Opposition Leader and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington

April 14, 2020

Parents who wish to send their children back to school when Term 2 starts next week should be able to do so, LNP Leader and Member for Nanango Deb Frecklington said on Tuesday.

On Monday, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced that Queensland school students would be learning at home for the first five weeks of Term 2, with schools only open for the children of essential workers.

From April 20 until at least May 22, all students who are able to be supervised and learn from home are to stay at home, except for vulnerable students and children of essential workers.

The Premier said this was “another very difficult decision” but it was the right one for Queensland while continuing to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“This decision provides mums and dads with the clarity they need ahead of the new school term,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“It also gives certainty for our hard-working teachers who will be continuing to deliver lessons in a way they might never have imagined.”

However, Mrs Frecklington said she feared many thousands of Queensland children could be left behind because of the State Government’s “confusing message on education”.

“Parents and teachers are confused and concerned,” Mrs Frecklington said.

“We need to have clarity from the State Government.

“Having schools open for some children but not others runs the risk of creating a two-tier education system that will leave some kids behind.

“I’m especially worried about children being left in homes where they may not receive any home schooling at all for the next five weeks.

“And let’s remember that many families don’t have access to laptops, printers, digital devices or sufficient internet connections.

“If parents can teach their children at home and are able to do so they can choose to. But parents who want to send their kids to school should have that choice.

“Both parents and teachers need clarity on these issues urgently.”

LNP Shadow Education Minister Jarrod Bleijie said the State Government needed to revise its advice to parents, teachers and principals this week.

“The health advice is that schools can open and making sure that can happen should be the government’s focus,” Mr Bleijie said.

“Queensland’s education results were heading in the wrong direction before coronavirus hit us, so the damage to our children’s future cannot be dismissed.

“We need clarity from the State Government, not a confused situation with some kids going to school and others being encouraged to stay home.

“If parents want to send their kids to school they should be encouraged to do so.

“Schools aren’t a babysitting service, they are places for our kids to learn and get a world-class education and that should continue.”

[UPDATED]

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