Schools, community groups and charitable organisations are eligible to receive up to 50 free plants through the Free Plants Program. For more information, see http://www.brisbane.qld.gov.au/environment-waste/gardening/free-native-plants-program/index.htm.
Achieving better outcomes and helping students become the best they can be is at the heart of everything we do. During 2009-10, we continued to work closely with our stakeholders to create the brightest possible future for young people by maintaining a strong involvement in major new measures that will transform education in Queensland. This included collaborating with the Queensland Studies Authority and the independent and Catholic education sectors on a new national curriculum being created by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), and lending support to curriculum writers as part of the ACARA advisory and expert panels which are creating the national curriculum.
While the national curriculum is being developed, we are continuing to implement the Queensland Curriculum Assessment and Reporting (QCAR) Framework, focusing on the development and implementation of the statewide Queensland Comparable Assessment Tasks (QCATs) in science, mathematics and English at Years 4, 6 and 9.
Thanks to the dedication and exceptionally hard work of principals, coordinators and other department officers, 2009 saw the great success of the department's first Summer Schools program. Part of the government's $72.3 million Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan, the program involved around 4700 students in Years 5, 6 and 7 across all areas of Queensland.
While our state schools are primarily places of teaching and learning, they also play an important role in every Queensland community. For example, from the end of February this year, our state high schools opened their doors on specified weekends to anyone wishing to be vaccinated, free of charge, against the H1N1 swine flu.
In February this year, Premier Anna Bligh announced that state schools would unite with the independent and Catholic school sectors to tackle the problem of schoolyard violence. Members of the Queensland Schools Alliance Against Violence are working cooperatively to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all Queensland students. In April this year, I joined staff and parents from the Cairns region for the first Action Against Bullying seminar, where we heard from leading psychologist and anti-bullying expert, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg. The education series, being held in 10 locations across the state, is one of the first major initiatives of the Queensland Schools Alliance Against Violence.
Our state schools are all required to have a Responsible Behaviour Plan for students, and to review them in collaboration with students, parents, carers and the wider school community. In my weekly newsletters to staff, I have stated the importance of reminding students, staff and the local community of the safety and security measures that are in place in schools, and I encouraged schools' involvement in Say No to Bullying Day on 5 March.
I am confident that by continuing to work together, we can ensure that all our schools remain safe havens in the community.