Media release: Government must act on schools: sibling policy cruel to kids
Brothers and sisters are suffering as a result of poor government planning, with siblings forced into different schools because of a failure to plan for growth. The Inner West has experienced an unprecedented baby boom in recent years and despite an urgent need for long-term planning, the government is still failing to act.
Greens MP Jamie Parker has lodged a petition in the NSW Parliament with almost 1,000 signatures gathered by local parents including Catherine Sengupta (pictured with daughters 6-year-old Lily and 4-year-old Ava).
Mr Parker said:
“With a projected increase of over 1000 students over the next 5 years in my electorate, the State government must act urgently to address boundary issues and create a more family friendly sibling policy.
“It is cruel to tell kids that their brother or sister can’t attend the same school because the government has failed to plan for growth.
“The current sibling policy is not family friendly – it assumes that there is a parent at home who can do more than one school drop off. This is 1950s thinking and the government should not be making life harder for mums and dads who need to work.
“We need to ensure that brothers and sisters can attend the same school as part of a broader plan to support working parents and create a caring, connected community.
“I am working with local schools regarding current and projected enrolments and have heard alarming stories such as children not being allowed to play tag because of overcrowding in the playground.
“This is due to poor planning by both the former Labor government and the Liberal Coalition and it is not fair that children are the ones who will suffer.
“I’ve repeatedly asked questions of the Minister and met with his office and representatives from the Department of Education to highlight the urgency of this issue.
“Despite assurances from the Department that planning for growth was well underway, it wasn’t until I called a meeting of P&Cs that the Department finally wrote a letter to principals advising that the planning process was finally underway.
“It’s unfair that families and communities are paying the price for the government’s poor planning – this problem will only get worse, with more siblings being split across schools, disconnecting families and creating disjointed communities.”