School hub chaos as after hours care arrangements fall through

Ian Bushnell 1 May 2020 89
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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89 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.

Denise Bourke Denise Bourke 3:52 pm 29 Apr 20

neighbours kid struggling ... can't type ... ESL ...too many barriers to learning

Bee Mch Bee Mch 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

Liu Rui Liu Rui 7:33 pm 28 Apr 20

If you open a door to please some grumpy people, they will actually continue to find other things to be grumpy about.

    Tania Carnegie Tania Carnegie 8:15 pm 28 Apr 20

    Liu Rui I'm not sure the grumpy people realise just how much more grumpier they would be if that door is open too soon and we have a major public health emergency on our hands.

    Liu Rui Liu Rui 8:18 pm 28 Apr 20

    Tania Carnegie Then they surely continue to be even more justifiably grumpier that the schools and teachers didn’t do enough to protect their kids.

    Tracey Stevenson Tracey Stevenson 8:49 pm 28 Apr 20

    Liu Rui I think that you are being so Nasty!! Some of us don’t have a choice but to go to work. And if you both think that making fun of the mums and carers that have no choice and have had No communication about all of this.

    Charika Herath Charika Herath 9:08 pm 28 Apr 20

    Well said Tracey Stevenson..

    Tracey Stevenson Tracey Stevenson 9:15 pm 28 Apr 20

    Liu Rui not grump

    And not ungrateful

    Tday was extreamly stressful for everyone. And no one had answers I had crying children. I’m not ungrateful or am I grumpy just need to know who is looking after my babies! And if you think that it’s acceptable to call or judge stressed out parents helpers or any one, it’s not acceptable! No one should be putting any one down. We have a lot of stressed parents tday who received no information and were trying to be brave for there small ones. We need to help each other out. Not be nasty in this aweful time we’re ALL goingbthrew

    Sarah Samuels Sarah Samuels 9:52 pm 28 Apr 20

    Spoken like someone who doesn't have the weight of being a single parent trying to continue paying the

    Bills and put food on the table while also wanting their children to get an education and be cared for. And that's just my scenario. Honestly, open your mind to what the whingers are going through right now.

    Liu Rui Liu Rui 10:02 pm 28 Apr 20

    Sarah Samuels Are you even one of those that the post is talking about here? You don’t have to put yourself in their shoes. 🤷‍♂️

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

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

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.

    Josh Fotheringham Josh Fotheringham 7:03 pm 28 Apr 20

    Thanks for the heads up

    Jay Fotheringham Jay Fotheringham 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

    Jay Fotheringham Jay Fotheringham 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 Hardy Jess Hardy 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.

Sarah Dibley Sarah Dibley 6:44 pm 28 Apr 20

It was a "fail" long before the first day of term 2.

Kay Jones Kay Jones 6:41 pm 28 Apr 20

How distressing for the families

Jane Hills Jandi Jane Hills Jandi 6:39 pm 28 Apr 20

The actual needs of families have been an afterthought with the focus being on the ACT Government pursuing an online program at all costs to meet their own ends of favourable evaluation and back-patting. Just look at or for, their provisions for kids with extra needs.

    Michael Stachow Michael Stachow 6:44 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jane Hills Jandi well said Jane.

    Brett Fittler Brett Fittler 6:48 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jane Hills Jandi Totally agree.

    Jane Hills Jandi Jane Hills Jandi 6:54 pm 28 Apr 20

    Nice to see some support. Have been navigating the contradictions between government rhetoric and school intentions and applications for weeks now.

    Alicia Symons Alicia Symons 7:03 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jane Hills Jandi I could not agree more. Very well said. 👏🏻

    Robyn Holder Robyn Holder 7:46 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jane Hills Jandi the focus has been on keeping people safe. It was the after school care people messed up. Don't blame Education which has been working hard to make this work.

    Lauren Katelyn Lauren Katelyn 7:49 pm 28 Apr 20

    Did anyone else's mainstream child get placed in the Learning Support Unit just because they have a disability/require support?

    I found it incredibly insulting that my child was just automatically placed in a unit on the basis of disability

    Tracey Stevenson Tracey Stevenson 8:25 pm 28 Apr 20

    Robyn Holder im sorry Education department stuffed up big time tday! My children had to go to their home school tday! Weren’t aloud into the new school!!

    As paperwork was messed up. And also after school care have been fantastic!! But they have been told nothing at all!!! They are in the dark as much as us parents! Yes the education department is doing all they can, but the stress my children and I went threw tday was awful! I have to be at work other wise I would be at home with my children

    Jane Hills Jandi Jane Hills Jandi 9:20 pm 28 Apr 20

    Robyn Holder I disagree. I follow the science not the rhetoric. But each to their own.

    Jane Hills Jandi Jane Hills Jandi 9:23 pm 28 Apr 20

    Lauren Katelyn interesting because while my child needs that support I've been unable to attain it and fobbed off at every turn until today. Will see what eventuates; no guarantees.

    Lauren Katelyn Lauren Katelyn 9:34 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jane Hills Jandi just out of curiosity, is your child in the Inclusion Support Program (school receives additional funding based on SCAN points)?

    When I questioned why they made that decision I was informed that it was because they'd decided he might benefit from a smaller class (despite the non-LSU classes today having less than half the kids that his usual class does)

    Jane Hills Jandi Jane Hills Jandi 9:46 pm 28 Apr 20

    Lauren Katelyn My experience in the system over 8 years tells me the SCAN support score means nothing. It's a secretive scoring the school will maybe use for the child but most often is used to pool funding for all children, including those who don't meet the diagnostic criteria for funding. It has been my experience that those who are allocated the funding don't necessarily receive it.

    Lauren Katelyn Lauren Katelyn 9:51 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jane Hills Jandi oh I'm very aware lol. I was just wondering why you struggled to obtain LSU support for your child and 2 mainstream children at 2 different hubs were just placed in the LSU without consultation. I was wondering whether it was possibly related to points? Because the reason they gave me doesn't make sense to me at all.

    Jane Hills Jandi Jane Hills Jandi 10:00 pm 28 Apr 20

    Lauren Katelyn Nope. I was told last term there would be no option for schooling my ASD child. I have been negotiating for the past few weeks to get them to recognise he would require any supports at all. He is not Aspergers level, he is dare I say it, autistic. Please understand the "points" are pooled. They will only allocate your child resources as much as you advocate and push for them. The ACT Human Rights Commission have been on my do to list.

    Lauren Katelyn Lauren Katelyn 11:28 pm 28 Apr 20

    Jane Hills Jandi I'm unfortunately very aware of how it all works. He's actually eligible for an LSU/LSU-A placement and I turned it down because he wants to be in mainstream with his same-age peers - that's his goal and more than enough funding is now being provided to facilitate that. My concern is that he and another child (possibly more) have just been placed in the LSU class at the hub sites, despite mainstream being their usual class and what was decided as in the childrens best interests by the parents.

    I'm so sorry that you're still having to go through the fights, it's so incredibly draining :(

    Natalie Anne Hargreaves Natalie Anne Hargreaves 12:41 am 29 Apr 20

    The special needs children are being left behind, this government have not taken into regard the high needs some kids require, my child can't talk like a 12 year old let alone spell words like one. Very disappointing!!

    Kylie Tinnock Kylie Tinnock 10:25 pm 01 May 20

    Robyn Holder or the bus drivers who are also doing the best they can with limited information

Sonia Bowditch Sonia Bowditch 6:39 pm 28 Apr 20

Are they socially distancing on the shuttle buses? 🤣🤣🤣

    Liu Rui Liu Rui 7:30 pm 28 Apr 20

    Sonia Bowditch Do these parents care about *social distancing*? They just want *kids distancing* for some “me time”, the more the better.

    Cilla Ong Cilla Ong 8:43 pm 28 Apr 20

    Liu Rui that’s a VERY broad assumption. Would you stand by this assumption and be confident enough to attend one of these hubs tomorrow and say that to those of us who don’t have an option and are most certainly not doing it for “me time”?

    Liu Rui Liu Rui 8:51 pm 28 Apr 20

    Cilla Ong You probably didn’t get the context of this post trail.

    Sophie Louise Sophie Louise 9:12 pm 28 Apr 20


    What about the essential medical staff, emergency services staff, truck drivers delivering groceries for shelves, supermarket staff, teachers, child care, just to name a few. Without these services our society won't function. Unfortunately not everyone can work from home.

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