Principal says student work too much
By SAM BENGERsamb@gladstoneobserver.com.au
GLADSTONE high school students are working up to 35 hours per week in their part-time jobs, putting money ahead of grades, according to local principals.
Toolooa State High School principal Roger Atkins said girls in particular were working too many hours, putting short-term monetary gains ahead of their long-term prospects.
"We believe that the results of many of our Year 12 students could have been significantly improved with more focus on their studies and less on their part-time work,'' Mr Atkins said.
Year 12 student Stephanie West said she worked anywhere between 20 and 37 hours a week at her two casual jobs but was able to balance it with school work.
"I love working ... it can affect school work but I make sure that I do my homework and I'm still passing everything,'' she said.
Stephanie said she worked during the week and on weekends, sometimes not finishing work until 10.30 or 11pm.
"If they offered me an extra shift on the weekend then I'd do it, but other than that school comes first,'' she said.
Stephanie said she sometimes took time off work during exams, but enjoyed the social interaction of going to work.
"I love it mainly because I get to meet new people and communicate with different people,'' she said.
Mr Atkins said that while casual jobs could teach students responsibility and give them independence, they needed to realise that education was an investment and would provide significant long-term advantages.
He also expressed concern for the safety of students who were forced to close-up at work.
"At some stage it might be worth us sitting down with some of the major retailers to work out a set of standards or guidelines to follow ? some already have excellent practices but some young people are also being asked to lock up alone at a very late hour and even being asked to take the day's takings home with them, a practice we regard with a great deal of concern,'' Mr Atkins said.
Year 12 student Renee Vettridge said she worked up to 10 hours each week at her casual job, and found it beneficial to earn her own money.
"It's good because where I work you fill out your availability and you get to choose when you can work,'' she said.
Renee said she did not feel pressure to work extra hours and found her place of work "easy going''.
"I think part-time work teaches you responsibility but you have to still balance it with school work and deal with both situations at once,'' she said.