Why sought-after schools are paying investigators to 'spy' on families

Exclusive and sought-after schools are paying investigators to follow families and photograph them as part on a crackdown on fraudulent enrolment.

A 7 News investigation has revealed that some of Brisbane’s most in-demand state schools are now spying on their own students.

The investigation revealed that Brisbane State High School had snapped photos of one target checking the mail box, while another was photographed while playing with children in the car park of a residential complex.

Some of Brisbane’s most in-demand state schools are now spying on their own students. Source: 7 News

It’s a way of covertly combating parents who lie about living arrangements to get their kids into a specific school catchment area.

Stretton State College also does some of its own detective work, subscribing to expensive real estate software to double check dodgy enrolments.

“We’d much rather spend that money on facilities and resources for students,” the school’s principal Jan Maresca said.

Brisbane State High School is one of the schools cracking down on fraudulent enrolment. Source: 7 News

Instead the school’s internal investigator can hardly cope with the increasing workload.

“We could easily have two or three [investigators], quite frankly,” Ms Maresca said.

The increasing incidence of falsifying information and parents not doing the right thing means schools are being forced to combat the “catchment con” head-on.

Parents are enrolling children at schools outside their catchment area. Source: 7 News

“If people are … telling lies, it’s basically a question of fraud,” Kevan Goodworth from P&CS Queensland said.