Community demand for bespoke learning is fuelling growth in Queensland’s independent schooling sector with six new schools approved to open in 2018.
Among the new independent schools opening their doors for the first time is Maleny Independent School, located in the Sunshine Coast hinterland, which will offer Years 7 and 8 this year.
Three new schools dedicated to breaking down barriers and re-engaging young people in education are also scheduled to open in Brisbane’s south and Emerald in 2018.
In Term 2, Josiah College – a specialist school for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder – is scheduled to open on the Gold Coast with about 16 primary-age students.
Two existing independent schools in the Mackay and Townsville regions will also expand their education provision into high school.
The new and expanded schools (see full list below) will bring the total number of independent schools in Queensland to 208. These schools will operate across more than 230 sites.
More than 120,000 students are expected to enrol in Queensland independent schools in 2018.
Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Executive Director David Robertson said parent demand for tailored education services for children with specific needs was fuelling growth of smaller specialist schools in the independent sector.
“Some parents go to extraordinary lengths to seek out schools or support the establishment of new independent schools they believe will best meet the education and social needs of their children,” he said.
Mr Robertson said the fastest growing school type in the independent sector was Special Assistance Schools.
“Special Assistance Schools support young people, many of whom have experienced deep trauma or disadvantage during their lives, to re-engage in learning and complete their education,” he said.
“These schools have expanded at a rapid rate in the independent sector, with students and local communities embracing their supportive and integrated approach to student welfare and learning.”
“The scheduled opening of three new independent Special Assistance Schools in Emerald and Brisbane’s southern suburbs this year will bring the number of school sites offering this education service in the independent sector to 24.”
Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden encouraged Queensland parents to discover and learn more about their local independent schools.
“There’s a broad range of education options available in the independent schooling sector. Parents can choose from faith-based schools, to ones grounded in a particular educational philosophy. There are also specialist schools with expert staff in VET and reconnecting disengaged students, as well as schools with tailored education programs for children with autism or language disorders,” Ms Kloeden said.
“Independent schools offer a wide range of assistance to new parents, such as practical back-to-school advice to help ease their child’s transition into a new school environment, as well as important reminders to parents of returning students about how to re-establish positive school routines and good learning habits,” she said.
“Many also run a range of parent information sessions during the year on topics such as student wellbeing and cyber safety.”
The QIS Parents Network website contains a range of practical advice for parents about how they can support their child’s transition to school and the role they can play in the learning success of their children during their school years.
Listed below are the new independent schools and extended services approved by the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board.
New independent schools due to open in 2018:
NOTE: New schools and extended schooling services have been approved to open with anticipated start dates. Parents or community members should contact the schools directly to confirm their enrolment intakes, processes and school opening dates.
Maleny Independent School, Maleny (Sunshine Coast Hinterland)
Designed to be a high school offering a holistic, child-centred approach to education, Maleny Independent School will cater for Years 7 and 8 in Term 1, 2018 and expand to Year 9 in 2019 and Year 10 in 2020.
Redwood College, Burpengary (North of Brisbane)
An independent school in the Moreton Bay region, north of Brisbane, Redwood College has been approved as a Prep-Year 12 school with a distance education service. The school’s distance education service is currently taking enrolments. An opening date for the day school is yet to be confirmed.
Josiah College, Carrara (Gold Coast)
The school is a specialist independent school for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The state-of-the-art school is currently under construction at Carrara on the Gold Coast. It is expected to open in Term 2, 2018 with 16 students in Years 2-5, but is forecast to expand its offerings to 64 students in Years 2-10 in the future.
YMCA Vocational School, Acacia Ridge (Southern Brisbane)
YMCA is due to open its fifth Special Assistance School in 2018. The school, located in Acacia Ridge, in Brisbane’s south, has been approved to provide education services to high school-age students who have disengaged from mainstream schooling. The school is due to commence in Term 1 with students in Years 10-12.
The Spot Academy, Parkinson (Southern Brisbane)
The Spot Academy is a Special Assistance School for young people who have disengaged or are at risk of disengaging from education. The school, located in Brisbane’s southern suburbs, is accepting enrolments in Years 7-9 and will open in Term 1, 2018.
Emerald Christian College has been approved to open a Special Assistance School called Ontrack, for students from Years 5-10 who have disengaged from mainstream education. The school is expected to enrol about 20 students in 2018 at the PCYC. However it’s estimated between 80 and 100 local students would benefit from the school’s integrated education and welfare support to get them “back on track”.
Existing independent schools that are extending their education provision in 2018:
Carlisle Adventist Christian College, Beaconsfield (Mackay Region)
The school will offer Year 11 for the first time in 2018 with Year 12 following in 2019. A range of building works are underway to accommodate the growing school, which is expected to start the school year with more than 200 students in Prep-Year 11. New facilities due to be completed in early 2018 include a new library, a science classroom, experimental lab and staff room. Further buildings, including a new hospitality centre and extra classrooms, will be constructed during 2018.
Townsville Christian College, (Townsville)
The existing Prep-Year 6 school has been approved to extend into high school, into Years 7-9, for the first time in 2018.