VICTORIAN public school parents should be entitled to choose where their children go to school, says Shadow Education Minister Tim Smith.
However, there are reports that the Andrews government will punish schools that accept more than half of their enrolments from outside the local area.
Mr Smith said this will result in parents being denied choice in their children’s education.
“Schools have been told that from 2019, they will not be entitled to extra portable classrooms, if more than half their students do not live locally,” he said.
“This means popular schools with excess capacity will be restricted from accepting non-local enrolments.
“So far, at least 230 schools have received a call advising they will be affected by Daniel Andrews’ and James Merlino’s punitive changes. How many other schools will be impacted?
“James Merlino needs to come clean now on which schools are on his hit list, and how many more than the 15% reported today, will be affected.”
More than half of Victorian parents chose a non-neighbourhood school, according to the 2017 Auditor General’s report.
Mr Smith said where a family chooses to live is the only factor the government considers, but for families, it is only one of many deciding factors.
“Other important factors include things like parents’ work location, siblings’ school, grandparents’ or other guardians’ residences, or school specialisations,” he said.
“For example, some schools are stronger in music, sport, or other extra-curricular activities.
“Until now, parents have been able to choose the most appropriate school for their children’s needs and the family’s convenience. Daniel Andrews and James Merlino want to strip parents and students of that choice.
“Parents and students should not be punished for choosing a school that isn’t the closest one to home.”
The Liberal Nationals believe in choice in education, particularly in the state system, which is responsible for educating 63% of Victorian students.
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