Dodgy parent trap
Doorknocks nab fibbing families sneaking into top schools
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.