Dodgy par­ent trap

Door­knocks nab fib­bing fam­i­lies sneak­ing into top schools

Sunday Herald Sun - - NEWS - ASH­LEY ARGOON AND SUSIE O’BRIEN

IN-DE­MAND state high schools are con­duct­ing ran­dom door­knocks and iden­ti­fi­ca­tion checks to catch par­ents ly­ing on stu­dent en­rol­ment forms.

Prin­ci­pals at some of Vic­to­ria’s top state schools have called for a strin­gent 100-point ID check to be rolled out statewide as par­ents at­tempt to dupe them over catch­ment ar­eas.

Des­per­ate fam­i­lies are cre­at­ing fake bank state­ments and other doc­u­ments, us­ing grand­par­ents’ ad­dresses and pay­ing for short-term rental prop­er­ties in de­sired zones.

Par­ents are even dob­bing each other in for break­ing the rules amid ex­treme de­mand for stu­dent en­rol­ments at the best gov­ern­ment high schools.

“We know if we didn’t do these checks as­sid­u­ously, there would be those peo­ple try­ing to mis­lead us,” Glen Waver­ley Sec­ondary Col­lege prin­ci­pal Gerry Schiller said. “What we’re try­ing to do is en­sure the peo­ple who have a right to be en­rolled are en­rolled.”

Glen Waver­ley, Brighton Sec­ondary, Ver­mont Sec­ondary and Bal­wyn High are among schools that have re­sorted to mea­sures in­clud­ing door­knocks, ID and util­ity bill checks.

Bal­wyn High re­quires fam­i­lies to sign “res­i­dency dec­la­ra­tion” forms.

Brighton Sec­ondary Col­lege prin­ci­pal Richard Mi­nack was among a hand­ful of prin­ci­pals who agreed that Vic­to­ria should fall into line with NSW, which last week con­firmed the en­force­ment of 100-point ID checks af­ter a gov­ern­ment en­rol­ment re­view.

“It would be good be­cause we do ex­pend a lot of time and ef­fort (in do­ing catch­ment checks),” Mr Min- ack said. “A lot of peo­ple fake bank state­ments and doc­u­ments — the clas­sic is a three-month rental.”

Ver­mont Sec­ondary Col­lege prin­ci­pal Tony Ja­cobs said the school asked fam­i­lies for proof of a min­i­mum 12-month rental af­ter it found par­ents were hir­ing short-term prop­er­ties.

“I’m not un­happy with the cur­rent sys­tem, but it does put the onus on to us and we have to play the role of the bad guy,” Mr Ja­cobs said.

One Bal­wyn High fam­ily who ap­plied for their child to start in year 7 in 2018 was vis­ited by an as­sis­tant princi- pal one af­ter­noon af­ter us­ing a post of­fice box rather than a street ad­dress. The fa­ther, who didn’t want to be iden­ti­fied, told the Sun­day Her­ald Sun: “He asked to see my driver’s li­cence. I wasn’t too per­turbed be­cause I had noth­ing to hide, but I was very sur­prised.”

He said as part of the ap­pli­ca­tion process, he had to pro­vide a rates no­tice, util­ity bills and a pass­port show­ing his fam­ily lived in the zone.

The De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion does not plan to re­view its en­rol­ment pol­icy.

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