Primary school enrolment
Primary school consists of Prep to Year 6. Prep is the first year of schooling in Queensland. It is a full-time, school-based program and has a defined curriculum. From 2017, it is compulsory for all Queensland children to undertake Prep prior to commencing Year 1.
The only exceptions to compulsory participation in Prep are where:
- a child has undertaken education in another jurisdiction that is equivalent to Prep
- a child was registered for home education in the year prior to enrolment in a state or non-state school
- the principal is satisfied the child is ready to be enrolled in Year 1 taking into account the child's attributes.
To minimise disruption to schools and families, the new requirement will not apply to children already enrolled in Year 1 for 2017.
To enrol in Prep, children must be aged 5 years by 30 June in the year of proposed attendance. You can enrol your child in Prep by contacting the school directly, and you must provide proof of your child's date of birth (e.g. birth certificate, passport or visa.
Early or delayed entry to Prep are options which may be considered in specific circumstances and where it is in a child's best educational interest. These options should be discussed with the principal.
Information is available to help parents/carers support their child's
transition to school.
Preparing for the first day at school
Think about how you can best prepare your child for the first day at school:
- Have some practice runs before school starts and encourage your child to organise clean clothes, books and bag.
- Be sure your child has a balanced breakfast and pack a healthy lunch and snacks.
- Encourage your child to dress themselves. Look for clothes with easy fasteners.
- Label all belongings and find out where lost property is held at school.
- Avoid a rush. Leave home on time and allow time to say goodbye. At first you may stay a while to ensure your child feels secure. Once your child has settled in, a short and reassuring 'goodbye' encourages independence.
- Check what time schools finishes and arrive in plenty of time to collect your child.
Every day counts — including day 1
It is important that all students attend school from the very first day of the school year, and remain in routine attendance. If your child is unable to attend school for any reason including illness, transferring from interstate or overseas, extended family vacation, etc. it is essential for parents, guardians or caregivers to notify the school as soon as practical regarding the absence. Where possible, you should also provide the school with a return date for the child.
At the commencement of each school year, resources are allocated to schools — including teachers, teacher-aides and school based public servants — based upon the number of students enrolled and verified against attendance records at the school. It is imperative that the school has knowledge of your child's absences to verify continued enrolment and attendance for resourcing purposes.
Phone, email or visit the school your child is enrolled at to let them know your child will be attending, but is unable to be present on day 1 and why.
Students are eligible to enter the first year of secondary school, Year 7, after completing 6 years of primary education (Prep to Year 6). You may enrol your child in the local secondary school by contacting the school directly.
For many students their secondary school will be the closest to their homes; however, some parents choose to send their child to a different secondary school. This may be because of the curriculum that is available, or because the school has a specific focus.
It's a good idea to consider your preferences early in the previous year and see if your child is eligible to attend the school of your preference.
Parents are encouraged to attend information sessions at local schools to assist them to choose a school for their child.
Transition from primary to secondary school
The transition from primary to secondary school is an exciting time for students and their parents. It is the next stage in a lifelong educational journey leading to new experiences and challenges. The more informed you are, the more likely the experience will be positive for you and your child.
After the relatively familiar surroundings of the primary school, it can be daunting to move to a secondary school where there are many more teachers, new surroundings and a different approach to scheduling.
Secondary schools have different ways of introducing primary students to their school. Most students settle in quickly in response to the carefully designed transition programs initiated by schools.
Primary and secondary schools cooperate to ease students through this transition.
When changing schools:
- consider the timing of the move and if the move can coincide with the change of term
- involve your children in discussions and decisions about moving — this may help allay any fears or concerns they have
- if you are moving from another state, be aware that Year 6 is the final year of primary school in Queensland
- discuss the forthcoming move with your current school and collect documentation outlining student achievement levels and education history — this will help with appropriate placement at the new school
- prepare a list of your children's particular needs e.g. preferred subjects, sporting and other interests, transport needs, extracurricular activities
- consider subject choices, special education provisions, transport to and from school, vocational education programs, and cultural and sporting opportunities
- consider behaviour management, discipline and uniform policies.
If your child is enrolling from a non-state school to a state school (or vice versa), the new school can request a
transfer note (PDF, 209KB) from the previous school.
If your child has moved to Queensland from interstate, the new school can request consent from you to obtain your child's information from the previous school using the interstate student data transfer note. This system enables the new schools to support the educational placements of new students.
A transfer note is not required for students transferring their enrolment from one Queensland state school to another (including primary to secondary).
School leadership teams, in conjunction with the parents and citizens' association, decide on a student dress code, which reflects the needs and circumstances of that school community.
Hours of operation
Most schools hold classes from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday, except for public and school holidays and student-free days. See term dates and vacations. Principals may change school hours to suit local conditions. Some secondary schools also have flexible arrangements for students involved in vocational education and training and school-based apprenticeships and traineeships.
Outside school hours care
Many schools offer outside school hours care, before and after school, as well as school holiday programs. All children who are eligible to attend the school, including those enrolled in Prep Year, are eligible to be enrolled in outside school hours care subject to available places. These services are organised and operated by either parents and citizens' associations, non-profit community groups or commercial providers. Parents should contact their local school to determine if a service is available at their school.
On state school sites, outside school hours care is a separate entity to the school. It has its own philosophy, policies and procedures and is responsible for the employment of its own staff and all financial matters. It is important to remember that enrolling your child at the school does not automatically guarantee a place in outside school hours care. In areas of high demand, the local outside school hours service determines which children will be given priority.