State high school’s excursion price causes outrage among parents
Parents with kids at a popular state high school in Melbourne’s east have been left stunned over the hefty price of an upcoming CBD excursion.
Balwyn High School is charging $130 for a year 8 day trip where students will walk around the centre of the city and learn about homelessness.
The school told parents their children would be exploring the city and doing activities like visiting the Melbourne Museum, the Big Issue workshop and a walking tour of the Melbourne CBD.
A parent has subsequently told the Herald Sun that they did not expect many children to go because of the high price.
“(I would) expect an overnight stay for that amount of money,” they said.
“I gather not many are going because they can’t see value for money.”
The school told parents that the excursion “aligns with the year level themes of ‘optimism, resilience and responsibility’ and the civics and citizenship curriculum in year 8 humanities”.
The Big Issue offers two workshops for secondary school students to teach them about homelessness.
“Led by a skilled facilitator, students are encouraged to reconsider stereotypes about homelessness and disadvantage and learn how social enterprises like The Big Issue can help resolve current social issues,” the organisation’s website said.
“Students will also have the opportunity to hear from a guest speaker who has experienced homelessness and disadvantage.”
A Department of Education and Training spokesperson said while fulfilling curriculum requirements must be done for free, schools were allowed to develop parent payment arrangements for extra-curricular activities.
“School instruction to fulfil the curriculum is free for all Victorian government school students – schools can also offer a range of extra-curricular activities and seek voluntary contributions from families, but this must be in accordance with the department’s parent payments policy,” they said.
These paid-for extra-curricular arrangements must be approved by school council, uploaded onto the school website and communicated to parents for transparency.
The DET also offers funding so all students can afford extra-curricular activities.
“The Victorian government’s $148.3m camps, sports and excursions fund makes extra-curricular activities accessible to all students, no matter their situation – and the $112m Positive Start initiative is providing even more activities to ensure all students have the opportunity to get involved in camps, sports and excursions after two disrupted years of the pandemic,” the spokesperson said.
Balwyn High has given parents the option of paying the $130 in two instalments before the excursion takes place next month.
Originally published as State high school’s excursion price causes outrage among parents
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