In just over a week, principals from every corner of the state will converge on the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre for the 2011 Principal's Conference. With conference registrations closing tomorrow (19 February), the response from principals has been outstanding. There are more than 1200 principals registered to attend, including principals from some of our worst flood and cyclone-affected areas. Thank you to everyone who has made special personal and travel arrangements to participate. The program and pre-conference reading materials will be available to registered principals through the Learning Place from next week.
Yesterday's announcement that 28 new kindergarten services will be fast tracked to open next year was exciting news for parents and the early childhood sector. These kindergartens will open at our state primary schools well ahead of the original 2013-2014 schedule. It will mean that hundreds of Queensland children will be able to participate in a quality early childhood education from next year. This represents a significant leap forward in the Queensland Government's commitment to provide universal access to quality kindergarten services by 2014. For a list of fast-tracked locations or further information, please visit the department's website.
Eleven aspiring teachers from rural and remote parts of Queensland were presented with their Bid O'Sullivan Teaching Scholarships at Parliament House on Wednesday. The scholarships, aimed at increasing the number of teachers in isolated areas, are valued at $20,000 each. I congratulate recipients and wish them all the very best as they begin their education studies at universities over the next couple weeks. The department has been encouraging rural and remote school leavers into teaching careers by offering these scholarships annually since 1999. It is wonderful to see the majority of early scholarship recipients now enjoying rewarding teaching careers in Queensland.
A new awards program has been introduced to recognise staff for their achievements in the workplace. Nominations for the inaugural Department of Education and Training Staff Excellence Awards are open until the end of next month. Given the recent floods and cyclones, I would particularly encourage staff to nominate a work colleague who has played a significant role in supporting the disaster relief efforts. Please refer to the department's website for details.
Staff may also like to consider nominating a friend, colleague, family member, community leader or institution for the prestigious Queensland Greats Awards . The awards recognise Queenslanders who have made a significant contribution to making our state great. Previous recipients include the University of Queensland, Aboriginal educator Pearl Duncan, artist William Robinson and medical scientist Professor Lawrie Powell AC.
If you have any queries regarding departmental initiatives, please send them to the Inquiries Mailbox.