We are investing in new infrastructure in high-growth areas, renewing our asset base and expanding our information technology infrastructure to meet the changing needs of today’s learners.
Our significant investment is supported by our Long-Term Financial Plan and Procurement Plan to ensure value for money and financial sustainability.
Building schools to meet community needs
As our communities across the state continue to grow, our infrastructure must keep pace.
In 2020–21, we invested $1.4 billion in infrastructure to provide Queensland children with world-class school facilities. The investment will support more jobs for Queenslanders and the economic recovery from the pandemic.
We opened 5 new state schools in 2021: 3 Sunshine Coast schools – Baringa State Secondary College in Caloundra, Palmview State School and Palmview Special School; Gainsborough State School on the Gold Coast; and Brisbane South State Secondary College.
Through our Renewing Our Schools program, we delivered 44 projects to 26 schools in 2021 to meet local school needs and priorities, including:
- multipurpose sports centres
- resource centres
- general learning areas
- science laboratories
- performing arts centres
- refurbishment of existing facilities
- information and technology hubs and communication upgrades.
We are providing air conditioning to 649 state schools under the Cooler Cleaner Schools Program and installing solar and other energy efficiency measures at more than 800 state schools under Advancing Clean Energy Schools. As at 30 June 2021, we have delivered air conditioning to 557 state schools and installed solar at 619 state schools.
Leveraging innovation in technology
Supporting the continuity of student learning during the learning-at-home phase of the COVID-19 health pandemic required a rapid response. A learning-at-home model for the whole state was delivered in record time through expanded information technology infrastructure, enhancements to existing systems and delivery of online learning tools. During 2020–21, this work was further implemented, embedded and maintained and received recognition at the 2020 Premier’s Awards for Excellence.
Delivery of professional development resources also continued to support the exponential uplift of digital engagement and capability for both students and staff, post the COVID-19 health pandemic response phase.
A week-long online conference with 22 interactive workshops was held for teachers across the state to support this professional development. A highlight of the conference was a live link with the astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS). Six students from Mt Crosby State School, Runcorn Heights State School and Victoria Point State High School had the opportunity to ask the National Aeronautics and Space Administration astronaut, Commander Chris Cassidy, several questions as the ISS orbited overhead.
To improve automated and connected processes, the department implemented self-service password resets for staff.
A new arrangement between the department and First Nations owned and operated information technology company Baidam Solutions commenced to connect Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students with the department’s technology specialists to experience working in the industry.
To support the safety of staff, students and community during this period of rapid deployment and use of new technologies and learning platforms, we conducted information technology security awareness campaigns, focusing on: educating parents/carers, teachers, students and corporate staff against cyber threats; and social media awareness including spam and phishing emails, use of cloud services, social media practices and general maintenance of strong passwords and passphrases.