I'd like to thank the many teachers throughout Queensland who volunteered their time during the recent school holidays to take part in two important initiatives to improve student achievement in literacy, numeracy and science.
More than 700 of our dedicated state school teachers and staff returned to classrooms in our first Summer Schools program which is part of the State Government's three-year Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan.
They were on hand to give 15 hours of additional literacy and numeracy support to more than 3700 students from Years 5, 6 and 7. For the full story, read Education Views.
More than 400 teachers also registered to take part in the Vacation Professional Development for Teachers initiative.
The Queensland Studies Authority, Griffith University and the department conducted sessions which equipped teachers with strategies and resources to better teach numeracy, literacy and science.
It was wonderful to see so many teachers support these extremely worthwhile initiatives and I'm sure they benefited enormously.
I encourage all teachers to sign up for Summer Schools and vacation professional development when the programs are next held towards the end of the Christmas holidays.
Getting the early years right
In my past few columns I've highlighted the key priorities for our department. This month I'd like to focus on Early Childhood Education and Care.
If we're to create a truly world-class education system it's crucial we get the early years right.
The Office for Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) is working hard to ensure that by 2014, all Queensland children have access to a quality early childhood education program delivered by a qualified teacher in the year before they start Prep.
Currently, only about 15,000 of 53,000 eligible children participate in a kindergarten program delivered by a qualified early childhood teacher.
The State Government is investing $321 million to create an extra 240 kindergarten services throughout Queensland, many of which will be housed alongside our state schools.
The Federal Government is contributing $252 million under the National Partnership Agreement on Early Childhood Education. This is to ensure that all children will have access to a quality early childhood education program, delivered by a suitably qualified teacher, for 15 hours a week in the year before formal schooling.
ECEC is also exploring innovative delivery models such as mobile and outreach programs for children living in regional and remote areas and how to best support children with additional needs.
We're all working to achieve a common goal - ensuring young Queenslanders enter our schools ready to learn.