsense is that?” one parent posted on the ACT Schools Facebook page, which displayed a host of incredulous comments.

”Please review and open all schools for those who have kids needing to attend – parents transferring kids from one school back to afters at their original school is silly,” another parent commented.

Some parents were told that buses would be made available to transport children but one said her after school care provider knew nothing about it.

President of the ACT Council of P&C Associations Kirsty McGovern-Hooley said this situation was untenable and the hub model would fail if it wasn’t rectified.

“Parents expected this week to be difficult, with kids going to an unfamiliar school site with unfamiliar staff, but without after school care services at these sites, it’s more than difficult – it’s untenable. Some families are left stranded by this. Some parents have not been able to turn up for work today – missing shifts,” she said.

“Parents in essential services cannot stop work at 3:00 pm and drive kids from their hub site to their usual school for after school care. And some local afters services had planned to be closed.”

The issue emerged over the weekend when parents were sent an email saying that after school care would not be provided for children using those hub schools unless they were already a client of the provider operating there.

Ms McGovern-Hooley said she understood it was a very complex area, with many providers, duty-of-care considerations and Federal funding impacts.

”But families using these sites need a solution. Without a workable after school care solution, hub schools will fail the families who need them,” she said.

The proposed solution appears to be the use of shuttle buses to ferry children between their regular school and the hub school every morning and afternoon so they can be cared for but only if the out of school hours care provider is still operating a service at the regular school.

An Education Directorate spokesperson said parents were asked to complete an online registration form for transport services when they attended their hub school for the first time this morning.

Families can register for these transport services at any time by contacting the Education Directorate.

The spokesperson said the Directorate had been working with providers and the Federal Government to overcome regulatory and funding restrictions to use current out of hours care places and open up new places in the hubs.

”This has required a range of solutions depending on family circumstances,” the spokesperson said.

Families with an existing enrolment with the out of school hours care provider at a hub school can attend as per normal.

Parents with students enrolled with an out of school hours care provider at their usual school, which is the same provider at the hub, can contact their provider and ask for enrolment to be transferred to the hub site.

Families can also continue using their current provider at their regular school, if they are operating, and use the shuttle buses.

”For safety and care reasons, parents need to register their children for shuttle bus services. This will allow us to make sure children are safely transferred onto bus services at the start and end of each day,” the spokesperson said.

Ninety-seven per cent of ACT public school students began Term 2 at home, with no significant issues reported, the spokesperson said.

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77 Responses to School hub chaos as after hours care arrangements fall through
Archie Mac Archie Mac 10:33 am 02 May 20

Send the kids back to school

Lee Davis Lee Davis 10:12 pm 29 Apr 20

we should be keeping our kids home until we know the long term effects of this virus... Kawasaki disease is starting to be linked to children with COVID19, for example... won't be sending my kids back to school until we have some long term data.

Frank Booth Frank Booth 3:28 pm 29 Apr 20

Unfortunately, isolation provides some people with greater keyboard access! Blame away. It solves everything.

rsm1105 rsm1105 10:05 am 29 Apr 20

If the metric you use for electing politicians is how much ‘virtue’ they signal why did you think they could arrange after school care?

It’s not like they have whole depts of people and weeks to do this.

P.s. I can report a significant issue. The online teaching is not the equivalent at school teaching.

Alana Flemming Alana Flemming 8:01 am 29 Apr 20

What is the number to call to register for this service?

Acton Acton 6:23 am 29 Apr 20

A total mess created by the incompetent ACT Education Directorate and their queer unwillingness to reopen our schools when it is safe to do so. If Canberra kids fall behind other Australian kids who are going back to school whose fault will it be?

Bee Haych Bee Haych 11:21 pm 28 Apr 20

Christine or kids aren't in school yet but some really eye opening behaviour from the act gov. We may have some tough decisions in our future...

Jen Jen Jen Jen 9:31 pm 28 Apr 20

Noone at our hub school today had any clue about registration for a shuttle bus service. Total debacle.

Renée Buchanan Renée Buchanan 8:11 pm 28 Apr 20

What a joke - so disorganised and lack of communication between all parties - education directorate should be consulting everyone in their plans in a more timely manner - so many parents put out and with high anxiety about their kids remote learning. Perhaps they should have extended the holidays to give more time to plan all this out and speak to all OOSH providers and learn all the compliance regulations that impede this mess, and the “free childcare program” that stops new enrolments

Danielle Lynch Danielle Lynch 7:29 pm 28 Apr 20

My kid got a 7 min video, a 10 minute activity and a 20 minute google classroom meeting. 37 minutes of engagement...

    Danielle Lynch Danielle Lynch 1:32 pm 29 Apr 20

    Lee - as much as I enjoy sarcasm, my point has nothing to do with my concern for her future. My concern is around the challenge of working full time from home and keeping an intelligent and active child engaged happily and independently... but cheers for your capacity to belittle and demean another person

helena helena 7:19 pm 28 Apr 20

To the president of the ACT Council of Parents and Citizens association, some questions:

– How has the association canvassed parents needs, concerns and issues (not just fellow committee members or ad hoc evidence gathering)?
– Also has the council and it’s members made it clear to all parents that a statement was put out on Friday (April 24th) on it’s website seeking feedback and input from parents through their schools P and C Committees? And what way has this been communicated to parents and citizens.
– And why is it only now, 5 weeks after schools going pupil free, that this press release was made?
– Finally, why has it only been now that serious questions are raised of the hub delivery model? And indeed why is it only the ACT which needs such a model?

Many families with young children, including myself, do not find the use of a hub site model suitable, and would rather have their own school sites open for students that need it, like every other state.

Marilyn Roberts Marilyn Roberts 7:16 pm 28 Apr 20

Just let the children go back to the school for heavens sake. Parents have had enough. You are getting left behind

helena helena 7:12 pm 28 Apr 20

The ACT is the only state to close it’s schools and offer ‘hub sites and campuses’. Why? Minister please demonstrate, with evidence, how this approach supports best quality education and equality and support for our children, families and essential workers.

Many families with young children do not find the use of a hub site model suitable, and indeed why is the ACT the only state to add further stress to children and families.

A petition has been started calling for a review of the whole Term 2 online remote learning model in the ACT that is based on evidence and parent, carer and student consultation.

Petition Link

The petition calls for:
1. Regular review – online remote learning to be reviewed regularly (fortnightly) supported by evidence that is communicated clearly and promptly to families (I.e., with set dates allowing for everybody to plan and prepare).

2. Appropriate process of consultation with families

3. Consideration of diversity of family needs when developing remote learning models whilst they are in place (I.e., one example, hub sites are not an appropriate option for many working families with young children

Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 7:06 pm 28 Apr 20

But we gave them Chromebooks!

    Jodie Robinson Jodie Robinson 7:16 pm 28 Apr 20

    Daniel chromebooks and internet, hah! Didn't work for us this morning due to the overwhelming use of all students logging on for roll call this morning - 20 mins just to log into classrooms, I haven't seen such slow loading since the late 90s!

    Daniel Oyston Daniel Oyston 7:25 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jodie Robinson but, “... with no significant issues reported, the spokesperson said.” 🙄🤔

Jenny Gleeson Jenny Gleeson 7:02 pm 28 Apr 20

Home learning for high school students only 2 hours per day ??? not happy 😡

    Ruth Bradley Ruth Bradley 7:12 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jenny Gleeson my sons school is all day. 9-3

    Jenny Gleeson Jenny Gleeson 7:13 pm 28 Apr 20

    Ruth Bradley ours confirmed today 10 - 12pm.. no timetable no structure. not acceptable.

    Ruth Bradley Ruth Bradley 7:14 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jenny Gleeson private or public

    Jenny Gleeson Jenny Gleeson 7:16 pm 28 Apr 20

    Ruth Bradley public..

    Ruth Bradley Ruth Bradley 7:17 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jenny Gleeson I’m surprised.

    Jenny Gleeson Jenny Gleeson 7:17 pm 28 Apr 20

    Ruth Bradley me too !!

    Christie Horsfield Christie Horsfield 8:11 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jenny Gleeson - wow

    Canberra High have a full day timetable

    Jenny Gleeson Jenny Gleeson 8:16 pm 28 Apr 20

    Christie Horsfield not ours....

    Tania Carnegie Tania Carnegie 8:17 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jenny Gleeson perhaps you need to provide your feedback to your individual school. Not all schools are the same.

    Jenny Gleeson Jenny Gleeson 8:20 pm 28 Apr 20

    have already!!

Laura Tmo Bond Laura Tmo Bond 7:02 pm 28 Apr 20

Josh Jay. As my kids are at Amaroo on Thursday I'm going to call and see if I can book my kids on this new bus service thing.

    Joshua Casey Joshua Casey 7:03 pm 28 Apr 20

    Thanks for the heads up

    Jaylee Herbert Jaylee Herbert 7:04 pm 28 Apr 20

    Laura Tmo Bond before school care text me today about this! I have said Monday’s and Tuesdays would be great if it can be arranged! 😃

    Laura Tmo Bond Laura Tmo Bond 7:18 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jay Fotheringham how was Tyler after his first day

    Jaylee Herbert Jaylee Herbert 7:28 pm 28 Apr 20

    Laura Tmo Bond He said he had a great day and said he knew a few kids there too!

Kim Fischer Kim Fischer 6:55 pm 28 Apr 20

How man active cases in the ACT?

    Kim Fischer Kim Fischer 8:24 pm 28 Apr 20

    2 out of 410,000. Look who is running Canberra. Australian Education Union ACT

    Tania Carnegie Tania Carnegie 5:45 am 29 Apr 20

    Kim Fischer once upon a time there were 2 cases in Wuhan....

    Therein lies the problem. ACT has done an awesome job to get down to 2 confirmed cases that are self isolating. It doesn’t take much to open Pandora’s box though - it’s prudent to be cautious at the moment.

    Kim Fischer Kim Fischer 7:57 am 29 Apr 20

    It's prudent to have controls, regulation and a plan. This situation may last over a year.

    Kim Fischer Kim Fischer 1:23 pm 29 Apr 20

    We may not stamp out this virus this year. Australia has less than 300 active cases out of 26 million people.

    If we are all in it together than we should find a workable way to get through it together rather than closing everything down and hoping it will pass by end of May.

Jess Ha Jess Ha 6:49 pm 28 Apr 20

The whole process is a joke not one thought for essential workers.

Julie Gnjec Julie Gnjec 6:48 pm 28 Apr 20

It was a complete mess at the hub my children attended. NOONE mentioned registering for the Shuttle bus, so I will be late for work again and need to leave early until I sort it out. I never received an email saying I needed to register for transport (I've thoroughly chevked). Not good enough!

    Ellie Marks Ellie Marks 7:59 pm 28 Apr 20

    Julie Gnjec this was an addition to emails sent from yesterday. We got it in ours but our family didn’t who registered and got emails last week.

    Julie Gnjec Julie Gnjec 8:10 pm 28 Apr 20

    Ellie Marks Yep, I never received it. I checked many times. I responded to the confirmation for accessing the Supervised site but did not receive the transport email.

    Ellie Marks Ellie Marks 8:23 pm 28 Apr 20

    Julie Gnjec that’s what I mean. It wasn’t in the emails last week. It literally started in the emails sent last night. But if you call them you can register your kids.

    Julie Gnjec Julie Gnjec 8:25 pm 28 Apr 20

    Ellie Marks Sorry, I misunderstood you last comment. I called the Shuttle providers and they said, if child "registered" they can access. But I should have asked, registered to attend the Hub site OR registered to access the transport via the online form at the Hub site this morning (That was never mentioned or provided to us)🤦‍♀️🤷‍♀️ so confusing. Will call again in the morning

    Ellie Marks Ellie Marks 8:26 pm 28 Apr 20

    Julie Gnjec yeah... registering for the buses was a separate thing (or so it reads in the email). It’s such a changing process all the time. It’s hard

    Julie Gnjec Julie Gnjec 8:27 pm 28 Apr 20

    Ellie Marks very hard.

    Tracey Stevenson Tracey Stevenson 8:27 pm 28 Apr 20

    Julie Gnjec we had paper work tday that said we had to register by 12 pm tday! My husband would have missed it if my co worker hadn’t mentioned it to me🤦🏻‍♀️

    Julie Gnjec Julie Gnjec 8:28 pm 28 Apr 20

    Tracey Stevenson If I've missed it, I'll be very very angry. I've already sent words to the Directorate

    Tracey Stevenson Tracey Stevenson 8:45 pm 28 Apr 20

    Julie Gnjec this is what we got tday

    Tracey Stevenson Tracey Stevenson 8:46 pm 28 Apr 20

    Good luck my friend we need all we can get!!

    Julie Gnjec Julie Gnjec 8:47 pm 28 Apr 20

    Tracey Stevenson Thank you. We have a plan for tomorrow but will see if we can organise for Week 2! We ddidnot receive this note today!😡

    Julie Gnjec Julie Gnjec 8:52 pm 28 Apr 20

    Tracey Stevenson don't engage them. They don't know your family or reasons

Charika Herath Charika Herath 6:45 pm 28 Apr 20

ACT education minister needs to listen to medical experts...

    Tania Carnegie Tania Carnegie 7:36 pm 28 Apr 20

    Charika Herath And they probably are. Some medical experts say schools are safe, some say they are clearly not. It's not to say one is right or wrong, but it does show that we clearly don't know enough about this virus.

    There is more to running a territory wide education system than 'medical advice' though - just as I wouldn't expect an 'education expert' to tell the health directorate how to run a hospital.

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