Confusion reigns over the Andrews government’s stance on the anti-homophobia program Safe Schools, which they promised to implement in every Victorian state high school.
While a spokesman for Education Minister James Merlino repeatedly told The Age it was no longer mandatory for state high schools to sign up to the program, the government issued a correction to its own advice on Monday evening, saying that it was still compulsory for all state schools to sign up for Safe Schools by the end of 2018.
Just hours earlier, the government was advising that while all state high schools would have access to the program, it would not be forced on them.
“The program is not mandatory but strongly encouraged by the government,” said a spokesman for the education minister.
“The commitment was to enable all government secondary schools to implement the program but at the end of the day it’s their decision to make – in consultation with their school communities.”
He changed his tune later, saying that signing up was compulsory but “it’s up to (schools) to decide with their communities what resources they use.”
The Andrews government said in February last year that the program “will be implemented at every Victorian government secondary school”.
It confirmed in budget papers that an extra $1.04 million would be given to Safe Schools Coalition Victoria to “expand its program into every Victorian government secondary school”.
In Victoria, the Safe Schools Coalition is working with half of the state’s 320 government secondary schools.
Something tells me that Victorian private schools are going to see a surge in business.