Following extensive consultation, the state government will provide special transitional arrangements for remote communities when Year 7 moves to high school in 2022.
Recognising the unique concerns faced by some regional areas, particularly in remote locations, parents at eligible primary schools will be able to apply to their local principal for an exemption to keep their Year 7 child in primary school during a three-year transition period – until 2024.
Eligible schools are country primary schools located more than 20 kilometres from their nearest area or high school.
By default, all Year 7s will go to a high school (or area school) from 2022.
In another new measure, eligible primary schools who drop a class due to the departure of the Year 7 cohort will be able to apply for grant funding to support them to maintain the number of classes at their school.
In response to other issues identified by communities in the consultation, the Year 7 to High School project will also:
- Provide additional funding direct to primary schools for the extra transport costs for transition activities in country school in 2021, when the double cohort (Years 6 and 7) get ready to start high school.
- Provide additional support to the regular process of updating bus routes in 2021, to ensure the changes required for the double cohort moving to high school are in place for 2022.
- Incorporate feedback received in areas such as professional learning for teachers, supporting transition for younger students and delivering capital works in regional settings, into planning and delivery.
The decision follows extensive consultation by the Education Department from July to September this year.
The process for parents of students at eligible primary schools to seek a ‘by exception’ exemption will be outlined in a Education Department procedure to be developed with school leaders and other stakeholders. The procedure will also address factors for a principal to consider in order to grant an exemption and the process for eligible primary school to apply for grant funding.
The list of eligible schools, as well as a summary of the feedback received from the consultation, is available on the following website.