Uniforms have been washed, pencils sharpened and backpacks pulled out of the closet as Queensland school students get set to go back to school.
Eight new schools – the most to open in one day in more than 30 years – will welcome 1500 students and 300 staff members when school starts on Tuesday.
Among them is Fortitude Valley Secondary College, the first inner Brisbane state high school to be built in more than 40 years.
Education Minister Grace Grace says more than 856,500 state and non-state school students from prep to year 12 are enrolled this year across the state.
“This is the highest-ever overall enrolment count that we have seen in Queensland,” she said.
The enrolments include about 65,800 prep students.
There had been a steady increase in state school enrolments from 525,000 in 2015 to 578,000 this year.
“This equates to growth of more than 10 per cent over the past five years,” Ms Grace said.
A total of 53,000 state school teachers are ready for the school year, including 800 just starting their careers.
The new recruits were contributing to the government’s four-year commitment to employ more than 3700 extra teachers by 2021, Ms Grace said.
Upgrades to existing schools include a government commitment to spend $100 million over four years to air condition classrooms.
“We have already made $50 million of this funding available to deliver cooler classrooms for students and teachers at more than 300 schools outside the cooler schools zone,” she said.
Ms Grace assured parents and students that schools were ready for the Australian Tertiary Admissions Rank (ATAR) scheme that replaces the Overall Position (OP) measure in Queensland this year.
School leaders and teachers had prepared for the new system for years, with support from the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority, the Queensland Tertiary Admission Centre and their schooling sectors.