Queensland's state schools are being transformed. Students and teachers in state schools - along with non-state schools, TAFE institutes and local communities - are helping to create more innovative, flexible and supportive education and training systems.
Schools are working together to implement the Education and Training Reforms for the Future. These reforms take a holistic approach to learning - from the early phase through to middle and senior schooling, further education, training and employment.
State primary schools now offer a fulltime, non-compulsory Preparatory Year of education before Year 1, with an increase in the compulsory school starting age from 2008.
Children born on or after 1 January 2002 will be eligible for the new Preparatory Year of schooling before enrolling in Year 1. Children must be five by 30 June in the year they begin the Preparatory Year.
From 2008, the compulsory school starting age increases by six months - children must be six by 30 June in the year they enrol in Year 1.
Parents wanting to enrol their child in the Preparatory Year should make inquiries directly at their local school.
All other Australian states and territories offer a full-time year of education for children before Year 1.
National and international research highlights the importance of quality fulltime early education and smooth transitions between childcare and formal schooling to aid children's long-term educational outcomes.
An independent review of the Preparatory Year trial in 2003 indicated that the Preparatory program is highly successful in promoting children's social-emotional development and their communication, numeracy, literacy and motor skills.
Research shows that providing a quality full-time year of schooling prior to Year 1 has benefits for children, teachers and families. Preparatory programs use active learning, including purposeful play, to improve children's social and problemsolving skills, and to encourage a greater interest in learning.
Prep will give every young Queenslander the very best start to school by setting them on the path to lifelong learning and helping them make a smooth transition to Year 1.
The Preparatory Year is not compulsory. Parents may choose to keep their children at home or to send them to an alternative early childhood education and care service.
For further information on Prep Year visit the ETRF website.
The Middle Phase of Learning typically occurs across Years 4 to 9 and is a crucial period in a young person's schooling life. This phase of learning spans traditional primary and secondary schooling and is a time of great physical, social, emotional and intellectual change for young people. It is often a time when motivation and engagement wanes, academic progress slows and relationships with parents, teachers and peers impact greatly on students' learning outcomes.
Since August 2003, the State Government has implemented a series of actions to respond to the particular needs of young people in Years 4 to 9.
The actions focus on a number of areas including:
Good practice requires leadership, effective pedagogy, and flexible and responsive approaches to ensure young people stay enthusiastic and engaged in learning. One of the key initiatives is a reduction in class sizes in Years 4 to 10 from 30 to 28 students by 2007, giving Queensland the smallest class size targets in the middle years of schooling.
For further information on the Middle Phase of Learning visit the ETRF website.
Our education and training system aims to set the highest standards of excellence and academic rigour - standards that are valued by employers - while providing the challenge and variety that is required to keep young people engaged.
The State Government's Learning or Earning laws makes it compulsory for young people to stay at school until they finish Year 10 or turn 16, whichever comes first. These laws require young people to then participate in education and training for:
The challenge remains for schools and TAFEs to offer young people more choice and greater flexibility in the Senior Phase of Learning. This will mean providing choices from vocationally based subjects and courses, traineeships and apprenticeships, and university subjects - and working with students to help them make good decisions.
Schools, TAFE institutes and industry are working together to ensure every young person makes informed decisions about their future education, training and employment. This will ensure all young people have continued opportunities to gain the qualifications that will allow them to continue to thrive in the workplace of the future.
Reforms to the Senior Phase of Learning have seen unprecedented innovation and cooperation between schools and TAFEs, industry, teachers, students, parents and the wider community.
The result has been new, stimulating and valuable partnerships forged locally to meet the needs of young people across the state.
Developing Senior Education and Training (SET) Plans in Year 10 will allow young people to start charting their progress towards the new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) or similar qualification so they can make the most of the innovative and flexible pathways now available to them.
Year 10 students across the state are preparing SET Plans with the help of teachers and parents. These plans map out a young person 's career and education goals and the learning options available to them in the Senior Phase of Learning. Students will also have a learning account created for them with the Queensland Studies Authority. Young people will be able to access their own learning accounts over the Internet to check their progress.
In the Senior Phase of Learning, young people will be able to bank their learning undertaken in school, in TAFE institutes, with other training providers and possibly also through work experience and community agencies. Learning achievements will be recorded on the Queensland Certifi cate of Education that will be valuable to employers by providing a rounded picture of a young person.
A Youth Support Coordinator program has been established across Queensland. These 113 coordinators work with schools, TAFEs and the community to coordinate services to help young people resolve personal and family issues that may lead to disengagement during the Senior Phase of Learning.
For further information on the Senior Phase of Learning reforms visit the ETRF website.
Young people need good learning opportunities and skills to succeed in the 21st century. The State Government recognises that education is vital to shaping the future of every young person and our shared future in Queensland, the Smart State. The education and training system is being reformed to offer every young person the best possible opportunities to succeed in learning and in life.
The Queensland Government recently announced the introduction of several exciting new programs for schools under the Smart State initiative.
More information about the education components of the Smart State initiative visit the Smart Queensland Smart State Strategy website .
These initiatives are a major new investment in Queensland's education system and build on the Government's landmark Education and Training Reforms for the Future.