The Office for Early Childhood Education and Care is working with the early childhood education and care sector to collaboratively implement important early years reform in Queensland.
The reform agenda for early childhood education and care is far reaching, and will affect service providers, the early childhood education and care workforce, and families and children.
The early years' reform agenda focuses on three key areas:
- the Toward Q2: Tomorrow's Queensland initiative, which was announced in late 2008. A specific focus is the target that all children will receive access to a quality kindergarten program so they are ready for school
- an early years strategy to provide a comprehensive, whole-of-government approach to enhancing the health, development, learning, safety and wellbeing of young children from birth to eight years of age, and their families
- the need to lead Queensland's input into the Council of Australian Governments' National Reform Agenda.
The office seeks to strengthen its partnership with Queensland's early childhood education and care sector to ensure that the sector's knowledge, experience and perspectives inform the development and implementation of the reform agenda.
Early Childhood Education and Care Forum
This consultation forum was established in May 2009 and includes representatives from:
- service providers
- peak organisations
- training bodies.
This forum advises the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care on how to better support families and provide integrated early childhood services.
Kindergarten Implementation Reference Group
This group plays a key role in refining Queensland's strategy for achieving universal access to kindergarten. The group was established in December 2008 and meets monthly.
Membership of the Kindergarten Implementation Reference Group includes representatives from stakeholder organisations, kindergarten and childcare service providers and unions.
Unique Solutions Working Group
This working group commenced in April 2009. A small number of external stakeholders meet with staff from the Office for Early Childhood Education and Care to provide leadership on innovative service delivery strategies and approaches; for example, reaching isolated, disadvantaged and Indigenous families.
The Queensland Government invited public and school community consultation on Professor Geoff Masters' final report for the Queensland Education Performance Review, A Shared Challenge: Improving Literacy, Numeracy and Science Learning in Queensland Primary Schools.
During the consultation period of 1-29 May 2009, the government received almost 200 submissions in response to the report's five recommendations. The submissions came from a broad cross-section of education stakeholders, although nearly 70 per cent were from school staff and parents. The consultation informed the Queensland Government's response to the report to improve the outcomes of all Queensland primary school students.
See more information about the Masters Review
P&Cs play an important role in education services through their active participation in school activities. Currently, approximately 1258 individual P&Cs work closely with their state schools. This partnership produces better outcomes for students in the local community and across the state. In most schools, the P&C also contributes major financial and physical resources.
The P&C is an integral part of a school's planning, budgeting and reporting. Its role in the total school community is to ensure that the synthesis between the immediate school environment and the P&C's operations maximises the educational outcomes of its school students.
Shared information between a school and its P&C is vital to ensure that the school operates according to common goals and objectives.
P&Cs' roles and responsibilities are outlined in the Parents and Citizens' operational manual.
Advice regarding financial practice is outlined in the Accounting for Parents and Citizens' Associations manual.
Partnerships with P&Cs and volunteers are vital to build successful school communities.
P&Cs engage parents and the community in shaping their school and its environment by:
- offering advice to school principals on issues regarding students, and other general operational and management issues at the school
- conducting regular meetings that enable parents and community members to raise issues and advocate for school improvements
- promoting cooperation between parents, the broader community, school staff and students
- providing resources and services for the benefit of students, and the improvement and maintenance of schools through special projects
- organising community-orientated activities associated with significant school events
- arranging subcommittees to manage tuckshops, bookshops or similar services.
The new model constitution for P&Cs was introduced in June 2008 and implemented in schools in Term 3 2008. This new model ensures that P&Cs comply with the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006 and other regulation changes that affect them.
Volunteers in classrooms are also invaluable, as they work closely with teachers and students within the school community.
Our volunteers come from many walks of life, from retired people to young people, and people who may still be students themselves.
Volunteers help with classroom activities, one-on-one reading help, tuckshop duties, and many outdoor activities such as sports days, field trips and swimming lessons.
Non-state schools are partly funded by the Australian and Queensland governments, and usually require attending families to pay school fees. There are two main types of non-state school: independent and Catholic schools.
High level communication and consultation between the department (the state) and non-state sectors occurs at regular meetings involving the CEOs of Education Queensland, Independent Schools Queensland and the Queensland Catholic Education Commission.
In addition, the Non-State Schools Authorities Council is an avenue for formally engaging more broadly across the non-state school sector.
These meetings provide forums for the department to:
- share information relating to the needs of the sectors
- seek feedback
- discuss developments on a range of educational matters at a departmental, state and national level.
During 2008-09 a number of issues were addressed, including:
- a joint position regarding increased funding for education
- National Partnerships - bilateral agreement and implementation plans
- NAPLAN test costs
- the Department of Education and Training's Strategic Plan 2009-2013
- the publication of NAPLAN data.