The federal government won’t be checking to see if private schools being handed early payments have reopened despite that being the condition for receiving the money.
Under the deal, private schools with a plan to fully reopen classrooms at the start of June have been offered one-eighth of their money – a total of almost $1.7 billion – two months early on May 21.
The same amount would be paid on June 9 if at least half their students are back in regular classroom-based learning from June 1.
“The requirement for the eligibility is that schools have a plan to reopen, so we won’t actually be checking on schools that they have students … it’s about having a plan,” Education Department official Alex Gordon told a Senate inquiry on Tuesday.
It was deemed to be a low-risk offer given schools would eventually receive the money anyway, she added.
Nearly 680 schools have put their hand up for the first payment while slightly fewer have requested the second part, the inquiry was told.
States and territories have announced staggered plans for students to return to classrooms.
Students in Victoria will be the last in the country required back at school, with all year levels expected back in classrooms from June 9.