Elite Brisbane school tells parents to cancel holidays
STUDENTS at a prestigious private school are being ordered to cancel their holidays amid "astronomical pressure" to prepare for the new ATAR assessment.
Incoming seniors, currently in Year 11 at St Rita's College in Brisbane, have been told to stay home and study over the two-week September break next year, sending family travel plans into chaos.
Parents have slammed the unprecedented directive, accusing the Catholic high school in Clayfield - which has 1030 students and charges $9,210 in annual fees, including levies - of "overstepping the mark".
"They (the school) are impacting family decisions and telling us how to live," said one mother, who spoke to The Courier-Mail on the condition of anonymity.
"You want to tell the school to get stuffed when they say you're not allowed to book a family holiday, but then it becomes about your child, because if they're not studying then they will only feel more stressed because of the pressure from school."
Next year's Queensland seniors will be the first to be assessed under the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank, which replaces the OP system and Queensland Core Skills Test and brings in statewide external exams for every subject in Term 4 (October 26 to November 17).
It represents the biggest overhaul of senior schooling in half a century.
"We were led to believe that the ATAR would be fairer and more streamlined," said the Bracken Ridge mother, "yet now you've got kids working harder than before?
"Kids have a breaking point, and they are already under astronomical pressure with their workload and what's expected of them. They need to have down time and that's what holidays are for.
"There's something wrong if the school can't ready kids for exams during normal school hours," she said.
Another parent said while she disagreed with the holiday ban, she was prepared to "do what it takes" to get her child through senior.
"If that's the policy, we will go with it, for our daughter's sake.
The Courier-Mail understands that parents were first told about the September holidays becoming "a study break" at ATAR information evenings in late 2018, and that teachers have been repeating the directive to students throughout this year.
When contacted yesterday, the school refused to comment.