Dropping children at school early could soon cost parents at a state school in Logan, south of Brisbane, where students will need to attend before school care if they arrive on grounds before 8.30am.
Last week, Burrowes State School at Marsden emailed parents advising them that from term four, a before-school-care fee of at least $2.60 per child would apply each day a student was dropped off before 8.30am.
Queensland Teachers Union (QTU) president Kevin Bates said providing supervision for children before school was an issue many schools faced across Queensland.
“We certainly acknowledge that for parents it’s very challenging where they need to get to work, and obviously with many families both parents are working and childcare is an enormous issue, it’s a very costly impost on family,” Mr Bates said.
“But we need to acknowledge in a school context there’s no requirement for formal supervision to be provided prior to the start of the normal school day.
“It’s about saying, ‘We can’t provide supervision. We need to keep the children safe, and the best option if you need to drop them off early to the school is to put them into outside-school-hours care’.”
The ABC has contacted the school for comment.
Burrowes parent Cameron Dudley said the decision seemed fair and affordable.
“As long as you’re not paying more for it than you would be earning [at work] then it’s fair,” Mr Dudley said.
“It’s got to be cheap, which it already is, so you’re kind of a winner there.
“It’s safe too because your kid is going to that school already. So by having them there and someone looking after them while you go to work, it works out awesome.”
Parent Natasha Good, who does not have children at Burrowes, told ABC Brisbane’s Breakfast program she would support the move if the school her children attended introduced the same policy.
“We do use before and after-school care already – the kids love it, it’s affordable and they get fed,” Ms Good said.
Another caller, Roya Majd, also said the school’s decision was fair.
“It’s very reasonable to expect parents to pay if they want their children looked after any earlier than the time they’re supposed to go to school,” she said.
However, parent Matt Siggins said schools needed to be more flexible.
“With a massive staff roster these schools have got, you’re telling me they can’t get people there from 8am in the playground?” he said.
‘It’s the school principal’s call’
In a statement, a spokesperson for Education Queensland said a school’s principal, in consultation with the school community, was empowered to make decisions about the most appropriate safety protocols.
“From the beginning of term four, formal supervision will begin at Burrowes State School from 8.30am until classes begin at 8.50am,” the spokesperson said.
The department said students who arrived before 8.30am would be asked to assemble outside the school hall.
“The school runs multiple programs for students to take part in before school hours. These include instrumental music lessons and sports training,” the spokesperson said.
“If parents have concerns about issues at their children’s school, they are encouraged to speak directly to the principal.”