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Back to School 2019 - New Independent Schools and Expansions

Parent and community demand for tailored schooling options has fuelled the development of four new grassroots school start-ups in Queensland’s independent schooling sector in 2019.

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) Executive Director David Robertson said new independent schools approved to open in 2019  included a special assistance school for disengaged high school students in Carbrook, south of Brisbane, and three small primary schools in Queensland’s north (see list below).

These new schools will bring to 210 the total number of independent schools operating across the state next year.

“In recent years, there has been strong growth in community-inspired smaller schools that use different teaching and learning approaches to deliver the Australian Curriculum,” Mr Robertson said.

“The emergence of this grassroots schooling movement is being powered, in many cases, by parents who want greater choice and diversity in the types of schooling options available in their communities,” he said.

“Queenslanders feel more strongly about school choice and are more supportive of independent schooling options than the rest of Australia, according to a survey of community attitudes commissioned by ISQ in 2018.”

“The survey also confirmed that parents expect governments to support their legitimate educational choices through appropriate funding for all schools.”

Mr Robertson said six existing independent schools had been approved to extend their education programs into new year levels or open new campuses in 2019 (see list below).

“Two independent schools in Central and Far North Queensland are extending into senior which is great news for the families in these regional areas, while two specialist schools for children with autism are also expanding their education offerings,” he said.

In addition, two governing bodies had been approved to take over the attributes and facilities of the previous Shalom Christian College in Townsville and open two new separate schools.

Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Sue Kloeden said “parent power” had been instrumental in the development of many of the sector’s newest schools.

“Some parents, particularly in the early primary years, are seeking alternative education options that align with their beliefs and aspirations for their children’s learning,” Ms Kloeden said.

“The QIS Parents Network extends a warm welcome to all parents enrolling their children in our newest independent schools as well as our existing colleges and campuses,” she said.

“I encourage all parents to develop strong relationships with their schools and to remain positive and engaged partners in their children’s learning journey.”

All new non-state schools must meet an extensive list of accreditation criteria before they are approved to operate by the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board. Existing independent schools opening new campuses or changing aspects related to their accreditation must also obtain board approval.


New independent schools that have been approved by the Non-State Schools Accreditation Board to open in Term 1, 2019:

Cabrook Animal Assisted Learning Centre – Logan, south of Brisbane | A new independent special assistance school that incorporates an animal-assisted learning approach to re-engage students in education who have been impacted by a variety of factors including severe life trauma. The school will cater for students in Years 7 to 12 and expects to open with about 14 students.

Enkindle Village School - Townsville, North Queensland | This new Prep to Year 6 primary school, located on James Cook University’s Douglas campus, is based on a democratic model that engages students in decisions about the school and their own learning. The school is expected to commence in 2019 with 15 students from Prep to Year 3.

The Rainforest School - Mission Beach, south of Innisfail | The school is inspired by Montessori, Steiner, Forest Learning and Nature Play philosophies. It is  expected to enrol 15 children from Prep to Year 3 in 2019.

Tropical North Steiner School - Mossman, Far North Queensland | The new Prep-Year 6 school has been approved to commence with students in Prep to Year 3 in 2019. However, the school will confirm its opening date, pending confirmation of enrolments.


The Non-State Schools Accreditation Board has also approved changes to existing independent schools to commence from 2019.

The Autism Queensland School, comprising Education and Therapy Centres at Brighton and Sunnybank Hills in Brisbane, is expanding to Cairns. The new campus will accommodate up to 12 students in Prep to Year 2 in a part-time placement from the start of the 2019 school year.

The Sycamore School, at Alexandra Hills, in Redland City south of Brisbane, is extending its education program into high school in 2019. The Prep to Year 6 specialist school for children with autism will offer Years 7 and 8 in 2019. About 18 students are expected to enrol.

Arethusa College, a special assistance school for at-risk and disengaged students, has altered the intake years at its Windsor campus, in Brisbane’s inner-north. The Windsor campus will start 2019 with up to 50 students in Years 7 and 8. The Windsor campus serves as a feeder site for the college’s Spring Hill and Deception Bay campuses which cater for students in Years 7-12.

Redeemer Lutheran College, a Prep-Year 10 independent school in Biloela, in Central Queensland, will offer Year 11 for the first time in 2019, with 13 students expected to enrol in Term 1. The school will extend into Year 12 in 2020.

Cairns Hinterland Steiner School, a Kindergarten to Year 10 independent school in Kuranda in Far North Queensland, will offer Year 11 for the first time in 2019 and Year 12 in 2020.

Birali Steiner School, a Prep-Year 6 school at Beachmere in the Moreton Bay region, has received approval to extend into Years 7-10. The school will offer Year 7 for the first time in 2019. All students will also benefit from new facilities following the completion of the first stage of the school’s redevelopment which included three new classrooms, a flexible learning space and administration and staff facilities.


Carinity, which operates four special assistance high schools in Brisbane, Hervey Bay, Rockhampton and Gladstone that educate more than 375 students, has taken over the operation of Shalom Christian College at Condon in Townsville.

The current Prep to Year 6 college will offer Year 7 in 2019 and will progressively add more year levels until it reaches Year 12. The college expects to start the 2019 school year with about 100 Prep to Year 7 students.

The Silver Lining Foundation Australia, a First Nation’s charity which provides education and training opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Queenslanders, has been approved to open Mungalla Silver Lining School at Crystal Creek near Townsville in 2019.

Mungalla is a new “micro school” that teaches Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural heritage while providing an approved curriculum program with a strong focus on vocational education and employment outcomes for students. It will operate from the site of the former Shalom Christian College Crystal Creek campus. It is expected to enrol about 20 students from Years 8 to 12 in 2019. 

The Foundation has also been approved as the new governing body for an existing special assistance school at Wondai in Queensland’s South Burnett region. The foundation plans to open the school in 2019.


Queensland independent schooling sector and student enrolments projected to grow in 2019 | READ MORE

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