Gympie's preppies take their first big step
DESPITE a shaky and nervous start to the day, there were plenty of smiles to be seen on the faces of Gympie's new prep students.
Across Gympie this morning, parents bid teary farewells as hundreds of children began their schooling lives.
"It's definitely been a busy day, hectic as you could imagine,” says Monkland State School teacher Shirl Toffolil.
"But I think the kids are definitely settling in well.”
Across town at Gympie West State School, prep students admitted to some early butterflies, but the presence of a nearby playground helped to soothe the nerves.
Local police were overall pleased with the behaviour of motorists on roads, but noted the same problems that had plagued the start-of-term in years past had made a reappearance.
"We had around five speeding infringements and a number of warnings,” says Sgt Peter Webster.
"There were also a number of illegal parks around schools too, which unfortunately can lead to accidents sometimes.
"We understand that this is a hectic, busy time of the year, but all we're asking is for parents and motorists to take caution, because the alternative can be devastating.”
The students across Gympie were just some of the 48,000 in Queensland starting school for the first time today.
2017 marks the introduction of compulsory prep for new students in Queensland, something State Education Minister Kate Jones says would only benefit young students.
"Importantly, this move does not lower the age of compulsory schooling, which remains six years and six months, but it does ensure that a child's first year of formal schooling will be prep,” she says.
"I want to wish every student the best for the year ahead and encourage them to make the most of their education in 2017.”