Multi-million package to support school camp providers - Education Matters Magazine
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Multi-million package to support school camp providers

Western Australian Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery has announced a $3.5 million assistance package for school camp providers directly impacted by the introduction of additional health measures.

School camps are to be postponed or cancelled under the high caseload settings introduced on the advice of the Chief Health Officer on Tuesday, February 8, to keep schools and childcare settings operating safely.

The financial support announcement, following a constructive meeting with industry leaders about the issue, will be provided to third-party camp providers who have experienced financial loss as a result of cancellations of school camps from public, private and independent schools.

Under the new State Government package, school camp providers will be eligible for a grant if they have experienced:

  • Late cancellations in weeks 2 to 4 of Term 1, 2022 (February 7 to February 27) with the full amount of fees due or payable to the camp operator;
  • Cancellations in weeks 5 to 7 of Term 1, 2022 (February 28 to March 20) with 70 per cent payment of fees due or payable to the camp operator; or
  • Cancellations in weeks 8 to 10 of Term 1, 2022 (March 21 to April 8) with 50 per cent of fees due or payable to the camp operator.

Camp operators will be provided with 50 per cent of fees if State Government measures require camps to be cancelled or postponed beyond Term 1, provided eight weeks of notice is given.

The tiered approach to payments recognises that operators who face cancellations later in the term would have had time to adjust expenditure for camps, including not purchasing supplies for the relevant camp.

Eligible providers are expected to retain and pay staff on a pro-rata basis in proportion to the payment thresholds above. This is intended to enable camps to run effectively with trained staff as soon as public health measures allow. They can submit an application for assistance to the Department of Education, which will administer the grants package.

The same eligibility criteria are applicable for third-party camp providers to non-government schools. Non-government schools will not be reimbursed where the camp is owned and operated by the school or associated body.

Recognising the value of camp experiences for education outcomes, skills building and student wellbeing, a $500,000 incentive fund has been made available to provide opportunities for public school students to participate in alternative arrangements, including day trips and incursions.

“As we deal with Omicron, we are following the health advice and working to strike a practical balance between keeping schools safe and ensuring students can have as normal a school experience as possible,” Ellery said.

“We have listened to their feedback and this package will offer support to sustain the camp industry, so businesses can survive, trained camp workers can remain employed and camps will be ready for students as soon as public health measures allow.”

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