The Department of Education is committed to ensuring Queensland remains a great place to learn, work and live, now and in the future, by providing access to quality early childhood education and care, high performing state and non-state schools, and safe and fair workplaces and communities. During this past year Queenslanders have faced many challenges and the services provided by the department have been at the forefront of supporting communities across the state during disaster events and the disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In 2019, we saw the last cohort of Year 12 Queensland students receive an Overall Position tertiary entrance rank before the introduction of the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank. Significant work has occurred to support students and teachers through the implementation of the new senior assessment system, ensuring a smooth transition. The start of the 2020 school year saw the largest number of students attending schools in Queensland.
The health and wellbeing of our workforce has remained at the forefront of our priorities, particularly during the pandemic. This year we launched the
Pause program—providing wellbeing support for teachers across our state, a new Teachers’ Certified Agreement formally addressing teacher workload, and additional programs through the department’s
We All Belong workforce diversity and inclusion framework.
We have continued to design and deliver learning environments for our future state, opening a record number of eight new schools in 2020. This included the first school in over 50 years for inner-city Brisbane, Fortitude Valley State Secondary College.
We continued upgrade works at 26 schools through the $235 million
Renewing Our Schools (RoS) program, and installed solar systems and energy efficiency measures at more than 290 Queensland schools through the $97 million
Advancing Clean Energy Schools program. This has been the most significant infrastructure investment in decades, enhancing school infrastructure, establishing long-term master plans to support state schools and supporting over 240 new jobs in local communities through the RoS program.
In response to recommendations of the Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland, we developed the new
5 year strategic plan for work, health and safety in Queensland 2019–23. The plan outlines our priority areas to foster a culture of health and safety and guarantee Queensland leads the way in designing healthy and safe work practices that embrace innovation and technology.
What we could not have predicted was the challenging and difficult start to 2020. Like all Queenslanders, we stood together to respond and recover from the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Throughout the year I have been inspired by the resilience and leadership demonstrated by staff across our schools and centres and the department, and the commitment of parents and families as they supported their children and young people through this challenging time. Through partnerships with Channels 7, 9 and 10 and in association with teaching and learning specialists we delivered Reading@HomeTV, Coding@HomeTV and Learning@HomeTV and curriculum-based content for Kindergarten to Year 12 to support home-based learning for students right across Queensland.
We are committed to delivering legislative reforms and regulatory improvements to the state's industrial relations, workplace health and safety, and electrical safety systems. Our new safety regulations for amusement rides and theme parks and protections for the growing commercial solar farm industry, Best Practice Review of Workplace Health and Safety Queensland and continuing Ride Ready quad bike safety campaign are ensuring Queenslanders are safe in their homes and workplaces.
While the way we live, learn and work might be different, what remains stronger than ever is the dedication of our people to supporting the education and care of young Queenslanders, and the health and wellbeing of our people. This would not be possible without the hard work and enthusiasm of our staff.
I look forward to the year ahead, and leveraging these new ways of working and learning together to support Queenslanders to succeed in our ever-changing world.