Parents will no longer have a choice when it comes to sending their child to Prep, with Queensland making it the compulsory first year of schooling from 2017.
Education Minister Kate Jones introduced the new legislation into State Parliament on Tuesday, while also announcing stronger laws to protect school children.
Ms Jones said the changes were in the ‘best interests of children’.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
“We already have a high proportion of children undertaking Prep in Queensland,” Ms Jones said.
“This Bill will help catch the small group of children currently missing out,” she added.
“Evidence shows a wide range of benefits in later life for children who take part in high-quality Prep programs. These include higher levels of completed education and subsequent employment.”
Ms Jones also explained the improvement to the Queensland College of Teachers’ powers to suspend a teacher judged to be a risk to children.
“Until now the college’s ability to act was limited to cases where the college reasonably believed a teacher posed ‘an imminent risk of harm’ to children,” she said.
“The new test strengthens the college’s power to act where it reasonably believes a teacher posed ‘an unacceptable risk of harm’.”
Other changes affecting teachers in the Bill include the introduction of voluntary agreements to resolve minor disciplinary matters, and clarification of when schools must notify the college about allegations of child harm.