All Queensland children are eligible to attend full-time Prep when they attain the age of 5 years by 30 June in the year they propose to attend Prep. Participation in a Preparatory program of schooling is not compulsory.
Enrolment in, and full-time attendance at, Prep fulfils the legal obligation of enrolment where a student is of compulsory school age.
Decisions relating to early entry and delayed entry to school settings or repeating the Preparatory Year (Prep) must be documented in writing; detailing relevant team members (parents, school staff) involved, evidence looked at, facts relied upon and reasons for the decision as per Decision-making and Responding to a Request for Reasons for a Decision.
Variations to school age entry enrolment include the following four situations:
(1) Early Entry to Preparatory Year
Early entry to Prep is a strategy for maximising continuity of learning for children on transfer across Australia and internationally. Children who are younger than the age prescribed for Prep in Queensland (aged 5 years by 30 June in the year they propose to attend Prep) may be enrolled in Prep only if the Principal’s supervisor, the Regional Director, is satisfied the child:
- had started education in another State or country that is equivalent to the Prep and;
- is ready for education in Prep, having regard to the child’s attributes.
(2) Early Entry to Year 1
Children who are younger than the age prescribed for Year 1 in Queensland (aged 6 years by 30 June in the year they propose to attend Year 1) may be enrolled in Year 1 if the Principal’s supervisor (i.e. Regional Director) is satisfied the child meets the required criteria to be enrolled, having regard to the child’s attributes, which include the child’s aptitude and ability, social and emotional competence, physical development and level of knowledge and understanding.
(3) Repeating the Preparatory Year
Repeating Prep is an option for students for whom it is considered educational and developmental benefits would be gained from participation in a second year of Preparatory education.
The decision to repeat the Prep Year is made following consideration of evidence of the student’s attributes. If the student is also attending an Early Childhood Development Program (ECDP) it is particularly important that prior to any decision, full consultation and discussion occurs between the school Principal responsible for the ECDP and the school Principal providing a Prep program (if different to the ECDP), parents, Prep teachers, and the Head of Special Education Services who may be involved in the delivery of programs or services to the student.
If parents and/or non-state school staff seek to repeat the Prep year for a student in a dual enrolment between an ECDP and a non-state school Prep Year program, prior discussion and approval must occur with the state school principal and the Head of Special Education Services for the ECDP if ongoing dual enrolment is sought. It is essential the Principal Education Officer, Student Services be informed by the state school Principal of the outcome via the Modified Form D.
However, it should be noted that, if participation in a second year of Prep means that the child will be at least 7 years and 6 months before beginning Year 1; this may affect their remaining allocation of semesters of state education.
(4) Flexibility to delay entry to the Preparatory Year for children who have not previously been enrolled in the Preparatory Year
The Principal makes the decision to enrol a child who turns, or is already of, compulsory school age (6 years 6 months) in Prep where:
- parents seek enrolment in Prep and the Principal considers that this is the best educational program for the child; and
- the child would benefit from attending Prep giving consideration to child’s aptitude and ability, social and emotional competence and physical development prior to Year 1.
In making the decision, Principals should consult with parents, Prep teachers, school administrators and the Head of Special Education Services who may be involved in the delivery of programs or services to the child.
Enrolment in and full-time attendance at Prep of a child turning compulsory school age, or who is already compulsory school age, is deemed to comply with compulsory schooling requirements. An exemption from compulsory schooling requirements is therefore not necessary. However, it should be noted that, if such delayed entry means that the child will be at least 7 years and 6 months before beginning Year 1; this may affect their remaining allocation of semesters of state education.