Chronology of education in Queensland


Queensland's first school opened in 1826 with 16 pupils, the children of soliders and convicts from the first settlement in Moreton Bay. It was not until 1860, however, that the first Education Act was proclaimed and all primary education was placed under one general and comprehensive system controlled by the Board of General Education.

This chronology of education in Queensland provides a factual outline of the major milestones and trends in the development of state education.

  • The first settlement in Queensland was established.
  • Mrs Esther Roberts conducted the first school. Sixteen pupils attended and Mrs Roberts was paid £20 a year.
  • Brisbane ceased to be a convict settlement and was opened to free settlers. This resulted in an increased demand for education in Brisbane.
  • The first National school was established at Toolburra near Warwick by Mr George Leslie and was financed by the New South Wales Government. The present State system grew out of this National school system.
  • Queensland became a separate colony and thus responsible for education within its boundaries.
  • The first National schools in Brisbane were established — Brisbane Boys and Brisbane Girls.
  • Education Act placed all primary education under one general and comprehensive system controlled by the Board of General Education.
  • A second act, the Grammar Schools Act, provided for the establishment of a grammar (secondary) school in any locality where a sum of not less than £1,000 had been raised for this purpose.
  • The first grammar school was opened at Ipswich.
  • Provisional schools were introduced. The parents provided the building and often found the teacher. The Department paid the teacher's salary.
  • Free education was implemented.
  • The first State Scholarship Examination was held, and this was to become the basis for granting a specific number of scholarships to secondary schools.
  • Education Act provided for free, secular and compulsory education in State schools and transferred all primary education in Queensland to the Department of Public Instruction responsible to a Minister for Education.
  • The new Act provided for Classes 1 to 5 (approximately 8 years) in primary schools. The syllabus comprised reading, writing, arithmetic, object lessons, drill and gymnastics, vocal music, sewing and needlework, geography, history, English grammar and elementary mechanics.
  • A pupil–teacher scheme, under which the head teacher was responsible for the training of pupil–teachers, was introduced.
  • State aid to denominational schools was abolished.
  • The first technical college, the Brisbane Technical College, was established by the Brisbane School of Arts.
  • John William Tighe established a workshop for visually impaired men and raised funds for the education of the visually impaired.
  • The first teachers association was formed.
  • Primary schools and their administration were strongly criticised by a Royal Commission on the Civil Service.
  • Financial support was provided to enable 13 children to attend the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institute in Sydney.
  • The first Arbor Day was held.
  • An Instructress in Kindergarten was appointed to give teachers in infant grades in primary schools instruction in the new Froebellian methods.
  • An optional Class 6 was added to the class structure.
  • A Blind, Deaf and Dumb School was established in Queensland, controlled by a committee chaired by Sir Charles Lilley. The school opened at Cornwall St, Annerley with 20 students.
  • Drawing was introduced as a subject in primary schools. This subject was seen as a vital basis for technical education.
  • Queensland Agricultural College at Lawes was established.
  • The Blind School and the Deaf School were established as separate schools on the above site. Deaf and blind children were educated separately but housed together.
  • State Education Amendment of 1897 was implemented, allowing the introduction of secondary-level subjects like Euclid, Algebra and Science in classes 5 and 6 of primary schools.
  • The compulsory clause of the Education Act of 1875 was fully implemented.
  • The Department appointed the first itinerant teacher who visited isolated homes to bring some elementary education to these children.
  • Mrs Edith Bryan appointed head teacher of school section of Queensland Blind Deaf and Dumb Institution.
  • The board of Technical Instruction was appointed by the Governor in Council.
  • A new syllabus was introduced emphasising activity learning, practical work, correlation of subjects, and greater relevance to the daily lives of students. In the new scheme, the 'whole child' was the focus of education.
  • Continuation classes commenced. These classes provided vocationally-oriented education in such areas as commerce, mining and agriculture. They were a link between the primary schools and technical colleges.
  • The Technical Instruction Act placed technical colleges in Brisbane under the direct control of the Department of Public Instruction. It also allowed country colleges, if they wished, to come under the Department.
  • The University of Queensland conducted the first external Junior and Senior Public Examinations.
  • The Education Act was amended to permit religious instruction in State school buildings during school hours.
  • An itinerant Teacher of Agriculture was appointed to encourage and improve elementary agricultural education.
  • The University of Queensland enrolled its first students.
  • Religious instruction commenced.
  • A Medical Branch of the Department was created.
  • The first State high schools in Queensland were opened at Warwick, Bundaberg, Charters Towers, Gympie, Mackay and Mount Morgan.
  • Compulsory medical and dental inspection were introduced in State schools.
  • The school leaving age was raised from 12 to 14 years.
  • Secondary scholarships for two years at approved secondary schools were offered to all students who gained 50% or more in the annual State Scholarship Examination. In previous years, a fixed number of scholarships had been awarded annually.
  • The first Teachers Training College was opened.
  • A revised version of the 1905 syllabus was implemented. The basic aims and subject categories were not changed significantly.
  • The first Rural School was opened at Nambour.
  • The Technical Instruction Amendment Act enabled the Department of Public Instruction to progressively take over control of country technical colleges.
  • The Institute for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb became the responsibility of the Department of Home Affairs and the teachers became employees of the State: Queensland's first State employed special educators.
  • The Primary Correspondence School was established to provide lessons by mail for children in remote areas.
  • The first special classes were provided for handicapped children.
  • The first domestic science railway carriage was provided for rural children.
  • The gradual phasing out of the pupil–teacher system was begun.
  • Under the direction of WF Bevington, District Inspector of Schools, assisted by Miss Kathleen Sheehy, classes for backward children were established at South Brisbane Boys' School, Fortitude Valley, New Farm, Rockhampton, Townsville, Toowoomba, and Ipswich.
  • As a result of The Blind, Deaf and Dumb Children Instruction Bill of 1924, education for deaf children becomes compulsory (148 children are enrolled).
  • The first manual arts railway carriage for rural children commenced operations.
  • Backward classes became Opportunity classes, as recommended by Kathleen Sheehy.
  • Intermediate schools were established.
  • A new primary syllabus was introduced.
  • The structure of primary education was reorganised so that there was a preparatory Grade (1.5 years) plus Grades 1 to 7, to replace the former system (Classes 1 to 6).
  • Administrative control of the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Institution (Juvenile Section) was transferred from the Department of Home Affairs to the Department of Public Instruction.
  • The itinerant teacher system ended.
  • Last year in which pupil–teachers were employed.
  • Dutton Park Opportunity School was established with Kathleen Sheehy as the first head teacher, following the closure of the South Brisbane Opportunity Classes.
  • A New Education Fellowship Conference was held in Brisbane. Organised by the Australian Council of Education Research with the Department, this brought many of the world's progressive educational thinkers to Brisbane.
  • Amendments were made to the primary syllabus.
  • Preparatory Grade was increased to two years (Preps 1–4).
  • The first group hearing aid equipment was provided at the Queensland School for the Deaf.
  • Under the Backward Persons Act of 1938, backward children were now seen as the responsibility of the Department of Health and Home Affairs, and were placed in mental health institutions.
  • An Education Convention was held in Brisbane, giving major community groups a chance to express their views on the current education system.
  • A psychologist, J J Pratt, was appointed Educational Guidance Officer.
  • The Hanlon Government decided to establish a State Preschool system, and began reserving suitable land. This policy was not fully implemented till 1973.
  • As a result of the survival of children with cerebral palsy, the Queensland Spastic Welfare League was formed. The Department of Public Instruction established a school within this institution.
  • Individual hearing aids are provided to deaf students at the Queensland School for the Deaf.
  • Research and Guidance Branch established, with William Wood as Principal Research and Guidance Officer.
  • The first five regional directors of education were appointed.
  • The main responsibility for conducting migrant education in Queensland passed from the Commonwealth Government to the State Government.
  • The State School for Spastic Children opened, with Hilda Paul as first head teacher.
  • Parent/community interest led to the establishment of the Queensland Subnormal Children's Welfare Association (later known as the Endeavour Foundation), with Professor Fred Schonell as honorary president. Department of Public Instruction was responsible for the teachers' salary component.
  • A new primary syllabus was introduced.
  • The class structure was changed to a Preparatory Grade (1 year) and Grades 1–8.
  • The report The Education of Mentally Handicapped Children in Queensland prepared by the Research and Guidance Branch and presented to the Director-General of Education.
  • A second report An Investigation into the Care and Treatment of Ineducable Children in Queensland was also prepared.
  • Three speech correctionists attached to the Schools for the Deaf and Blind were brought under direct departmental supervision.
  • The Preparatory Grade was abolished.
  • The Department of Public Instruction established separate schools for students with mild intellectual disabilities. 'Ineducable children' became the responsibility of the Director-General of Health.
  • The Association for the Preschool Education of Deaf Children was founded and offered early intervention programs for deaf children using the oral method, with Clare Minchin as first teacher-in-charge.
  • The Queensland Subnormal Children's Welfare Association opens its first school at Bowen House, Bowen Hills, with Thelma McConnel as foundation principal.
  • Gladstone Road Junior Day School opens with 22 deaf children.
  • The name of the Department was altered from the Department of Public Instruction to the Department of Education.
  • A second teachers college at Kedron Park in Brisbane was opened. The Townsville University College was established as part of the University of Queensland.
  • Queensland Conservatorium of Music was opened at South Brisbane.
  • Special Education Services Division established with William Wood as Director.
  • Visiting teacher service for deaf children begins with 4 teachers visiting 150 deaf students in the metropolitan area.
  • The last State Scholarship Examination was held.
  • Television broadcasts for schools began.
  • At the end of the year, both Grades 7 and 8 transferred automatically to secondary school, becoming (in 1964) Grades 8 and 9 respectively.
  • A separate school for the visually impaired is established (Narbethong), with Eric Searle as first principal.
  • School for multiply handicapped children is opened at Kangaroo Point by the Multiple Handicapped Association of Queensland, with Ian McDonald as foundation principal.
  • The Queensland School for the Deaf rebuilding program begins to cater for the vast increase in the number of deaf students as a result of rubella epidemics.
  • The Department of Education takes on the responsibility for employing teachers at the Yeerongpilly Preschool for Deaf Children.
  • The Education Act of 1964 introduced changes in the control of secondary, technical and agricultural education, and raised the school leaving age to 15 (operative in 1965).
  • New primary and secondary syllabuses were introduced over the next five years.
  • A textbook allowance for all secondary students in both State and non-State schools, free of means tax, was introduced.
  • The number of speech correctionists had reached 22.
  • The Department of Education recognised the need to employ speech therapists. Two graduates of the Speech Therapy course at the University of Queensland were employed.
  • Institutes of technology were opened in Toowoomba and Rockhampton. A remote area allowance was introduced for all secondary students in isolated areas.
  • Queensland's first rural training school was opened at Longreach.
  • Per capita grants to non-State schools were reintroduced.
  • Opportunity schools contained a total of 2,000 places.
  • The first students to begin a three-year primary course of teacher education at teachers colleges were enrolled.
  • New teachers colleges were opened at Townsville and at Mt Gravatt in Brisbane.
  • Public Examinations for Queensland Secondary School Students (the Radford Report) was published.
  • The external Junior Examination was discontinued for all full-time students.
  • The Townsville University College became an autonomous university as the James Cook University of North Queensland.
  • New primary and secondary syllabuses were introduced over the next five years.
  • The first teacher-librarians were appointed.
  • The first advisory teachers were appointed.
  • The Board of Teacher Education was constituted under the Education Act Amendment Act 1970.
  • The Board of Secondary School Studies, responsible for the implementation of the recommendations of the Radford Report, held its first meeting.
  • The Board of Advanced Education was established and the three institutes of technology, the Queensland Agricultural College and the Conservatorium of Music became autonomous institutions.
  • Teacher Education in Queensland (the Murphy Report) was published.
  • Regionalisation of Brisbane and hinterland began with the creation of Brisbane North Region.
  • GF Berkeley appointed Director of Special Education Services.
  • The external Senior Examination was held for the last time for all full-time students.
  • The four teachers colleges became autonomous and came under the control of the Board of Advanced Education.
  • Provision of one-year State preschool education for four and five year olds commenced.
  • Comparability tests were used in the first semester of Grade 12 to assist the Moderation Committee of the Board of Secondary School Studies in their duties.
  • The first teachers centres, or regional resource centres for teachers, opened.
  • A Co-ordinator of In-Service Education was appointed to supervise important developments in this field.
  • The first teacher aides were appointed.
  • Position of Inspector of Schools, Special Education, created and GJ Swan appointed.
  • The Australian Scholastic Aptitude Test (ASAT) was administered in September to all students enrolled in semester 4 of Grade 12. The purpose of ASAT was to obtain information regarding students' aptitudes for higher education.
  • The Preschool Correspondence Program began.
  • The Disadvantaged Schools Scheme (later known as the Special Program Schools Scheme) was introduced with Commonwealth funding.
  • Regionalisation of Brisbane and hinterland completed with creation of Brisbane West and Brisbane South Regions.
  • The first resource teachers were appointed.
  • The centenary of the State Education Act of 1875 was celebrated.
  • The first high school built to the new faculty based campus design was opened at Craigslea in Brisbane.
  • Professional Development (In Service) Program began with 8 and 16 week refresher courses for teachers. Courses offered to teachers with 5 to 10 years experience. The teacher designed and directed his own program.
  • Division of Special Education established and PM Briody appointed as Director.
  • The Advisory Council for Special Education was appointed to advise the Minister in matters relating to special education, with Professor Betty Watts as first Chair and Geoffrey Swan as first Secretary.
  • The Committee on Residential Care Education Projects (CORCEP) created to advise on disbursement of Schools Commission funds for residential care.
  • The Bardon Professional Development Centre opened in Brisbane.
  • The Division of Technical and Further Education (TAFE) came into existence with the integration of technical and adult education.
  • The State Development Committee, administering Schools Commission funds for in-service education, acquired a full time secretariat.
  • Report of review of special education Future of Special Education in Queensland 1978–1982 presented.
  • Co-ordinator of Education for the Intellectually Handicapped was appointed.
  • Second position of Inspector of Schools, Special Education, created and TGA Ames appointed.
  • The Scott Report, A Review of School-Based Assessment in Queensland Secondary Schools (ROSBA), recommended that the norm-based system of secondary school assessment be changed to a competency-based system.
  • The 1978 Review of Teacher Education in Queensland (the Bassett Report) was published.
  • A Parliamentary Select Committee chaired by Mr MI Ahern, MLA, met to investigate the State education system and the extent to which it fulfilled the expectations of students, parents and the community.
  • Early special education trialled.
  • A system of internal assessment was inaugurated in TAFE colleges.
  • The final report of the Ahern Select Committee was presented.
  • The first phase of ROSBA was implemented.
  • The school year changed from three to four terms. Teachers attended three pupil free days per year.
  • An advisory committee on computer assisted learning was established.
  • Special Education Cooperative Workshop established as a state-wide service provider.
  • The Principals and Change In-service Program was expanded.
  • The Queensland Writing Project was introduced.
  • The primary Science syllabus and sourcebooks for Years 1–5 were distributed.
  • Phases 1 and 2 of ROSBA were implemented.
  • The Division of Planning and Services was replaced by the Division of Planning and Special Programs and the Division of Curriculum Services.
  • The implementation of the new primary Science syllabus continued.
  • A new method for teaching handwriting was adopted.
  • The trend in secondary education to offer programs fully integrated into secondary curricula linking secondary and TAFE continued.
  • The Department of Education's management and operations was systematically reviewed.
  • The Peninsula Region was formed.
  • A Technology Services Unit was established.
  • A Ministerial Advisory Committee on Distance Education was appointed.
  • The Divisions of Preschool and Special Education expanded their services.
  • The Division of Special Education accepted responsibility for services to all handicapped children from birth to 18 years. More severely and profoundly handicapped children entered special education facilities while many, with less severe handicaps, would be mainstreamed into regular classrooms.
  • The Secondary Computer Literacy Project was introduced.
  • Programs utilising principles of conductive education were trialled at Xavier Special School.
  • Early Educational Intervention Handbook of Issues and Practices released.
  • The discussion paper, Education 2000: Issues and options for the future of Education in Queensland was released.
  • The use of technology to enhance distance education, work in schools and educational administration was supported.
  • Approval was given for schools to alter the placement of the three pupil free days.
  • The Department of Education developed a policy on the education of gifted children.
  • The Special Education Resource Centres were formed as state-wide services, as part of the Division of Special Education.
  • Early special education officially commenced.
  • The age of first attendance at primary school increased. Children had to turn five years by 31 January to be eligible for enrolment in Year 1.
  • There was an expansion of the curriculum in secondary schools and TAFE colleges evident in the further development of co-operative secondary-TAFE programs.
  • The Advisory Committee which reviewed submissions made in response to Education 2000 reported to the Minister.
  • The distance education trial began through the Mt Isa School of the Air.
  • A Preschool to Year 10 (P–10) Syllabus Framework was developed.
  • Endeavour Foundation schools transferred to Department of Education.
  • Policy Statement 15 Integration: Mainstreaming of Students with Special Needs introduced.
  • Children had to turn 5 years by 31 December to be eligible for enrolment in Year 1 in the following year.
  • The Department of Education launched a series of documents entitled Meeting the Challenge which highlighted a corporate style of management.
  • The Department reshaped its central administration by strengthening the role of the Policy Committee, appointing a Chief Inspector and adopting comprehensive strategic planning processes.
  • In regions, initiatives were built on the commitment to decentralisation, while further devolution of responsibility occurred in the operational management of educational programs.
  • Two new education regions were formed (South Coast and Sunshine Coast regional offices).
  • The P–10 Curriculum Framework was developed and curriculum documents revised.
  • The Roma Middle School opened and catered for students in Years 4–10.
  • A post-compulsory college, the Alexandra Hills Senior College opened.
  • Two new centres of distance education opened at Longreach and Charters Towers.
  • The Inspectorate was regionalised.
  • There was continued development of an integrated P–10 curriculum.
  • The senior secondary curriculum was broadened to cater for all learners.
  • Cooperative programs between secondary schools and TAFE colleges were conducted.
  • The use of computers and information technology in schools was given a high priority.
  • The Special Education Resource and Development Centres were formed as a consequence of the reorganisation of the Division of Special Education.
  • Individual education plans for students with disabilities were introduced as part of the new policy Policy Statement 16: Policy and Practice for Special Education Services.
  • The report National Overview of Educational Services for Isolated Severely Handicapped Children resulted from a Project of National Significance undertaken as a joint project of the Commonwealth Department of Employment Education and Training and the Department of Education Division of Special Services.
  • The Queensland School for the Deaf closes, as a consequence of decentralisation of services to students with hearing impairments during the 1980's. Programs for students with vision impairment were also decentralised during this period.
  • A new Education Act 1989 was enacted.
  • The Department of Education's first strategic plan was adopted.
  • Decisions about school budgets were devolved to the school level.
  • There was an amalgamation of correspondence schools which became the School of Distance Education — Brisbane Centre P–12.
  • The first high school built to a new design opened at Bribie Island.
  • New prototype buildings for preschool, primary and special education units were assessed.
  • A comprehensive internal review of the Department of Education commenced through the consultation process, Education Have Your Say.
  • Professor Nancy Viviani reviewed Tertiary Entrance and produced the report, A Review of Tertiary Entrance in Queensland.
  • The Offices of Higher Education and Non-State Schooling were established.
  • The Department developed The Corporate Vision for Senior Schooling in Queensland to accommodate the diverse needs of students in Years 11 and 12.
  • The first entire primary school based on the new building model opened to students.
  • The report, Focus on Schools was released. A major restructure of the Department of Education followed.
  • The Public Sector Management Commission (PSMC) reviewed the Department of Education including its role, operations, responsibilities and management.
  • Greater responsibilities were devolved to 11 regions for resource, financial administration and human resource management.
  • A new English Language Arts Syllabus was introduced.
  • Priority was given to expanding languages other than English (LOTE).
  • The Viviani Report recommended the establishment of the Tertiary Entrance Procedures Authority (TEPA).
  • Consultants were engaged to assist in the development of an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) management plan.
  • The Equity Directorate (Workforce and Studies) was established. A social justice strategy was developed.
  • The PSMC developed guidelines for recruitment and selection based on merit and equity principles.
  • The inspectorate ended.
  • The report Focus on Schools recommended that a strategy for managing the integration policy in Queensland schools be developed as a matter of urgency, and that a state-wide support centre for students with low incidence disabilities be established. A restructure of the Department of Education followed.
  • Occupational therapists and physiotherapists were employed by the Department of Education to work in schools with students with disabilities. (These services were transferred from the Department of Families).
  • Policy Statement — Management of Support Teaching: Learning Difficulties (P–7) was introduced.


  • The phasing out of corporal punishment commenced.
  • There was a reduction in the size of the Department of Education's central office.
  • The first steps were taken towards the establishment of school advisory councils, school support centres and the introduction of the forum concept.
  • Forty five school support centres and two state-wide support centres were created.
  • An Advanced Skills Teacher classification was introduced and implemented.
  • Social justice strategies covering gender equity, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and early childhood education were endorsed.
  • The TE Score was replaced by the Student Education Profile.
  • The Low Incidence Support Centre was established, and comprised the following sections: Intellectual Impairment Services, Physical Impairment Services, Vision Impairment Services; Hearing Impairment Services; Therapy Services; Learning Difficulties Services; Guidance and Counselling Services; Library and Information Services.
  • Additional nurses were employed to support students with high medical support needs.
  • The Student Disability Unit and position of Assistant Director, Social Justice, were established within the Studies Directorate.
  • A Review of Secondary Provisions for Deaf/Hearing Impaired Students was undertaken for the Studies Directorate.
  • A Review of Programs for Young Children with Severe Disabilities took place.
  • A review of early special education in Queensland was undertaken, resulting in the report: Meeting the needs.
  • The devolution of decision making to the school level continued within the 3 year trial of school advisory councils.
  • A review of the Department's devolution process was undertaken.
  • A wide ranging review of the Queensland curriculum commenced. The review panel, headed by Professor Wiltshire was asked to make recommendations on the content and management of the curriculum.
  • The Computers in Schools Project provided some students with access to computers.
  • The panel conducting the review of the Queensland curriculum released its report, Shaping the Future.
  • Parent development officers were appointed in every region.
  • Priority areas in education were reaffirmed including literacy, numeracy, Languages Other Than English (LOTE) and computer education.
  • The Equity Directorate was discontinued.
  • The Bardon Professional Development Centre ceased operations.
  • Ascertainment Guidelines for Students with Disabilities and Learning Difficulties were introduced, and applied to students with physical impairment, hearing impairment, vision impairment, intellectual impairment and/or severe multiple impairment, or learning difficulties.
  • Isolated Students' Programs (previously Isolated Children's Special Education Unit) was transferred to the Low Incidence Support Centre.
  • The document The Provision of Early Intervention Services and Early Special Education Services was prepared jointly by the Department of Education and the Department of Family Services and Aboriginal and Islander Affairs, and these guidelines were approved by Cabinet.
  • Educational Provision for Students with Disabilities: Policy Statement and Management Plan was introduced.
  • The report, Shaping the Future was endorsed and resulted in curriculum reforms. The Report emphasised the early identification and remediation of literacy and numeracy difficulties and the assessment of the attainments of students at various stages to ensure standards were maintained.
  • Accordingly, the Year 2 Diagnostic Net and Year 6 Test were developed and introduced for trials in all state schools in 1995.
  • Two new curriculum structures were established including the Queensland Curriculum Council and the Queensland School Curriculum Office (QSCO).
  • Three strands of the Student Performance Standards (SPS) in mathematics were implemented.
  • The convergence of general and vocational education in Years 11 and 12 signalled a significant shift in the nature of the senior secondary curriculum.
  • Corporal punishment was abolished.
  • The policy document Special Consideration: Exemption and Special Arrangements — Senior Secondary Assessment was developed by the Board of Senior Secondary School Studies.
  • Student Performance Standards in Mathematics for Students with Low Incidence Disabilities were developed.
  • The devolution of decision making as closely as possible to the point of service continued.
  • There was increased emphasis on improving student learning outcomes and reporting.
  • Trials of the Year 2 Diagnostic Net and the Year 6 literacy and numeracy tests commenced. Individual reports were prepared for parents on the Year 2 Diagnostic Net and Year 6 literacy and numeracy tests as well as on Student Performance Standards in maths for students in Years 3–8.
  • One hour of non-contact time was introduced for primary and special education teachers.
  • A range of behaviour management strategies were implemented in schools.
  • The Queensland School Curriculum Council (QSCC) was established as a statutory authority, replacing QSCO.
  • Transport guidelines were developed for students with disabilities.
  • The policy Establishing Educational Service Models based on Conductive Education Principles was approved.
  • The Key Competencies in Special Schools Project was undertaken.
  • The name, Education Queensland was introduced.
  • The Leading Schools Program to implement school based management was announced.
  • The new strategic plan, Partners for Excellence was affected.
  • The Computers in Schools Project was completed. A further commitment was given to the adoption of technology with the proposed Schooling 2001 Project over 1997–2000.
  • The Reading Recovery Program designed to support students in Years 2 and 3 was implemented. A Reading Recovery Training Centre was established.
  • The School Management System (SMS) was implemented in all schools.
  • The Cool Schools Program to air-condition school resource centres and provide passive heat reduction in other school buildings began at 197 schools in North Queensland.
  • Forging Partnerships: a Review of Early Special Education was developed, and the guidelines were approved by Cabinet.
  • State Studies Management Forum approved the addition of two new categories for ascertainment: speech-language impairment, and autistic spectrum disorder.
  • The two documents Guidelines for Speech-Language Therapy in Schools and Guidelines on the Role and Scope of Occupational Therapy and Physiotherapy Services were developed.
  • A Centre for Teaching Excellence was established.
  • District Offices replaced regional education office structures.
  • Facility Service Centres commenced operation.
  • The phasing out of School Support Centres was completed.
  • A new School Planning and Accountability Framework was introduced.
  • The Schooling 2001 Project was established.
  • The Reading Recovery Program was extended.
  • Twenty three new Year 11-12 syllabuses were trialled in schools.
  • New syllabuses for Science, Health and Physical Education for Years 1–10 were trialled in 100 schools.
  • Most state high schools offered at least two vocationally oriented subjects.
  • The Building Better Schools initiative improved learning environments by refurbishing some primary classrooms, providing additional shade at some primary schools and constructing facilities for students with disabilities at some schools.
  • The Ascertainment Guidelines for Students with Disabilities were revised to incorporate the new categories of speech-language impairment, and autistic spectrum disorder.
  • Ascertainment was used as the basis for resourcing.
  • The document Educational Provision for Students with Learning Difficulties and Learning Disabilities was developed.
  • The strategy, Queensland State Education: 2010 — The next decade: A discussion about the future of Queensland state schools was released and sought to promote discussion about the nature and purpose of education. A state-wide consultation process commenced.
  • Education Queensland conducted a major consultation process on models of school based management.
  • The Schooling 2000 Project upgraded school computer facilities and the IT skills of teachers.
  • New literacy and numeracy tests for Year 3 and 5 students in all states and territories began against agreed benchmarks.
  • New preschool guidelines were implemented.
  • The Reading Recovery Program was extended.
  • The Low Incidence Support Centre became the Low Incidence Unit, as a result of a departmental restructure.
  • The Action Plan: Educational Provision for Students with Disabilities 1998–2002 was developed.
  • The document Individual Education Plans for Students with Disabilities was published, and IEPs became mandatory for students whose special education support needs had been ascertained at Level 6.
  • The set of resource booklets Teacher Aides: Working with Students with Disabilities was developed.
  • The resource package Teaching Students with Disabilities was developed in conjunction with Griffith University to assist students in regular schools.
  • Queensland State Education: 2010 strategy was endorsed.
  • The Secondary Schools Renewal Program commenced.
  • The New Basics Framework for learning, teaching and assessment was conceptualised.
  • The Partners for Success strategy was initiated to improve learning outcomes and Year 12 completion rates for Indigenous students.
  • A learning framework and management process, The Three Frames was introduced to support Queensland State Education — 2010.
  • An inaugural Year 7 test was held.
  • The Learning and Development Foundation was established.
  • Appraisement was trialled for students with learning difficulties or learning disabilities in years 5, 6, and 7.
  • The Low Incidence Unit was engaged to develop and write content for a course on physical impairment, as an open learning module in CD ROM format, to link with the Griffith University Graduate Certificate in Special Education/Master of Education.
  • The New Basics trial continued.
  • Vocational education and training participation in schools increased to more than 60%.
  • Additional teachers and teacher aides were employed for students with disabilities.
  • The Framework for Students at Educational Risk was launched.
  • Older secondary schools continued a program of renewal.
  • The first school reflecting the development of Middle Schooling as part of a P–12 campus opened in Cairns (Bentley Park College).
  • Central and District Offices were realigned and seven Corporate Services Units were established.
  • Literate Futures: Whole-School Literacy Planning Guidelines was released to support a coordinated approach to improving literacy.
  • The implementation of policy and guidelines for the Years 1–10 Curriculum Framework commenced while the implementation of the new syllabuses for Years 1–10 progressed.
  • The seven point plan — A Better Deal for Students with Disabilities was implemented.
  • The program, A Framework for Students at Educational Risk was implemented.
  • A new educational leaders classification structure was developed.
  • The Professional Standards for Teachers Pilot commenced.
  • The reforms outlined in Queensland the Smart State: Education and Training Reforms for the Future: A White Paper were implemented.
  • The first phase of the Preparing for School trial at thirty state, six Catholic and three independent schools commenced.
  • New syllabuses in Science, Health and Physical Education, Languages Other Than English (LOTE), Studies of Society and Environment (SOSE) and the Arts were implemented.
  • Reforms to the Senior Phase of Learning including selecting trial sites in seven areas continued.
  • An annual ICT plan to integrate ICTs into the curriculum was developed in all state schools.
  • A range of initiatives were introduced to improve outcomes for students at educational risk.
  • The Partners for Success strategy was expanded through partnerships between schools in indigenous communities and major local employers.
  • A pilot program of Professional Standards for Teachers was completed.
  • The integration of ICTs into learning and teaching was supported through tailored skills programs.
  • The Youth Participation in Education and Training Act 2003 was passed. Some provisions have commenced but many will not commence until 2006.
  • The Youth Participation in Education and Training Act 2003 provides for a 'compulsory participation phase' which commences when a young person stops being of compulsory school age and finishes when the young person either gains a senior certificate or certificate 111, has participated for 2 years beyond the compulsory school age or turns 17 years of age.
  • More than 60 local programs to help keep senior students in learning have been developed as part of the 'learning or earning' reforms.
  • The Grammar Schools & Other Legislation Amendment Act 2003 amended the Grammar School Act 1975.
  • The Education and Other Legislation (Student Protection) Amendment Act 2003 amended the Education (Teacher Registration) Act 1988 and was passed. All provisions of the former Act will commence by June 2004.
  • The Education (General Provisions) Amendment Act 2003 amended the Education (General Provisions) Act 1989 to provide for the protection of students from violent and aggressive intruders. The provisions of this Act commence in 2004.
  • 52 non-state schools in the hottest parts of Queensland received funding for air-conditioning from the Cooler Schools subsidy scheme.
  • The Department of Education and the Arts was established in Feb 2004.
  • Second phase of the Preparing for School trial commenced.
  • The Middle Phase of Learning Action Plan was launched.
  • The reduction of State school class sizes in Years 4–10 commenced.
  • The full implementation of the Science, Health and Physical Education, Languages Other than English and Studies of Society and the Environment syllabuses was completed.
  • The Department of Education and the Arts worked with the Department of Child Safety to develop individual education plans for students in the care of the State.
  • The implementation of the Education and Training Reforms for the Future (ETRF) continued including:
    • phasing in the Preparatory Year at a further 25 State schools and five non-State schools
    • further implementing the Middle Phase of Learning State School Action Plan
    • expanding the Senior Phase of Learning trials in State and non State schools statewide
    • finalising the three-year ICTs for Learning Strategy.
  • The actions outlined in Changes to Schools Reporting commenced.
  • The four year Safe and Healthy Schools initiative commenced.
  • The publication, Smart Choices: Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy was distributed.
  • Education Queensland worked with industry under the Education Queensland Industry School Engagement Strategy on initiatives including the Aerospace Project, Queensland College of Wine Tourism and the ICT Industry Partnership.
  • A new plan for Students with Disabilities that improves services and support for students with disabilities commenced implementation.
  • New Guidelines for Home Schooling Dispensation were approved from 2005. A Home Schooling Support Unit was established to support parents who choose to home school their children.
  • A Ministerial Advisory Panel on Higher Education was established.
  • A Director of Child Safety was appointed. Education Support Plans for children and young people in the care of the State were implemented.
  • A further four Partners for Success Centres of Excellence were established bringing the total number to 7.
  • An Indigenous Education Leadership Institute was established in partnership between the Department and the Queensland University of Technology.
  • The Framework for Gifted Education was released.
  • The Cooler Schools Program air-conditioned 67 schools in the Cooler Schools zone.
  • The Education Legislation Amendment Act 2004 amended several portfolio Acts including:
    • Education (Capital Assistance) Act 1993 refined the procedural requirements for the provision of capital assistance to non-state schools.
    • Education (General Provisions) Act 1989: Two significant amendments were made to this Act including criminal history checking of mature age students. The Act also required the governing bodies of non-state schools that are eligible for government funding under the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001 to provide the Minister with financial data on a yearly basis.
    • Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2005: This Act amended the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001 to ensure that funds only go to schools that are not being operated for profit.
    • Education (Teacher Registration) Act 1988: The Minister announced a review of the functions and powers of the Board of Teacher Registration.
    • Grammar Schools Act 1975: Technical amendments were made to clarify electoral eligibility.
  • The implementation of the Education and Training Reforms for the Future (ETRF) continued including:
    • phasing in the Preparatory Year at a further 21 State schools and five non-State schools, and prepared for the introduction of a full-time, non-compulsory prep year in 2007
    • progressing the implementation of the Middle Phase of Learning State School Action Plan
    • completing the 3 year trial of the Senior Phase of Learning reforms.
    • comencing the implementation of the Smart Classrooms strategy.
  • The Bound for Success — Education Strategy for Torres Strait was developed to improve educational outcomes for all students across the Torres Strait and Cape York.
  • A planning framework was developed to improve Indigenous student outcomes through the launch of:
    • Crossing Cultures: It's Everyone's Business, a cross-cultural awareness package
    • Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools resource.
  • The Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting (QCAR) Framework was developed.
  • The Literacy — the Key to Learning: Framework for Action 2006–2008 was developed to improve student achievement across all phases of learning.
  • The Smart Choices: Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland Schools was developed.
  • The Education Adjustment Program Beginning School profile was developed and implemented.
  • The development of two Queensland Academies commenced.
  • A review of homework for Queensland students was initiated.
  • The Code of School Behaviour was developed as part of the Better Behaviour, Better Learning initiative.
  • The Queensland College of Teachers was established.
  • The Indigenous Education Leadership Institute was launched.
  • The Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005 and Regulation commenced on 1 January 2006. It established the Queensland College of Teachers to continue and enhance the work of the previous Board of Teacher Registration.
  • The Youth Participation in Education and Training Act and Regulation commenced on 1 January 2006. It required students to complete Year 10 and to participate in further education, training or work for two years once they had completed Year 10.
  • The Education (General Provisions) Amendment Regulation (no.1) 2005 prescribed the relevant fee which applies to certain persons enrolled in a program of distance education. The Regulation provides that the fee may be waived in certain circumstances.


  • The Department of Education, Training and the Arts was created.
  • The state-wide introduction of the non-compulsory Preparatory (Prep) Year commenced.
  • The Early Years Curriculum Guidelines were developed for use in Prep.
  • The Senior Phase of Learning reforms were implemented.
  • Students who completed Year 10 were the first students eligible to have their workplace, university and community learning achievements recorded as part of the new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE).
  • The Smart Classrooms strategy continued.
  • The Smart Choices — the Healthy Food and Drink Supply Strategy for Queensland Schools became mandatory. Healthy lifestyle was promoted through the Safe and Healthy Schools policy.
  • The first two Queensland Academies accepted enrolments. Their curriculum framework was based on the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Program.
  • The Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting (QCAR) Framework was further developed.
  • The Literacy the Key to Learning: Framework for Action 2006-2008 was released.
  • Regional Literacy Managers were appointed and trained. Heads of Curriculum (HOC) positions were allocated in primary and special schools.
  • The Partners for Success Strategy, to improve education and employment outcomes for Indigenous students, continued.
  • The Bound for Success: Education Strategy for Cape York was released to improve the education outcomes of students in Cape York.
  • The Industry School Engagement Strategy continued through:
    • the Aerospace Project
    • the Queensland College of Wine Tourism and educational/work experience opportunities for students through seven Wine Industry Gateway Schools
    • the Trade Immersion Program
    • the ICT Gateway Schools Project
    • the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy.
  • Aviation High, the hub for 17 gateway schools in the Aerospace Project, opened.
  • The State Schools of Tomorrow initiative commenced.
  • Class sizes were reduced in Years 4 to 10 from 30 to 28 students.
  • The Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 was passed.
  • The Education Legislation Amendment Act 2006 amended several portfolio Acts including:
    • Education (General Provisions) Act 2006
    • Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005
    • Education (Queensland Studies Authority) Act 2002.
    • Minor and consequential amendments to:
      • Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001
      • Education (Queensland Studies Authority) Act 2002
      • Freedom of Information Act 1992
      • Higher Education (General Provisions) Act 2003.
  • Phase 1 of the Queensland Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting (QCAR) Framework was completed in conjunction with the Queensland Studies Authority.
  • QCAR Essential Learnings released in all schools.
  • Queensland Academy for Health Sciences opened.
  • Year of Physical Activity launched integrating physical activities into the school curricula.
  • Smart Moves: Physical Activity Programs was launched.
  • The first full cohort of Prep commenced.
  • The implementation of the four year transition program to Auslan commenced.
  • Asbestos Roof Replacement Program completed.
  • Water-saving devices installed in schools and TAFE institutes.
  • The whole-of-department Indigenous Learning and Arts Strategic Plan 2008–2011 was developed.
  • Pre-Prep Program was implemented across 35 indigenous communities.
  • Numeracy: Lifelong Confidence with Mathematics Framework for Action 2007–2010 was launched.
  • New national testing commenced. Years 3, 5, 7 and for the first time, Year 9 students took part in the first National Assessment Program—Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). This testing replaced state based assessments.
  • A comprehensive flexible and sustainable information management system, OneSchool, was deployed. Release One provided classroom teachers with easy access to information about each student in their class from a centralised data source.
  • Work continued in partnership with industry to establish five School Industry Trade Centres to address skills shortages in sectors such as marine and allied trade, engineering, manufacturing and mining.
  • The first statutory TAFE institute was established. The former Southbank TAFE was transferred to a separate Statutory Authority named Southbank Institute of Technology (SBIT) under the reforms made to the Vocational Education, Training and Employment Act 2000.
  • The Strategic Energy Management Plan to support the whole-of-Government Strategic Energy Efficiency Policy (SEEP) was developed.
  • The Towards a 10-year plan for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education skills in Queensland discussion paper was developed.
  • The Science Education Strategy 2006–2009 focused on the provision of targeted high-quality professional development for primary and secondary teachers of Science.
  • The Office for Early Childhood Education and Care (OECEC) was established with responsibility for early childhood development, education policy and childcare services.
  • Machinery-of-government changes created the Department of Education and Training which was restructured to deliver on seven priority areas.
  • The first Queensland Certificates of Education (QCE) were issued to Year 12 students.
  • Professor Geoff Masters reviewed Queensland's curriculum and educational standards for primary school students.
  • Mandatory practice tests for literacy and numeracy for Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 were introduced following the delivery of Professor Masters' interim report.
  • All five recommendations of Professor Masters' final report, A Shared Challenge: Improving Literacy, Numeracy and Science Learning in Queensland Primary Schools were endorsed. 
  • A range of measures were implemented in response to human swine flu pandemic to minimise the risk to school communities.
  • The Tomorrow's Schools initiative continued to modernise learning environments in schools.
  • The Building the Education Revolution (BER) program was implemented.
  • Improvements in Science teaching were made a priority.
  • Programs addressing the gaps between the outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous students continued.
  • Embedding Indigenous Perspectives in Schools Framework offered educational administrators and teachers the strategies to implant Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives across all areas of school practice.
  • The transition to Australian Sign Language (AUSLAN) as the language of instruction for deaf and hearing impaired students continued.
  • The first School Industry Trade Centre in Civil Construction at Caboolture State High School opened.
  • The construction and modernisation of training infrastructure continued.
  • Gold Coast Institute of TAFE became a statutory TAFE Institute.
  • A Trade Training Taskforce was established.
  • Industry school engagement continued through partnering with industry, Gateway School Projects, industry, education and training alliances, schools in industry trade centres, skill centres and trade training centres
  • Centres of excellence were established to lead and influence priority industries including manufacturing and engineering, mining, energy and construction.
  • A green paper about the future of education in Queensland, A Flying Start for Queensland Children proposed changes to schooling.
  • Strategies were implemented to ensure that all four-year-olds have access to a kindergarten program by 2014.
  • The draft curriculum for Phase 1 learning areas for Prep (K)–10 in English, mathematics, science and history was released for consultation by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). Draft Years 11 and 12 Australian Curriculum for Phase 1 was also released for consultation.
  • A range of programs were in place focussing on improving teaching and learning of literacy and numeracy as well as school based initiatives.
  • The first Summer Schools program was held as part of the Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan and involved some students in Years 5, 6 and 7 across Queensland.
  • The Department worked with the Council of Australian Governments (COAG)  to implement reforms through Queensland’s plans for the many strategies and National Partnership Agreements.
  • The Masters’ Review resulted in efforts at the state and national level to improve the performance of students in literacy, numeracy and science.
  • The Queensland Education Leadership Institute was established in line with Masters’ recommendation for greater support for school leaders.
  • A progress report on the implementation of Queensland Education Performance Review was released.
  • The Closing the Gap Education Strategy was launched.
  • An independent skills commission, Skills Queensland was established.
  • Elements of the Queensland Skills Plan were implemented.
  • Programs in place to meet the Toward Q2 target in the VET system included User Choice, pre-apprenticeship and continuing commitment to school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.
  • The review of industry engagement mechanisms was completed. 
  • Delivery of education reforms through A Flying Start for Queensland Children initiatives, which address three priorities:
    • Getting ready for school:
      • All children will have access to quality early childhood education.
      • Release of the Queensland Kindergarten Learning Guideline.
      • Release of the Early Childhood Education and Care Workforce Action Plan 2010-2013.
      • Kindergartens were established on some state school sites.
      • Established and extended the Queensland Ready Reader Program.
    • Getting ready for high school:
      • Announcement of the introduction of Junior Secondary from 2013.
      • In June 2011, the department announced the transition of year 7 to secondary schooling from 2015.
    • Boosting school performance:
      • Established the Queensland Education Leadership Institute.
  • Preparation commenced for the implementation of the Australian Curriculum in 2012.
    • Initiated the Curriculum into the Classroom Project to support state teachers implement the Australian Curriculum.
  • Worked with the Commonwealth to implement the National Quality Framework as part of the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education.
  • Commenced the Learn Earn Legend! — Year 12 Destinations initiative trialled for 2 years.
  • Continued the implementation of the Department's Closing the Gap Education Strategy.
  • Continued the literacy and numeracy plans and strategies that were already in place.
  • Continuing the implementation of the Smart Classrooms initiatives and Computers for Teachers Program to improve student, teacher and parent access to digital learning materials.
  • Continuing the OneSchool initiative, which supports the department's core business of learning, teaching and curriculum.
  • The Learning Place, which was​ the department's comprehensive eLearning environment, assisted schools who were affected by the Queensland flood crisis by providing access to eClassroom resources and activities.
  • The Queensland Skills Plan was finalised.
  • Skills Queensland was established.
  • The Department continued taking lead responsibility for the Smart target of Toward Q2: Tomorrow's Queensland.
  • Implemented the Working Together Against Bullying suite of resources.
  • The Health, Safety and Wellbeing Management Framework 2011-2015 was released.
  • Recovery and rebuilding effort for schools and TAFEs affected by widespread flooding across Queensland, and by Cyclone Yasi.


Photograph: Queen Victoria Diamond Jubilee Memorial Technical College, Ipswich, opened in 1901.

Photograph: Gympie State High School (1924).
Female teachers

A study tracing major developments of women's employment in education.


A chronology of Directors-General of Education from 1876 to preset.


A chronology of Ministers for Education from 1876 to present.

Last updated 25 January 2023