Cooloola Christian College student Olivia Zischke, 10, picks out her back to school order among the many at Gympie News.
Cooloola Christian College student Olivia Zischke, 10, picks out her back to school order among the many at Gympie News. Renee Pilcher

Money burdens as school year opens

GYMPIE families recovering from the financial outlay of Christmas had their wallets open again this week as about 8000 students prepared for the first day of the new school year in just 11 days.

In what welfare groups have described as another stress for battling families, most of those 8000-odd children attending school in the Gympie district this year will be needing new uniforms, new shoes and up to hundreds of dollars each in books, stationery and other school supplies.

The cost of Christmas on top of the economic downturn has some groups predicting a rise in the number of parents seeking help to equip their kids with the basics.

"The additional cost of purchasing school uniforms, shoes, pencil cases, lunch boxes and other school essentials can be crippling for those families already doing it tough," Julie McDonald from St Vincent de Paul Society told the ABC last week.

"Many families will find it impossible to ensure that their children have what they need to begin a new year of learning," she said.

Though enrolment figures for most Gympie schools won't be available until after school starts on January 23, Gympie's non-public schools were yesterday all reporting either a slight rise or similar numbers to 2011, with 450 enrolled at St Patrick's College for this year, 490 at the primary school, 372 at Cooloola Christian College and 390 at Victory College.

All schools except for St Patrick's will start the school year on Monday, with St Pat's opening its doors on Tuesday, January 24.

The first term will then run through until Friday, March 30, when schools will close for the new two-week Easter break, resuming on Monday, April 16.

Term two will run through until June 22, term three will go from July 9 to September 21, and term four from October 8 until December 14.

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