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A welcome return to school students across the country

More than 4 million school students will be welcomed back to the classroom for the 2022 school year over the next two weeks.

Acting Minister for Education and Youth, Stuart Robert, said more than 320,000 children will be starting school for the first time, and about 240,000 Year 12 students will be commencing their all-important final year.

‘I’d like to welcome all students across the country back to school and wish them all the best for the year ahead, especially those in their final year of studies,’ Minister Robert said.

‘There is no doubt the past few years have been difficult, particularly for those students and teachers whose education was affected by school closures and the broader impacts of COVID-19.

‘I applaud the resilience of students, teachers, and their families as they have displayed a remarkable ability to adapt to the changing and challenging circumstances.

‘I look forward to seeing the achievements of Australian students this year as they re-engage academically in school classrooms, and experience all the cultural, creative and social benefits that face-to-face schooling has to offer.’

Minister Robert said results from the 2021 NAPLAN report indicated that despite the challenges of remote learning, students’ literacy and numeracy results were not affected.

‘It was heartening to see that overall, NAPLAN results remained stable between 2019 and 2021 at a national and jurisdictional level,’ Minister Robert said.

‘The 2021 NAPLAN results are a testament to the hard work of students, as well as their parents and teachers, who have worked incredibly hard to maintain the continuity and quality of learning for students.’

To support the safe return to school this year, National Cabinet recently agreed to a nationally consistent approach to managing COVID-19 in schools to provide greater certainty for school communities and to give children the opportunity to continue their learning and development with minimal interruption.

‘We want to ensure kids can return and stay safely at school from day one, term one this year and parents can rely on early childhood education centers staying open,’ Minister Robert said.

‘Importantly, the health advice tells us that it is safe for children, students and workers to be back and to stay back, and like all parents, I’m looking forward to my children getting back into their school’s classroom.’

The National Framework for Managing COVID-19 in Schools and Early Childhood Education and Care is based on six guiding principles:

  • ECEC services and schools are essential and should be the first to open and the last to close wherever possible in outbreak situations, with face-to-face learning prioritised.
  • Baseline public health measures continue to apply;
  • No vulnerable child or child of an essential worker is turned away;
  • Responses to be proportionate and health risk-based;
  • Equip ECEC services and schools to respond on the basis of public health advice and with support from public health authorities where required;
  • Wellbeing of children and education staff to be supported.

State and Territory governments are releasing operational plans for schools in their respective jurisdictions, setting out the practical implementation of the national framework principles.

State/Territory Term 1 2022 school start dates
NSW Friday 28 January (Eastern Division)
Friday 4 February (Western Division)
VIC Monday 31 January
QLD Monday 7 February
W Monday 31 January
SA Wednesday 2 February (remote learning for all year levels excluding preschool, reception, Year 1, 7, 8, and 12. Face-to-face learning to commence for all students from Monday 14 February.)
TAS Wednesday 9 February
NT Monday 31 January
ACT Tuesday 1 February

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