Government’s program on getting children to school is a shambles
Following the release of an evaluation report for the School Enrolment and Attendance Measure (SEAM) trial, the Gillard Government’s incompetence can now include being unable to get children to attend school, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Affairs Senator Nigel Scullion said today.
“The report shows that this trial program is an absolute shambles that has not been implemented properly,” Senator Scullion said.
“The SEAM trial report states that the work of government has resulted in only 25% of parents making an effort to improve their child’s attendance – so I can only deduce that 75% made no effort to ensure their children were in school even after being captured in the SEAM initiative.
“Clearly the government has failed to follow through on the enforcement measures including suspending welfare payments where necessary.
“Only seven parents in the Northern Territory had welfare payments suspended (for enrolment) when we know from the NT Government’s own education budget papers that attendance rates are around 32% for Indigenous primary school students attending school regularly.
“Through reading the report is appears that the government is more focused on the exchange of enrolment data between schools and Centrelink. This trial is meant to be about getting kids to go to school, not about data swapping.
“The report also talks about the potential threat of a suspension of welfare payments, not the threat of potential suspension – it seems the threat is potential, not the suspension.
“It just shows why so many parents have not taken SEAM and any potential sanctions seriously.
“This Labor Government has the reverse Midas touch - everything this government touches turn not to gold but to mush.
“We have to work with communities and schools in a partnership that support tough measures, where needed, to get kids to school to give them the best start for a good future.
“While labor focus solely on process rather than outcomes, and remain afraid to enforce sanctions or suspensions, their programs will continue to fail and the gap will never close,” Senator Scullion said.