False enrolment details could lead to prosecution for parents

by The Educator06 Dec 2016
Officials in Brisbane are threatening to report parents to the police if they are found to be lying about the catchment area they live in in order to get their children into elite state schools.
 
The Department of Education has published enrolment guidelines for parents looking to send their children to prestigious state schools such as Brisbane State High. The guidelines stipulate that parents must sign a statutory declaration to provide legal evidence that their child is eligible to attend the school in question.
 
Schools also reserve the right to "independently assess, validate or investigate applications", and those found to be false will be turned over to the authorities.
 
The strict measures come as population growth in Brisbane and an increase in high-density housing increase competition for places in the best schools.
 
A statement published by Education Queensland said, "False or misleading statements or assertion about the student’s principal place of residence amount to an offence and will be reported to police."
 
A bogus application for school enrolment that uses misleading information amounts to fraud, according to Department of Education infrastructure services branch assistant director-general Kevin Mara.
 
"Schools are obliged to act on complaints or allegations of dishonesty and the department makes no apologies for ensuring application processes remain fair and transparent," he said.
 
Brisbane State High has actually repealed the enrolment of one student after it was discovered his application included false information. Brisbane State High is one of 400 state schools to introduce enrolment management plans, having reached 80 per cent of their capacity. According to Education Queensland, Brisbane State High has experienced a particularly sharp increase in demand for places.
 
"The increase in numbers has been particularly exacerbated by the number of families moving into the catchment area and also influenced by the increase in the number of multi-dwelling properties in the catchment," say the guidelines.
 
Mara added that the guidelines have been put in place to ensure students receive high-quality education at their local school. If there is spare capacity in a certain school, out-of-catchment applications are placed on a waiting list.
 

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