Government no longer pursuing schools policy

PARENTS will still be able to decide where to send their children to school next year after the state government last night announced it would no longer pursue the out-of-home-area policy.

Education Minister Brian Wightman said the policy, which included guidelines and maps to restrict children bypassing their local school, was causing unnecessary uncertainty for families and it was no longer a priority for the government.

"We should be focusing on giving children the best education possible, not causing undue concerns as to which school they can access," he said.

"We should be concentrating on getting positive educational outcomes for our kids, not causing uncertainty for families over schools on maps."

The out-of-home-area policy was announced by former education minister Nick McKim in 2012 as the next step in the ongoing schools viability issue.

The policy included revised out-of-home-area guidelines and maps to restrict children bypassing their local school to attend a school in another area.

It also meant parents wanting to enrol their child at an out-of- area school would first have to seek the permission of their local principal and then the principal of their preferred school.

Tasmanian State School Parents and Friends president Jenny Eddington said she was happy the government decided not to introduce the policy.

She said the majority of parents were against it, with many stating work and childcare would become issues if they had no choice on where they sent their children to school.

"Fine-tuning of boundaries will still need to happen, especially due to school closures and mergers," she said.

"But this will be good news for the majority of our kids and parents."

Mrs Eddington said she would still encourage people to look at their local school first, and if a school was full, students in the area would get first preference.

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