Kids at remote Queensland areas are being blocked from alteranitive schools in town when their parents travel, it has been claimed. Photo: iStock
Kids at remote Queensland areas are being blocked from alteranitive schools in town when their parents travel, it has been claimed. Photo: iStock

Kids left in the cold by classroom block

KIDS from Queensland's most remote corners are being blocked from attending local schools when their parents are forced to travel to bigger towns, resulting in weeks out of the classroom each year.

The North West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils has slammed "endless red tape" for stopping kids being able to attend alternative schools when families travel beyond their remote locations for matters including medical treatment, work meetings or business.

Chief executive Clare Keenan said kids were missing out on as long as four weeks of school at a time due to the "bureaucratic hoops" involved in getting kids into another classroom on a short-term basis.

She said in their local communities as many as 50 families would be affected, with the numbers rising into the hundreds across the state.

"Parents can't leave their children with strangers, and it can be two days of travel alone to get to where they need to be - often they have no choice but to take their kids with them," Ms Keenan said.

"Educating our children is a tough enough job in remote areas as it is, without bureaucratic madness compounding the issue."

Representatives from the North West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils met with Education Minister Grace Grace this week. Photo: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt
Representatives from the North West Queensland Regional Organisation of Councils met with Education Minister Grace Grace this week. Photo: AAP Image/Glenn Hunt

Ms Keenan said a lack of policy meant families were at the whim of school principals to accept their kids on a short-term basis, and were often given contradictory information.

She said there was a clear disconnect between the reality for families and the government's Every Day Counts initiative, which advocates for school attendance and cites there being a clear link between missing days of school and student performance.

"There is no clear policy on this, it is left up to schools and a lot of the time they just outright refuse," she said.

"Our education should be student-centric, not school-centric, and what we're seeing in a lot of cases is an outcome where a child's education is negatively impacted because they can't attend school for a short time because of extenuating circumstances."

NWQROC representatives met with Education Minister Grace Grace on Wednesday to plead their case for a system overhaul.

Burke Shire Mayor Ernie Camp said remote families were being "failed by schools" that won't open their doors when students need a short-term learning environment.