On 21/06/2023, approximately 30 parents gathered at Kogarah High School to articulate their concerns about the current and future curriculum. Several representatives of the Parental Rights Committee of Australia (PRCA) were also present. The primary focus of our discussion was the teaching of content that could potentially conflict with the personal ethos of our students and their families, particularly in relation to the Pride agenda.
Despite a tense beginning, the conversation was productive. The school's principal clarified that the school is required to adhere to the guidelines and syllabuses provided by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA). It was made evident that the school has no authority to exclude or modify any content prescribed by NESA. The discussion accentuated that the management and control of curriculum content rest primarily with NESA, not individual schools.
The principal, however, offered some reassurance to parents by stating that a student who feels uncomfortable participating in any part of the curriculum has the right to leave the class. It's important to note that this provision applies to cases where a student feels discomfort. In situations where parents wish for their children to be removed from such sessions, a formal request must be submitted and approved by NESA.
It is worth mentioning that the school has already received over 47 letters from parents expressing their concerns about this matter. This level of parental engagement underscores the importance of the issue at hand. The PRCA continues to encourage parents to voice their concerns by sending letters not only to the school but also to NESA. This approach emphasizes the crucial role of parental input in matters concerning their children's education.
While the community meeting at Kogarah High School was a positive step towards open dialogue between parents, schools, and educational authorities, the outcomes were not fully satisfactory. The language and statements made did not lead to a fully acceptable resolution, and they highlighted the school's limited ability to tackle such issues. Although we viewed this as a positive first step, there are still many challenges to overcome. The eagerness to discuss concerns and potential solutions was unfortunately somewhat lacking.
The key takeaway from the meeting is that our efforts must be directed towards the body with decision-making power – in this case, NESA.