We are supporting the learning and wellbeing needs of each and every student so they are confident, capable and equipped with the skills and knowledge to become successful lifelong learners and achieve participation in their communities.
The many lessons we learned in 2020—flexibility, adaptability and resilience—have continued to influence how we respond to challenges and opportunities.
Supporting the needs of each and every student remains at the centre of our pandemic response and recovery as we explore new ways of learning and teaching.
Supporting student wellbeing
Nurturing the wellbeing of our students is a key priority for the department and has been the driver behind the decision to increase the number of wellbeing professionals in Queensland state schools.
We want every Queensland primary and secondary state school student to have access to a wellbeing professional, such as a psychologist. Over the next 3 years, additional wellbeing professionals will ensure students across the state have access to wellbeing and mental health support at school.
During 2020–21, extensive planning has been undertaken to implement a General Practitioners (GPs) in Schools Pilot over 3 years. Commencing on 1 July 2021, the pilot will place GPs in 20 Queensland state secondary schools in areas of greatest need.
Supporting youth engagement
Some young people face multiple barriers and require additional support to remain engaged with education and to strengthen their pathways. To respond to this, the department is implementing a number of youth engagement initiatives aimed at supporting every young person to succeed, including those who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging.
In 2020, Regional Youth Engagement Hubs connected with and supported 4,422 disengaged school-aged young people, with 2,410 supported to make a transition into education, training or employment. Additionally, as at 30 July 2021, Link and Launch had assisted 1,144 young people, with 764 making a successful transition.
Flexispaces have been established, or are currently being established, in 32 schools across Queensland, with a further 20 to be implemented in 2022. These spaces provide a high-quality inclusive, flexible learning environment within mainstream high schools to engage and retain students who are at risk of disengaging.
Innovating through EDTV: State Schools Education Television
We continue to find new and innovative ways to support our teachers and school leaders.
In 2020, we launched EDTV: State Schools Education Television, which targets the engine room of school improvement—effective pedagogical practices, expert teaching teams and systematic curriculum delivery.
Short videos provide a range of useful content, including snapshots of best practice, ideas for adapting practice to a local school context and segments on departmental policies and resources.
EDTV episodes are released monthly to a subscriber base of more than 2,300 educators and the videos have been watched more than 15,000 times.
Listening to students’ voices
Through two meetings of the Ministerial Student Advisory Council in 2020–21, student members shared their views, providing feedback and advice to the Minister for Education on the impacts of the COVID-19 health pandemic on student learning and wellbeing, factors impacting safe and respectful school communities and respectful relationships education, and consent and reporting.
Every student with disability succeeding
We continue our journey towards a more inclusive education system where students of all abilities can attend their local school, access and participate in high-quality education, learn in safe and supportive environments and achieve academically and socially. We have implemented 16 of the 17 Queensland Disability Review recommendations, with implementation of the final recommendation currently in progress. Significant achievements include:
- an internationally recognised inclusive education policy
- clarity for school staff on the use of restrictive practices
- building school capability
- strategies to improve parent engagement.
During 2020–21, other activities which supported every student with a disability succeeding included:
- delivery of direct instruction online to students using Auslan in the areas of English (primary and secondary) and wellbeing (secondary)—connecting very isolated deaf and hard of hearing students with qualified teachers of the deaf and Auslan language models (deaf or hard of hearing teacher aides)
- delivering the 'I Can Do Braille' and 'Braille Booster' programs connecting students with vision impairment to qualified teachers of the vision impaired through a virtual platform.
Our workforce is crucial to building inclusive learning environments and we continue to build the capability of educators, schools and regions in the leadership and implementation of inclusive practices in the teaching of reading and writing.
We also collaborated with Wesley Mission Queensland and Yeronga Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP) to deliver a bilingual bicultural kindergarten pilot in 2021, which includes co-teaching and co-delivery by an early childhood kindergarten teacher and an early years teacher of children who are deaf or hard of hearing.
Across 2020–21, we delivered the Inclusive Leadership program to over 190 middle leaders across Queensland. This program focuses on strengthening the capability of middle leaders and deputy principals to influence inclusive culture, policies and processes within their context to impact the outcomes of students. The program provides a closer exploration of the knowledge, skills and confidence to lead and develop others for effective leadership of inclusive school communities.
Culturally responsive teaching and learning for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
We acknowledge the diversity in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities and the importance of engaging appropriately with them at an individual, school and corporate level. We know that positive engagement is key to improving early childhood and education outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and students.
During the year, we launched the engaging communities: empowering futures framework to enhance engagement between our employees and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and communities in Queensland. Aligned to the framework, the Local Community Engagement through Co-design pilot was commenced, which offers a strategy for schools to establish, maintain and leverage relationships with the local Indigenous community to co- design strategies that will assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to succeed.
Advancing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education: An Action Plan for Queensland was launched in October 2019 and comprised a range of actions designed to achieve excellence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and students. A 2020 progress report was published in April 2021, highlighting significant achievements in implementing the plan since its release.
Supporting positive transitions from early education to school
We continue to improve children’s transition from home to early education and into schooling through the Step up into Education initiative. This initiative is helping deliver our vision of building a strong capable workforce by developing ongoing partnerships between educators, early learning centres and providers, families and communities to support all children to successfully transition to school.
By the end of June 2021, 7 Spotlight schools had received onsite coaching and mentoring from recognised transition research partners to strengthen workforce capability regarding transition to school and early years curriculum and pedagogy. This intensive support will continue over the course of the initiative, with an additional $4 million being invested from 2021–24.
Implementing the new Queensland Certificate of Education system
Throughout 2020, we supported our state schools to implement the new QCE system, which represents the most significant change to senior secondary education in Queensland in over 40 years. We successfully implemented the system through a range of strategic initiatives including provision of the new QCE system—Statement of Expectations, which outlined key actions to ensure a seamless system-wide transition complemented by a range of capability development activities and resources.
As a result of these efforts in 2020, 95.9% of Year 12 completers from state schools were awarded a QCE or Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement (QCIA), representing strong success in the first implementation cycle of the new system, which included changes in response to the COVID-19 health pandemic.
Embracing science, technology, engineering and mathematics
We are working to ensure students are engaged in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and providing them with the opportunities they need to develop as problem solvers and critical, creative thinkers.
During 2020–21, key activities supporting students, teachers and schools to engage with STEM included the:
- Premier’s Coding Challenge #digitalwellbeingqld encouraging student creativity and engagement in coding and robotics, and providing an opportunity for Queensland students in years 3 to 10 to showcase and celebrate their innovation and achievements.
- STEM Girl Power initiative which has grown from just 22 girls in 2016 to 55 in 2020–21. Students come from all over Queensland to network with like-minded peers and meet with female role models pursuing diverse STEM careers.
- STEM Industry Partnerships Forum which delivered an online event in 2020 showcasing how partnerships and programs shifted in response to COVID-19 and learning@home, the lessons learned and how impact was measured.
- M in STEM initiative supporting 8 clusters involving 32 schools to plan and implement a mathematics improvement initiative. The professional learning suite co-developed with mathematics education researchers will strengthen secondary mathematics pedagogy with evidence-based approaches.
- ICT Capability Hub which transforms the previous contemporary practice resource by unpacking the learning continuum, updating the tools and strengthening the ICT links to all learning areas
- Queensland Virtual STEM Academies (QVSA) initiative which focused on engaging highly capable STEM students from years 5 to 9. The initiative delivered 100 programs to 1,693 students from 141 schools, through 1,178 hours of online delivery, with 58% of the participating students from rural and remote schools.
Preparing the new Homework Centres
In 2020–21, we commenced planning for the opening of Homework Centres in up to 120 state school sites starting in Term 3, 2021. These centres will provide students with a supportive, supervised environment after-school to complete their homework before they go home and support their current classroom learning.
The Queensland Government is investing $8 million over4 years to fund resources and teacher aide wages for up to 3 hours per week, for 30 weeks per year. All Homework Centres will be operational during Term 3, 2021.
Building capability in the inclusive teaching of reading
In 2020–21, the Reading and Writing Centre continued to strategically partner with regions and the Centres for Learning and Wellbeing to build capability of leaders and educators to succeed in the inclusive teaching of reading, from implementation to sustainability. Guided by the evidence base, schools are enhancing pedagogical approaches to the way reading is taught to meet the learning needs of all students.
The Reading and Writing Centre’s speech language advisors are supporting inclusive educational teams to identify and implement best practice in the prevention, identification and intervention of reading and writing disorders. This has been supported by the co-design and delivery of 52 context-driven professional learning opportunities attended by over 2,000 participants, and engaging more than 600 parents and educators through the Reading and Writing Disorders Advisory Service.
Supporting our rural and remote state schools
The advancing rural and remote education in Queensland state schools action plan continues to deliver positive outcomes for our staff, students and families in rural and remote Queensland. During 2020, our Centres for Learning and Wellbeing continued to provide a wide-range of professional learning and wellbeing support to rural and remote teachers and school leaders within the centres’ catchment, both face-to-face and virtually.
Reflecting the breadth of service delivery, the numbers of staff and school leaders accessing the centres increased from over 5,200 in 2019, to over 9,200 in 2020. In 2020, the centres delivered over 42,700 hours of professional learning, providing leadership development, mentoring of beginning teachers, coaching to mid-career and experienced teachers, resilience-building for staff new to rural and remote settings, and wellbeing support to staff, students and families. In April 2021, the centres were awarded an Australian Rural Education Award (AREA) by the Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia (SPERA) for excellence in the delivery of a project that benefits rural and remote communities.
The action plan has also resulted in the refurbishment of 189 employee houses in 2020–21 and 565 residences becoming internet-enabled through the Housing Improvement program. Other key actions include the delivery of Take the Lead programs for aspiring rural and remote leaders, opportunities for urban teachers to experience living and working in a rural or remote community through the Teacher Experience program and the training of parents and home tutors of School of Distance Education students to support their child’s reading through the Partners in Learning program.
Supporting principal and staff wellbeing
In 2020, the Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy 2020–22 was launched, an $8 million investment to improve mental and physical health and wellbeing outcomes for all Queensland state school principals and leaders.
The strategy delivered 8 initiatives through the 2020–21 action plan to support school leaders as they manage complex school environments and drive the education of our state school children.
Under the strategy, the department implemented: a new policy to address unreasonable complainant conduct; a Management Foundations program which assists managers to understand their roles, responsibilities and accountabilities; and a Principal Coaching and Support Service that supports school leaders following a potentially traumatic incident, and provides training targeted at managing stress and building resilience more broadly.
One key outcome is the delivery of a multi-tiered service team, the Principal Hotline and Complex Matters Referral Team, that provides principals within the regions with direct and immediate wraparound support and assistance on matters that arise in the day-to-day management and leadership of their school. This service, trialled initially in the Darling Downs South West and North Coast regions, also provides principals with a single point of reference for dedicated case management of critical or complex matters, including facilitation and mediation services for issues that arise with parents/caregivers or community members. The service continues to be expanded across all state school regions.
A new optional Parent and Community Code of Conduct and support resources for state schools were released during 2020–21. The code outlines how parents, carers and visitors should conduct themselves while they are on school grounds, at school events or engaging with other members of the school community. The code supports the department’s Principal Health and Wellbeing Strategy and contributes to schools as safe and respectful workplaces and places of learning.
Health, safety and injury management
Our Work Health and Safety (WHS) Management System details the statutory compliance requirements and departmental expectations for working safely and proactively, and to ensure hazard-reduction strategies across all of our schools and workplaces are known and implemented. Our strategies are aimed at preventing, mitigating and reducing work-related injuries and protecting staff from harm.
Our WHS Management System enables staff to easily access information on work health and safety topics. All staff are encouraged to contribute to the ongoing development of the system via workplace consultation on work health and safety matters.
The department places a strong emphasis on the support and rehabilitation of injured workers, assisting them to return to work in the shortest possible timeframe.
The department has continued its commitment to promoting and sustaining a safe and healthy workplace–one that values inclusion and ensures a healthy, resilient and capable workforce.
In 2020–21, a key focus was to review and update existing arrangements, policies and procedures for WHS and wellbeing to align them with the structure, composition and organisational priorities of the department. Initiatives undertaken to support this included:
- formation of the Safety Framework Review project, charged with identifying gaps and areas for improvement within our WHS Management System and ensuring actions are put in place to address those gaps
- provision of clear, accurate and concise advice on the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- working with key internal and external stakeholders to ensure prompt communication and implementation of advice issued by Queensland Health
- developing resources to support managers and staff
- designing and implementing flexible work guidance and a supporting checklist to enable staff to set up a safe workspace while working remotely
- continuing to implement measures to support the physical and mental health of staff during a dynamic and rapidly changing period.
- delivering campaigns to increase staff awareness and participation in workplace health, safety and wellbeing initiatives, including National Safe Work Month and Mental Health Awareness Week
- induction and awareness training for all staff who work in or around practical workshops, ensuring safety hazards are known and that a consistent risk management approach is undertaken.
To ensure there were opportunities for formal consultation on WHS matters between management and staff, we encouraged worksites to elect health and safety representatives, and establish health, safety and wellbeing committees.
WHS initiatives and programs were developed and implemented based on: analysis of claims data and trends, and continuous improvement of operations; consultation with key stakeholders including QSuper, WHS Queensland (WorkSafe) and staff representative groups; and internal consultation and feedback from principals, line managers and all staff.
The challenges we all faced this year as a result of the COVID-19 health pandemic made the importance of our focus on WHS, injury management and wellbeing even clearer. The wide-reaching impacts of the COVID-19 health pandemic are unprecedented and our response has been our most challenging yet significant achievement this year.
Working collaboratively and with agility, the department produced a comprehensive suite of work health and safety guidance and resources, and developed materials to support safe work practices and ensure our schools and workplaces remained as safe as reasonably practicable.
We will continue to work with our staff and stakeholders to refine and update our materials, and play our part in keeping Queensland safe.
Domestic and family violence
In June 2021, the department achieved White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation for a 3-year period. This follows the original White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation which was first achieved in November 2017. This accreditation recognises the continuing progress the department is making in creating a culture that does not accept domestic and family violence, promotes gender equity and provides support to staff affected by domestic and family violence.
Lifting school performance
Effective strategic planning allows schools to unite and commit their communities to a common improvement agenda in their local context, one which expects all students to attend and engage with schooling and learn successfully.
During 2020–21, we developed and released a new school performance policy suite to increase clarity in the roles, responsibilities and processes that support continuous evaluation and improvement of school performance.
Data literacy is a key capability for our schooling workforce to lift school performance. In 2021, we released a data literacy framework which guides school leaders and teachers and early childhood educators about the use of data to support learning and wellbeing for children and students, school improvement and early childhood education and care quality improvement.
The joint statement on the purpose and use of data in Queensland schools between the department and the Queensland Teachers’ Union was revised in February 2021. The joint statement aligns with the data literacy framework and the school performance policy, and also addresses contemporary issues with the use of data, including data ethics and the visual representation of data.
To ensure every student is learning and succeeding, the P–12 Curriculum, assessment and reporting framework (P–12 CARF) and suite of supporting attachments have been revised and rationalised. These documents make clear the requirements for curriculum, assessment, reporting and moderation across Prep to Year 12.
The revised P–12 CARF promotes inclusivity, ensuring that all students in all state schools can access and fully participate and achieve in the curriculum when the learning is personalised.
Service area performance
The following service standards in our Service Delivery Statement 2020–21 are used by the department and the government to assess overall performance of this service area.
School education performance measures
Average cost of services per student:
|Proportion of Year 12 students awarded Certification i.e. Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) or Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement4, 5, 6, 7||98%||95.9%|
|Proportion of Year 12 students who are completing or have completed a school-based apprenticeship or traineeship or were awarded one or more of: QCE, International Baccalaureate Diploma (IBD), or Vocational Education and Training qualification4, 5, 6, 7||98%||97.2%|
|Proportion of students who, 6 months after completing Year 12, are participating in education, training or employment8, 9||88%||75.1%|
|Proportion of parents satisfied with their child's school10, 11||94%||93.2%|
Average cost of services per student:
|Primary (Prep to Year 6)||$14,562||$14,570|
|Secondary (Year 7 to Year 12)||$15,432||$15,451|
|Students with disability||$31,925||$31,9488|
- These service standards relate to the state schooling sector only.
- The National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) testing in 2020 was cancelled due to the COVID-19 health pandemic.
- Indigenous: a person who identifies at enrolment to be of Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander origin.
- The 2020–21 actual reflects data for 2020 graduates provided by the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority as at April 2021.
- Certification includes the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) and Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement (QCIA).
- 2020 results include visa students (students who are not Australian citizens or permanent residents of Australia). Visa student are not included in results prior to 2020.
- The 2020 cohort was the first to complete Year 12 under new senior assessment and tertiary entrance arrangements. These have redeveloped senior syllabuses, strengthened school based assessment, introduced a common external assessment in each senior general subject area and replaced the OP rank with the Australian Tertiary Admission Rank (ATAR). This represents a break in time series for the QCE. Comparisons between 2020 and previous years should be interpreted with be caution.
- Students refers to Year 12 completers. Data is sourced from the Next Step Survey conducted by the department each year. The 2020–21 actual reflects the 2020 Next Step Survey data of 2020 Year 12 completers.
- The timing of the 2020 Next Step Survey (March to June 2020) corresponded with the highest level of COVID-19 health pandemic restrictions, with many businesses either shut down or severely impacted. This challenging environment is reflected in the 2020 results and should be taken into consideration when comparing against previous years.
- The proportion presents the aggregation of positive responses (somewhat agree, agree and strongly agree) to the statement this is a good school.
- In response to the impact of the COVID-19 health pandemic on Queensland state schools, the annual school opinion surveys of students, teachers and staff were not administered in 2020. Instead, parents and caregivers were asked to respond about their level of satisfaction as part of a COVID-19 survey. Changes in survey administration and the unique circumstances in which the survey was conducted have resulted in a time series break in data. Comparisons between 2020 and previous years should be interpreted with caution.