Moves to abolish provisional schools, 1947-1966
In 1947, a survey by the Department of Education revealed that provisional schools had an average attendance ranging from 6 to 62. Accommodation was diverse, and included a vacant shop, church halls, local halls, verandas of private homes, an unsealed, unlined, unpainted corrugated iron building, and unlined, unsealed wooden buildings. The buildings were provided by local residents, sawmills, or other Government departments. Some buildings were rented, some were donated and some provided temporarily rent-free. Where rent was paid, a variety of sources provided this.
In 1947 the Minister expressed concern about the number of provisional schools with sub-standard accommodation and with low attendances, which aggravated the shortage of teachers at that time. Acting on instructions from the Minister, the Department refused most requests for the establishment of provisional schools. In 1950, Cabinet decided that no more provisional schools be established in Queensland but that existing provisional schools be allowed to remain open. However, State schools would be established where there was an enrolment of 12 pupils. Before, an average of 12 was expected. The Education Act of 1964 made provision only for the establishment of State schools, no reference being made in the Act to provisional schools. In 1966, the Report of the Minister for Education listed 16 provisional schools and after that year, provisional schools ceased to be listed. By 1967, all such schools had either been converted to State schools or ceased to exist.
Photograph: Cockatoo Creek Provisional School. Erected in 1954 and used by a governess until 1958 when it became a provisional school.