23/04/2020 - 15:56

Private schools should offer fee relief: McGowan

23/04/2020 - 15:56

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Mark McGowan says parents are within their rights to ask for reduced school fees if their children aren't being taught in person, after numerous private and independent school bodies said in recent days that they would not resume face-to-face learning as normal in term two.

Private schools should offer fee relief: McGowan
All public schools will resume face-to-face learning in term two

Mark McGowan says parents are within their rights to ask for reduced school fees if their children aren't being taught in person, after numerous private and independent school bodies said in recent days that they would not resume face-to-face learning as normal in term two.

The state government announced last week that public schools will embark on a soft reopening in term two, incorporating new cleaning guidelines and social distancing policies as support.

Religious and independent schools were expected to follow that guidance, however, bodies such as Catholic Education WA have in recent days said students from kindergarten through to year 10 will continue to receive distance learning packages, regardless of whether they are at school or not.

Asked by a reporter whether private schools should follow state government’s guidance for public schools, Mr McGowan said parents should take the issue to independent schools directly, saying that if schools would not provide face-to-face learning, parents were entitled to a reduction in school fees.

“I think parents would be within their rights to ask for a reduction in fees,” the premier said.

“If there’s not going to be face to face teaching, that is contrary to the health advice provided by the most senior health advisers in the nation.

“Our school systems need to look at providing some financial support back to parents if their kids aren’t going to be taught in the way they should be.

“Parents should be able to call the schools and ask for a discount; I think that’s entirely reasonable.”

Mr McGowan said although he understood teachers were nervous and concerned for their wellbeing, the risk of transmitting or becoming infected with COVID-19 in class was low.

“We’ve issued the guidelines, and they’re based on very, very clear advice from the chief medical officer of Australia,” he said.

“That is indeed the same advice that the national health advisory body has put in place, that schools are safe.”

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