22 February 2010
With school well and truly underway we can turn our attention to the big year ahead. In 2010, we will continue to work towards our vision for a clever, skilled and creative Queensland, with an even stronger focus on the department's seven key priorities and initiatives.
We have made great progress in many of these areas, with the establishment of the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care, the realignment of our regions and last year's improvements in NAPLAN results. I thank you for your support in our campaign to ensure Queensland is among the top performing states in literacy, numeracy and science - our main priority this year.
On February 2, Premier Anna Bligh and Education and Training Minister Geoff Wilson released a discussion paper, A Flying Start for Queensland Children, which discusses the challenges facing education, outlines State Government initiatives and puts on the table proposals for change.
The Premier is keen to hear your views on the proposals and forums are being held around the state. Educators are encouraged to attend the forums, or to leave feedback via the Queensland Government's A Flying Start website or by email, fax or post.
The Premier and Minister are also holding the first online People's Question Time on the topic of education on Friday February 26. This can be viewed live and questions can be posted at the website beforehand.
Earlier this month, Ms Bligh and Mr Wilson announced the locations of 14 new kindergarten services to open on state school sites in 2012. The new services will be hosted by 10 schools including Weir State School in Townsville; Durack and Seven Hills state schools in Brisbane; Marian State School in Marian; Taranganba State School in Yeppoon; Gabbinbar State School in Toowoomba; Yandina State School and Kawana Waters State College on the Sunshine Coast; Logan Reserve State School in Logan; and Palm Beach State School on the Gold Coast.
These new services are part of the Queensland Government's commitment to establish up to 240 extra kindergarten services across the state to ensure all children can access a kindergarten program from 2014.
The announcement was made as part of the official opening of the new kindergarten service at Stretton State College, one of the first services to be established as part of the Government's groundbreaking kindergarten initiative.
Earlier this month Mount Isa School of the Air celebrated 50 years of "excellence in education in the outback". Bid O'Sullivan conducted the first radio broadcast on January 25, 1960 from the Royal Flying Doctor base in Cloncurry. This anniversary highlights the importance of delivering quality educational services to isolated and home-based students. The school is planning a weekend of celebrations later this year.
I encourage you to nominate your school for a Showcase Award this year. The Showcase Awards for Excellence in Schools are given for education practices that significantly improve student learning and more than $370,000 in development grants are on offer. Nominations close on March 26. Visit the Showcase Awards website for more information.
Finally, welcome back for another big year for teaching and learning. I look forward to working with you to achieve some major milestones.