Private school parents plead for COVID-19 financial help
Parents are flooding some of the state's richest private schools with financial hardship requests after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted mass job losses.
It comes as experts warn the already overcrowded public schools are ill prepared to handle an exodus of students from the private system if parents can no longer afford to pay.
Barker College headmaster Phillip Heath said he had already received a number of requests in relation to fees at the up to $33,000 a year school.
"Barker College's School Council met on the weekend to consider planning for the remainder of the year," he told The Daily Telegraph.
"Parents who are experiencing financial challenges in the light of the current COVID-19 crisis have been encouraged to be in contact with us so that we can support them."
Similarly, a spokesman for the $38,000 a year The King's School in North Parramatta said a number of families had inquired after it told parents it would start a register for families impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
"We are very keen to ensure that no student will have to leave the School during this time of uncertainty," he said.
Across town in the city's eastern suburbs Cranbrook School in Bellevue Hill has also received a number of hardship inquiries from COVID-19 economically affected parents, Headmaster Nicholas Sampson told The Daily Telegraph.
"It is still early days and the complete or long-term impact is, for many families, not yet known," he said.
"As always though we are working closely with families individually to understand their concerns and pressures and will continue to assist them as we are able during this time."
Trinity Grammar School headmaster Timothy Bowden said too had already been approached by a small number of parents.
"The School is always responsive to parents in changed circumstances and seeks to find a way forward on a case-by-case basis," he said.
Centre for Independent Studies education research fellow Glenn Fahey warned that overcrowded public schools would not be prepared to deal with an influx of students from the private system.
"There is a very real risk the public system is overwhelmed," he said.
"We're talking about a government school system which has been notoriously slow on responsiveness and if we're talking here about taking on a bunch of new enrolments."
He said if students did change schools it would also be tricky for teachers to assess where each new student was at once normal classes resumed.
"It is going to be very hard where students are at in their learning," he said.
Originally published as Private school parents plead for COVID-19 financial help