QTU President Kevin Bates. Photo supplied.
QTU President Kevin Bates. Photo supplied.

No school student will be disadvantaged: Union

EVERY parent who is home-schooling must read this.

Queensland Teachers Union president Kevin Bates says that no child will be behind or disadvantaged, no matter what challenges you have faced during these unprecedented times.

His reassurance, and the reasoning behind it, comes as some Central Queensland mums and dads face at least another fortnight with their children learning from home.

Many parents are also juggling "teacher" duties while performing full-time work.

"As an educator of 34 years who started his career at Biloela, can I just say that the last two weeks of learning at home, with every consideration for the fact that teachers supporting children is not the same as it would be if they were in the classroom face-to-face, and that parents have to do what they have to do as well as support their students, it will not have a direct impact on your child's education," Mr Bates said.

 

"What we're facing at the moment is, right around the world there is clear evidence of students having much longer breaks away from school as a result of natural disasters, because of war and other things, and those students rapidly pick up where they left off.

"Children are very resilient, and while we would have had it another way if we had not had COVID-19, the reality is of course, that is the world we have.

"I can reassure people in an absolute way, and there's lots of evidence to support this, that a short break such as this will not cause a problem."

Mr Bates said research released last week by the Federal Government examined breaks of three, six and 12 months and the potential impacts.

"It showed breaks have minimal impact at three months, and we're talking here (in Queensland now) about two weeks," Mr Bates said.

"So I can only offer an absolute reassurance that students have not been in any way disadvantaged by the two-week break that we've seen, the three weeks for those Prep and Year 1, 11 and 12 students who go back to school next week."

Queensland Premier ­Annastacia Palaszczuk said the government would reassess on May 15 for the rest of the grades, with the intention of sending all students back by May 25.

Mr Bates said parents facing until then with their kids at home, should not worry and he also knocked on the head talk of students having to repeat a grade next year.

"The students and teachers will work hard together to make up for that bit of lost time, and that will continue on to the end of the year and students will move on as normal next year," Mr Bates said.

"If the rest of the children do go back on May 25 that will have been five weeks, so well under the three months where you start to see a measurable impact.

"Let's be honest, when you look at Spain, Italy, the UK, they're not talking about opening schools there yet and they've been closed for close to 12 weeks.

"That's the sort of scenario where you start to get into difficult territory.

"We're not there (at this stage)."

Mr Bates said should a second wave of COVID-19 cause a spike in cases down the track, the systems put in place this time around would stand schools and educators in good stead.

"What we keep hearing from medical experts is, at some point over the rest of this year, we may well need to go back and restrict attendance at school again if there's a spike in infections," he said.

"Now whether that's on a national basis again, or whether it's on a local or regional basis, that has very real prospects.

"What we've experienced, by being able to move all students into online space, remote learning or learning from home, is we've been through all the teething issues.

"So if we have to go back to this scenario again, that can be done smoothly and with far less trauma."

READ: 'All kids should be going back to school': Costigan



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