The Department of Education (the Department) is committed to giving all children a great start, engaging young people in learning, creating safe and inclusive workplaces and investing in communities for a strong Queensland.
In 2020–21, we focused on learning continuity and the wellbeing of children, students, families, our workforce and our communities. As the impacts of the COVID-19 health pandemic continued to be felt, we innovated, adapted and worked together, at every level, to ensure our essential services continued to be delivered in every Queensland community.
The Government announced that Racing would join the Department from 12 November 2020 as part of Machinery of Government changes. The addition of Racing extends the Department’s focus to support a sustainable racing industry in Queensland.
In our diverse workplaces and under challenging situations, the extraordinary efforts of our dedicated staff ensured continuity of service. Those efforts were acknowledged at the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Excellence with our learning@home resources, work to facilitate online learning, and Merrimac State High School’s mental health and wellbeing program receiving recognition.
At the end of 2020, more than 49,600 students in Queensland were the first graduates in the new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) system, eligible to receive an Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). Representing strong success in the first implementation cycle of the new system and despite facing the challenges of the COVID-19 health pandemic, 95.9% of Year 12 completers from state schools were awarded a QCE or Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement (QCIA).
At the start of the 2021 school year, five new south-east Queensland state schools opened, with Queensland state schools welcoming approximately 582,000 students, 54,000 teachers and 19,000 teacher aides.
Our diversity is our strength and during the past year, the Department launched several initiatives including:
- Inclusive education and students with disability: ensuring students from all backgrounds, of all identities and all abilities can access and participate in education and achieve success.
- Flexible by Design framework 2020–23: fostering an inclusive and high-performing workplace culture that is responsive to current and future needs and helps the Department attract and retain capable people.
- Engaging communities: empowering futures framework: enhancing engagement between the Department and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities in Queensland.
- Early Years Plan: setting out actions across Government to achieve the vision for all Queensland children to have a great start in life.
In July 2020, the Department implemented an Integrity and Governance Reform program to strengthen our commitment to organisational integrity, accountability, transparency and effective governance. Since then, we have introduced mandatory Management Foundations training for leaders and managers and held integrity workshops for staff across the state.
We continue to embed the
Human Rights Act 2019 and are committed to creating a stronger, fairer Queensland by respecting, protecting and promoting human rights in everything we do.
Following the 2020 State Election, we have been collaborating within Government and with our stakeholders to implement over 400 government election commitments.
We have worked with Racing Queensland to administer the Racing Infrastructure Fund and Country Racing Program to continue to support a sustainable racing industry in Queensland.
Finally, we introduced a new, simple and low-cost wage recovery system on 1 March 2021 for Queensland workers who have been underpaid to recover wages easily.
These are just a few highlights during a challenging 2020–21 period that saw Queenslanders work and learn together in new ways.
I would like to acknowledge the dedication and hard work of all staff and stakeholders as we establish our new normal and continue to support Queensland to unite, recover and succeed into the future.