Lisa Su, with her son Everest, can see McDowall State School from her veranda but has been outside the school’s enrolment area. (AAP/Richard Walker)
Lisa Su, with her son Everest, can see McDowall State School from her veranda but has been outside the school’s enrolment area. (AAP/Richard Walker)

Bungle: Boy unable to attend school 200m away

EDUCATION Queensland has blamed a mapping error for a woman believing her son could not attend a state school that was just 200m from their home.

Dr Lisa Su had planned to send her son to McDowall State School (MSS) so he could walk there when he was old enough, but learned her home was actually in the Everton Park State School (EPSS) catchment.

Because both schools were operating under enrolment management plans (EMP), she would have to send her child to EPSS.

McDowall State School’s catchment area boundary (in red).
McDowall State School’s catchment area boundary (in red).

Schools are required to implement an EMP when they reach 80 per cent of their enrolment capacity.

"Because we thought by walking our child to school, we would not be adding to the morning and afternoon school traffic," Dr Su said.

She contacted the Education Department and school on January 16.

The principal replied, saying Dr Su did not live in the MSS catchment.

But last week, one day after the North-West News put questions to Education Queensland, it said its online map of school catchment areas was wrong due to a "technical error".

Dr Su said a woman from the EMP told her of the error (two days after the News' questions) after they had gone to her street to review the distance to the school.

As a result they determined the boundary needed to be corrected.

The EMP representative said the school catchments were determined by driving distance to the nearest school, Dr Su said.

McDowall State School. (AAP Image/Richard Walker)
McDowall State School. (AAP Image/Richard Walker)

The school's website contained a link to that catchment area map so any parents looking to see if their children could be enrolled there were shown the incorrect boundaries.

Education Queensland has yet to respond to a question from the News about whether any other parents had made complaints, similar to Dr Su's, about the McDowall State School catchment.

The News is also waiting for Education Queensland to say if other enrolment boundaries, at McDowall and elsewhere, were also wrong, and to say where the McDowall boundary should be.

Dr Su was pleased the boundary had now been changed.

"I believe the Education Department should actually promote walking to school more actively and place this at top priority over driving to school to reduce morning and afternoon peak hour traffic," she said.

"As our child becomes older and is able to walk to the school by himself, isn't it safer for him not to have to cross a major road?"



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