Schools eager for senior students to return to classrooms
IPSWICH private schools are eager to get their senior students back in the classroom as soon as possible during a critical period of learning but won't welcome back the majority of kids until the all clear is given by the government.
Independent Schools Queensland is urging the Premier to allow all Year 11 and 12 students to return to school immediately.
Executive director David Robertson said independent schools were confident they could accommodate students while still safeguarding student and staff health.
"With Queensland adopting the ATAR for tertiary entrance from this year, it is important that Queensland students are not disadvantaged compared to their counterparts in other states and territories," he wrote in a letter to Annastacia Palaszczuk
"I also note that in some other states and territories Year 11 and 12 students are being encouraged to return to schools or are already back at school."
ISQ welcomed the offer by the Federal Government to bring forward $3 billion in funding for private schools if they reopen, but admitted it put them in a difficult position.
It is advising members to follow the advice of the Queensland Government and health directives, with independent school authorities asked to respond to the offer by tomorrow.
Education Minister Grace Grace criticised the offer and said options for a staggered or staged return to school were being mulled over.
Ipswich Girls' and Junior Grammar School principal Dr Peter Britton said students had handled the transition to remote and online learning "exceptionally well" but they were keen to return them to school as soon as possible.
About 22 per cent of enrolled students are on campus and the school piloted remote learning at the beginning of Term 1.
"We are keen for all students to return to school as soon as possible, especially our seniors," Dr Britton said.
"They have remained positive, resilient, supportive and adaptable - an amazing group of young women, girls and boys.
"The students (in Years 7 to 12) are following their normal timetables whether they are at school or at home.
"The younger year levels have access to their regular year level teachers throughout the school day.
"Pastoral care and classroom teachers ensure they are connected to their students and that the students are connected with each other."
West Moreton Anglican College principal Geoff McLay said the school had about 15 per cent of students for the first two weeks of Term 2.
"While very supportive of ISQ's position, particularly in regard to Year 12 students returning to face-to-face classes as soon as possible, we also acknowledge the importance of working within the current framework provided by the Queensland Government," he said.
"I have been incredibly impressed with the adaptability of all students, teachers, staff and families in the new learn-from-home environment.
"The college is currently undertaking an extensive feedback process, contacting every family engaged in the learn-from-home program to gather valuable information that will in turn allow us to better support our students' learning.
"Results so far reveal that students and families are reporting an overwhelmingly positive experience."
Ipswich Grammar School launched IGS Connect last week.
"(It is) a flexible mode of learning that combines the best of our previous online and classroom experiences," headmaster Richard Morrison.
"If the boys are attending campus, they are in a traditional classroom learning from their own teacher while the boys at home have full access to their real teacher, the same materials and they are also connecting with their peers throughout the day.
"We've had an overwhelmingly positive response from our community on our approach.
"Like everyone, we look forward to when we can welcome all our boys back safely and we'll follow advice of the State Government and Queensland Health to determine when that is."