Plans for Prep to become compulsory for Queensland children from 2017
Prep attendance will become mandatory for Queensland children from 2017 under proposed legislative changes to ensure "no child is left behind".
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wants to make it compulsory from next year for all children in the state to attend Prep before entering Year 1.
"I want to ensure that all children have the same start, that they are prepared for the jobs of the future," Ms Palaszczuk said.
"Prep is already part of the national curriculum and now we will take that next step and make Prep compulsory.
"We know how important that early years of learning is and I don't want to see children disadvantaged by starting that extra year later.
"Let's give all our children an equal and fair start."
Ms Palaszczuk said it was the general feeling of the population that Prep, which was introduced to Queensland in 2007, was already compulsory.
"Most people believe it is, it's not. And I'm going to guarantee that next year Prep will be compulsory," Ms Palaszczuk said.
'Every child deserves this important year of learning'
Prep, which was introduced to Queensland in 2007, was attended by 98 per cent of children in 2015.
Education Minister Kate Jones said data also revealed about 500 students who attended Year 1 this past year were not enrolled in Prep the year prior.
"We'd see more than a 1.5 per cent increase which will get us almost to that crucial 100 per cent," she said.
"We believe no stone should be left unturned when it comes to ensuring that every child gets access to the full compliment of years of learning.
"We believe that no child should be left behind and every child deserves this important year of learning."
When the move to make Prep compulsory was last considered in 2013, a parliamentary committee was advised by the Education Department it would be unlikely to lift attendance rates.
"The department advised that there is no intention to make Prep compulsory as enrolment rates are already high, at around 97 per cent, and it is unlikely this figure would significantly increase if Prep was made compulsory".
At the time the Queensland Teachers Union advocated for a compulsory prep year.
Source: ABC News