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Student Services > Learning and Disability Support > Education for children with a disability - a guide for parents > Phases of learning >

Finishing school

The final few years of schooling are a time of transition, preparing for life after school. These years - from around Year 10 onwards - are called the Senior Phase of Learning.

The basic allocation of schooling for a state school student is 24 semesters - usually two semesters a year for 12 years of school. The basic allocation usually does not include Prep or participation in an early childhood development program. Additional semesters may be allocated after consideration is given to a student's age and ability, likely educational outcomes and suitability, and availability of other education, training or employment options. If parents wish to seek an allocation of additional semesters for their child, they are required to do this through the principal. Applications for additional semesters beyond this (26 semesters) will need to be made through the principal to the Regional Office.

Finishing school is an exciting time, but it can also be very stressful for students and their families. A smooth transition into life after school requires thought, planning, and discussion.

This transition can be more complex for young people with disabilities and their families and it requires careful and highly individualised planning with a team of people.

Of course, how much help a young person needs from you during this process will vary greatly between individuals. It is important to include your child in planning their transition to post-school life as much as possible.

Compulsory participation phase

A young person's compulsory participation phase starts when they stop being of compulsory school age (i.e. turn 16 or complete Year 10 whichever comes first) and ends when the person:

In the compulsory participation phase, young people have more options. They don't have to go to school - but they do have to be 'learning or earning'. That means there are a wider range of options, including continuing school, studying at an institution like TAFE or university, doing a traineeship or apprenticeship or working full-time.

For more detailed information about the compulsory participation phase, talk to staff at your school or refer to the Exemptions from Compulsory Schooling and Compulsory Participation External Link policy.

Certificates at the completion of schooling

The Queensland Certificate of Education Adobe PDF document[an error occurred while processing this directive] (QCE) is a qualification which is awarded to eligible students, usually at the end of Year 12. Students are registered to accrue points that contribute towards completing the QCE during Year 10 or in the 12 months before turning 16 years, which ever comes first. The Queensland Certificate of Education confirms a student has attained:

The Queensland Certificate of Education has replaced the Senior Certificate.

Students who do not meet the requirements of the Queensland Certificate of Education at the end of Year 12 can continue to work towards their certificate - their learning account remains open, regardless of their age (however, credits expire after nine years).

The Queensland Certificate of Education will be awarded in the following July or December once a person becomes eligible.

Students with disability who have highly individualised learning programs may have their achievements reported on a Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement. It can be shown to employers as a summary of the student's knowledge and skills, and can be used by training providers to decide the best training options.

There is also a range of vocational certificates that record highly regarded industry skills in particular areas such as hospitality, engineering, automotive and tourism that schools may offer students.

Workforce support for people with a disability

There is a variety of options available to assist job seekers with disabilities to find employment through Centrelink External Link and Providers of Australian Government Employment Services (PAGES), including Job Network and the Disability Employment Network (DEN) programmes.

Depending on the support needs of the job seeker, some options include:

Information on these programs is updated regularly. To find out more you can contact:

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This page was last reviewed on 01 Oct 2014

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