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School admission and progression age: since 1875

Key years Typical age of admission (years) Age of compulsory attendance Typical class organization Recommended completion times for preschool or primary school (years) Explanatory notes
1875 4-5 6-12 Prep Class
Classes 1-5
Nil 1875 Act set primary school admission at not less than six years of age. A Regulation of the time indicated that no children under 5 years should be admitted to normal primary schools and no children under 4 years to infant schools which provided an extra preparatory year. An additional year (Class 6) was added in 1892.
1893 6 6-12 Classes 1-6 10 From July 1893, 'no new pupils under 6 years of age' to be admitted into any school. Preparatory classes discontinued. Classes 1 and 6 spanned 2 years each and other classes spanned 1.5 years each.
1897 5 6-12 Classes 1-6 9.5 Minimum age of entry was reduced and the recommended duration of Class 6 was reduced to 1.5 years. This pattern applied until 1930 when major syllabus revision was accompanied by changes to class structure in schools.
1907 Introduction of voluntary kindergarten schools for pre-primary children by the 'Creche and Kindergarten Association'.
1912 6-14 Compulsory attendance age raised to 14 years.
1930 4.5-5 6-14 Preparatory Grade
(Prep.1,2,3,4)
Grades 1-7
8.5 Age of admission was retained with some flexibility. A formal Preparatory Grade was introduced, followed by Grades 1-7. The Prep. Grade and Grade 1 spanned a total of two and a half years. Other Grades spanned one year each. Most children commenced the Prep. Grade in July.
1938 4.5-5 6-14 Preparatory Grade
(Prep 1,2,3,4)
Grades 1-7
9 Preparatory Grade changed to span 2 years. Most children commenced in January.
1952 4.5-5 6-14 Preparatory Grade
Grades 1-8
9 Preparatory Grade reduced to 1 year and Grade 8 introduced.
1953 Preparatory Grade abolished.
1964 5.5-6 6-15 Grades 1-7 7 Compulsory attendance age raised to 15 years.
1965 5-6 6-15 Grades 1-7 7 Year 8 moved to secondary school.
1971 5-5.5 6-15 Grades 1-7 7 Minimum age of admission changed to 5 years of age by last day in February.
1973 4-5.5 6-15 Preschool
Grades 1-7
1
7
Introduction of the State preschool system. Attendance was voluntary.
1984-1985 4 years 11 months - 5 years 11 months 6-15 Grades 1-7 7 Minimum age of admission to primary school was 5 years provided the child turned 5 on or before the last day in February in that year.
1985 4 Preschool attendance voluntary Preschool 1 Minimum age of admission to preschool was 4 years provided the child turned 4 on or before 31 January in that year.
1986 4 Preschool attendance voluntary Preschool 1 Minimum age of admission to preschool was 4 years provided the child turned 4 on or before 31 December in the previous year.
1986 5 6-15 Years 1-7 7 Minimum age of admission to primary school became 5 years provided the child turned 5 on or before 31 January in that year.
1987 5 6-15 Years 1-7 7 Minimum age of admission to primary school became 5 years provided the child turned 5 on or before 31 December in the previous year.
1989 5 6-15 Years 1-7 7 Minimum age of admission at a State primary school confirmed as 5 years provided the child turned 5 on or before 31 December in the previous year. The principal of a State primary school could enrol a child who was less than 5 years, where it was demonstrated that the child had been enrolled in a formal education program in another State or country and the regional director was satisfied that the child would be educationally disadvantaged by not being enrolled in a State primary school.
1989 4 Attendance voluntary Preschool 1 Minimum age of admission to a State preschool centre was confirmed as 4 years, provided the child turned 4 on or before 31 December in the previous year. The teacher-in-charge of a State preschool centre could enrol a child who was less than 4 years where it was demonstrated that the child had been enrolled in a formal education program in another State or country and the regional director was satisfied that the child would be disadvantaged educationally by not being enrolled in a State preschool centre.
2000 4-5
5-6
6-15 Preschool
Primary Years 1-7
1
7

Minimum age of admission at a State preschool centre was confirmed as 4 years. The principal could enrol a child who was less than 4 years on 31 December of the previous year if the child had been enrolled in a formal education program in another State or country and the principal's supervisor was satisfied the child would be educationally disadvantaged by not being enrolled in a State preschool centre.
Minimum age of admission at a State primary school was confirmed as 5 years. The principal could enrol a child who was less than 5 years on 31 December of the previous year if the principal's supervisor was satisfied that the child would be educationally disadvantaged by not being enrolled in a State primary school.

2006 4-5
5-6
6 to completion of year 10 or 16 years of age Preschool
Primary Years 1-7
Secondary Years 8-12
1
7
Part time preschool ceased at the end of 2006.
In January 2006, elements of the Youth Participation in Education and Training Act 2003 came into effect. This raised the compulsory school age to 16 years or completion of year 10.
The Act divided education into two phases:
  • compulsory schooling phase
  • compulsory participation phase.
Compulsory schooling age was defined as at least 6 years of age to less than 16 years or completion of year 10.
The Compulsory participation phase started when the young person stopped being of compulsory school age and ended when they:
  1. gained a Senior Certificate, Certificate III or Certificate IV
  2. participated in eligible options for 2 years after finishing compulsory school phase or
  3. turned 17 years.
Young people who turned 15 years or completed year 10 before 1 January 2006 were not affected by the new laws.
2007 4.5-5 6 to less than 16 years or completion of year 10 (see Explanatory Notes 2006)

Preparatory Year
Primary Years 1-7
Secondary Years 8-12

1
7

All Queensland children of eligible age were able to attend a full-time Preparatory Year before starting Year 1. Preparatory Year was not compulsory and was offered at schools offering primary education.
A State school's principal could enrol a child in the Preparatory Year if they would be at least 5 years and 6 months on 31 December of the year of Preparatory attendance.
A State school's principal could enrol a child, regardless of the child's age, if the principal's supervisor was satisfied the child had started equivalent education in another state or country and was ready for education in the Preparatory Year, having regard to the child's attributes.
A State school's principal could enrol a child in Years 1-7 if the child would be at least 6 years on 31 December of the year of attendance.
A State school's principal could enrol a child in years 1-7, regardless of the child's age, if the principal's supervisor was satisfied the child was ready to be enrolled in the year of schooling, having regard to the child's attributes.

2008 4.5-5 6 to less than 16 years or completion of year 10

Preparatory Year (non compulsory)
Primary Years 1-7
Secondary Years 8-12

1
7

Children must be five years by 30 June in the year they enrol in Prep. Special consideration may be given to children from interstate or overseas who meet legislated criteria.
Compulsory attendance age increased by six months so that children must be enrolled in school in the year they will turn six years by 30 June.

The compulsory participation phase starts when a young person stops being of compulsory school age and ends when the young person:

  1. gains a Certificate of Achievement, Senior Statement, Certificate III or Certificate IV; or
  2. has participated in eligible options for 2 years after they stopped being of compulsory school age; or
  3. turns 17 years.
Last reviewed
10 January 2013
Last updated
10 January 2013