Parents say the Vocational Educational Training Wednesday scrapping is punishing the whole cohort for the actions of a few truants.
Parents say the Vocational Educational Training Wednesday scrapping is punishing the whole cohort for the actions of a few truants.

Anger as high school scraps four-day school week

ANGRY Maleny High students and parents have signed a petition against the school's plans to scrap its weekly Vocational Education Training Wednesday from next year.

The petition was started by Year 11 student Ruby Angell after the acting head of school, Deborah Stewart, advised in a newsletter she was considering a five-day week.

Already the petition has 424 signatures, many from past pupils who spoke of the benefits of the day off from school each week.

Ms Angell said her daughter planned to present the petition to Ms Stewart today. But it may be too late, with the Education Department saying late yesterday the change would be adopted from the start of the 2016 school year.

"The department supports Maleny State High School's decision to review its timetable for Year 11 and Year 12 students and revert to a five-day school week," a spokesman said.

Parent Scott Whitaker said for as long as anyone could remember students had been allowed to have Wednesdays off from school to do apprenticeships, study or attend part-time work.

He said Ms Stewart had advised the change was being considered because of the poor attendance rate of some students.

Ruby's mum, Caroline, said it wasn't fair all students had been punished because some were wagging school.

"My daughter works four nights a week and uses the Wednesdays to catch up on her schoolwork," she said.

"She is saving to be able to go overseas. Other people in her class use the day to start university courses or extra study and apprenticeships.

"Without this day, it will cancel those opportunities."

WHAT do you think? Should high school students be allowed one day a week to do training or work part-time?

Join our watercooler conversation today by leaving your comments below.

Megan Watson, a 2012 graduate, signed the petition saying the VET Wednesdays were a "huge benefit".

"I was able to do work experience each fortnight at the local childcare and score a useful Certificate 3 qualification I wouldn't have been able to complete otherwise without falling behind," she said.

"The other Wednesdays off were an amazing opportunity to catch up on assessment work and studying, and were a huge contributor to my high OP score when I graduated.

"To think that future students may miss out on this valuable day off is very disappointing."

Mr Whitaker said a meeting was held with parents on August 3 and only one was in favour of scrapping VET day.

The Education Department spokesman said the school had consulted with the community and the school's Parents and Citizens' Association "has endorsed the change".

Maroochydore High is the only other Coast school that has a flexible timetable to support the individual needs of students.

What you're saying on Facebook:

Steve Connor: "So kids should go to school & not learn any real work skills? Both of my kids have done or are doing school based traineeships. My eldest is in grade 12, He completed a school based traineeship which helped him buy his car & gain his drivers license.He will be a qualified person trainer & have a degree in business before the end of grade 12 & has already got an acceptance to USC to do nutrition, He also works part time for a major food retailer. My daughter is doing grade 11 & a school based traineeship in aged care. She has already started planing her first trip overseas with the idea of leaving early 2018 which her qualification will give her a much greater chance at being able to obtain work where ever she goes. Both are senior naval cadets & do weekend camps where they mentor & train junior cadets in many subjects including sailing & leadership. They are growing into adults that I am proud & honored to know. I am sure they will make a valuable contribution in what ever they decide to do with their lives. I attribute part of this to them both being able to do training outside of school but during school hours. Don't put them back to the days like it when I was at school- sitting in a classroom bored stupid (or asleep) not listening to a teacher drone on about dead kings & queens from a place on the other side of the world."

Justyne Crawford: "Smart/clever kids will always excel at school, however some kids are more hands on. My son did a school based mechanics apprenticeship for 2yrs, school holidays were spent at tafe. He then went on to get a local apprenticeship Now he is a fully trade qualified diesel mechanic and couldn't be happier smile emoticon."

Marinea Bledsoe: "I wish I had the opportunity to do some training while still in high school. Would love to see more practical courses than I had. Most of what I studied at school i barely use. would have rather learnt small motor repairs, and other practical skills if I could have."

Lesly Williams: "Only senior students."

Dorothy Ireland: "Yes! If they are not planning to go to Uni & are able to get employment in a business that might offer them an apprenticeship or work at the time they can leave school, then 1 day/week should be allowed if they."

Phil Trish Contencin: "Senior students defiantly. My son in grade 10 and 11 had the opportunity in his school to work with a builder for 2 yrs, 1 day a week. This builder then employed him after he left school. By work this 1 day week it shortened his apprenticeship by quite a bit. It also give the students a chance to see if they like the profession. Today my son is a supervisor for the company he is working for. YES."

Heather Neal: "Do they really think this is going to stop truancy? The students wagging school are going to do it anyway! My year 12 daughter has Wednesdays off and starts earlier the other days. She certainly doesn't hang at the shops, none of her friends do either. With school, work and extra curricular activities, it's a time to catch up on assessments!"

Sara Casey: "My son would benefit from a 4 day week and a school based traineeship/apprenticeship."

Peta Jones: "The VET day off for senior students is a great idea for those kids who actually want to work, or undertake further training etc, but for the others, its just a day off to sleep in and be a nuisance around local shops etc.... Pity you can't revoke the day for some and allow the ones who are motivated to keep the day off...."

Angela Bone: "There is also the point that that one day a week cuts the teaching hours down, eg teachers have 55hrs to complete a unit and then move on, but with a 4 day week, they only have 39hrs to teach that unit. It has been suggested here at Maleny High because kids have too much to cram into 4days per week and a lot of students are approaching the Principal with fears of failing and completing work in time."

Nick Allison: "When I was in senior year (year 11-12) I'd only do a 4 day week, but on a Tuesday I'd do my school based apprenticeship. Its not like students are getting a 3 day weekend."



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