Tassie schools apply for JobKeeper allowance

PARENTS are not the only ones struggling amid the coronavirus crisis.

Some of the state's prestigious independent schools are applying for the JobKeeper allowance to support their staff through the pandemic.

Independent Education Union Victoria and Tasmania assistant secretary David Brear understood that Hutchins, Scotch Oakburn and St Michael's Collegiate intended on making an application to participate in the scheme, with staff asked to complete the necessary forms to register.

He said independent schools were eligible to participate when they could demonstrate a reduction of 30 per cent in turnover.

"Clearly many independent schools are heavily reliant on fees paid by parents, many of whom may have lost income during this crisis," he said.

"The IEU is advising members in independent schools to complete the JobKeeper eligibility form. It's up to schools to then demonstrate that they have had the requisite fall in turnover."

Mr Brear said the union was strongly discouraging schools from standing down staff or reducing their hours during the pandemic. Some of the state's independent schools have announced they will lower their fees due to the crisis.

Hutchins advised parents on April 8 of a 25 per cent rebate for term 2 for all families. The Cottage School at Bellerive also confirmed it would reduce term 2 fees by 50 per cent.

Catholic Education Tasmania will not be reducing fees. However, executive director Gerard Gaskin said for any parents experiencing financial hardship, their child's enrolment was safe.

Catholic Education runs 38 schools and colleges in the state, including St Mary's, St Virgil's, Guilford Young, Sacred Heart and Mount Carmel.

"An inability to pay fees at this time will not compromise your child's place at our schools," he said.

"We are incurring significant expenses to manage coronavirus related issues and I am also anticipating a significant reduction in our budgeted fee income as a result of the additional support we will be providing to families at this time.

"I would appeal to families whose employment situation and income earning capacity has not been affected by COVID-19 to continue to pay school fees as this will greatly assist the school to continue to operate."

Dr Gaskin said fees would be refunded in full for any programs that could no longer be delivered. Term 2 will comprise mainly online learning, but students can go to school if their parents cannot support their learning from home.

Originally published as Tassie schools apply for JobKeeper allowance