Outcry Over Forest Lake School’s $9k Holiday Fee for Students

St John's Anglican College in Forest Lake
Photo Credit: Mark Guo/Google Maps

St John’s Anglican College in Forest Lake has been scrutinised for its policy of charging fees that can go as high as $9,000 if parents choose to take their children on holiday during the school term. 

This policy has sparked widespread debate about the balance between the value of traditional education and the experiential learning gained through travel.

Controversial Charges

Reports cited that parents could be paying the full term’s tuition fees as a penalty for taking their children out of school for holidays. This “beyond the control of” test exempts families only in cases of illness, natural disasters, death or illness in the immediate family, or participation in elite sports competitions. 

St John’s Anglican College has attracted criticism for not considering family holidays or financial difficulties as valid reasons for exemption, leading to accusations of unreasonableness.

Public Outcry

The community’s response has been one of shock and dismay. Outraged parents have voiced their concerns by emailing the school and expressing that the additional fee is unjust, especially considering the already significant costs associated with attending the private institution.

Tower Ad

Public figures and parenting experts have joined the chorus, including “Today Extra” host David Campbell and parenting expert Dr Justin Coulson. They stressed the importance of educational travel and urged the school to reconsider its position.

The School’s Stance

St John's Anglican College in Forest Lake
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Despite the uproar, St John’s Anglican College has remained tight-lipped, offering no comment on the matter when approached for a response. The school’s policy letter highlighted the need to secure funding grants essential to the school’s budget, indicating that these measures are taken to avoid financial shortfall caused by reduced student attendance.

The financial burden placed on families by this policy is significant. Depending on the term and duration of the holiday, the fees can range from $1,830 to $9,200, in addition to the annual tuition fees, which already stretch from $8,250 to $14,172. 

Education & Learning

This has led to a broader discussion about the accessibility and affordability of private education and whether schools should have the authority to levy such penalties on families seeking to enrich their children’s education through travel.

Supporters say consistent attendance is important for academic success, while critics value real-world experiences.

Published 20-March-2023