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
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?

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.

https://www.actparents.org.au/index.php/news1/media-releases/item/445-parents-preparing-for-term-2

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
http://chng.it/zfpXj4yZmW

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

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