Ministers thrashing out back-to-school plan
QUEENSLAND students and parents will likely need to wait until next week before finding out whether schools will reopen for the beginning of term two.
It comes as federal Education Minister Dan Tehan said Year 12s would finish high school this year, despite the disruption the coronavirus pandemic is causing.
Mr Tehan yesterday assured all final-year students and parents that getting them through in 2020 was a priority, following a meeting of commonwealth and state education ministers.
"There will be no Year 13, there will be no mass repeating," Mr Tehan said.
"Every student will get an ATAR certificate for 2020 so they can go to university, so they can go to vocational education and so they can go on to employment next year."
However exactly how ATARs will be calculated is up to each state, with further announcements to be made following the next Education Council meeting in May.
"We will take into account those students who have to learn from home, those who might not be able to access the technology like others do," Mr Tehan said.
"We want this year's ATAR score to look like last year's ATAR score, and there is no reason why we can't do that."
In a post on Facebook yesterday, Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace said assessments would be fair for every student.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said she was meeting with Ms Grace this week to make some "very firm decisions" by next Tuesday about whether schools will re-open in time for term two.
Independent Schools Queensland executive director David Robertson said there had been no official communication to schools regarding the commencement of term two yet.
"At a minimum I would expect independent schools would make arrangements to cater for children of essential workers and vulnerable students, in addition to learning from home," he said.
Brisbane Catholic Education will continue to assess health advice before informing school communities on arrangements for the start of term two.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said earlier decisions by individual premiers to alter schooling arrangements in term one had not been due to health advice relating to students but workplace health and safety issues for staff and teachers.
Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said authorities did not know if children were "asymptomatic transmitters" but there was no evidence internationally of significant school-related outbreaks.
"We can see no reason … to withhold children from school," he said.
"We do think that schools need to be made safe, and the National Cabinet has asked us to come back later this week with some detailed advice on how to make school safe in terms of hygiene measures, reducing gatherings, practising where possible social distancing, cleaning playground equipment, all of those things."
Originally published as Ministers thrashing out back-to-school plan