Zone ‘divides families’

MAITLAND Grossman High families who live outside the catchment zone have asked the NSW Ombudsman to intervene in their bid to have their younger children educated at the school.

Renae Armitage said the Department of Education was “dividing families”, after it told 22 year six children expecting to join their siblings at theschool next year there was no room.

“We’re in week six of a 10 week term and time is of the essence,” she said.

“These 22 siblings would be about1.5 per cent of the school and many are the last in their family.

“We’re asking for the department to phase in the policy to [solely] in-zone enrolments.”

A spokesman for the Department of Education said that schools couldconsider out-of-zone enrolments if they hadspare permanent classroom space once local students were enrolled.

“Local enrolments to Maitland Grossmann High School have grown to the point where out-of-zone enrolments need to be reduced to ensure places continue to be available for local students.”

Out of1315 students, 552 are from out-of-zone.

The Armitages, from Brandy Hill, had planned for theirsons in year 10 and year eight at the school to be joined bytheir year six daughterJasmine and their year four son.

The spokesmansaid Maitland Grossman parents were advised last year “of theneed for change, due to rapid local population growth”.

Mrs Armitage said she received a letter on May 18 that said the school could only guarantee places for children who lived in zone, but notedJasmine’s siblings were enrolled and said she was on a waiting list.

Mrs Armitage later received an invitation to attend an orientation and information evening.

But on September 1 she was told Jasmine had not received aplace.

Mrs Armitage said families have written to the NSW Ombudsman in an eleventh-hour plea.

“It’s not black and white, this is a grey area,” Mrs Armitage said. “We haven’t enrolled our children elsewhere because we still have a glimmer of hope.”

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