Skip to main content

Proudly Independent, Collectively Strong


Recent growth in the Queensland independent schooling sector has been underpinned by a commitment to innovation, the pursuit of a highly sustainable workforce, the development of true global citizens and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of teachers and students alike.

A key part of the education landscape, the biennial Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) State Forum held in Brisbane on 2 June, was an opportunity for school leaders from across the state to connect, talk and learn from a range of inspirational speakers in a celebration of a proudly independent, collectively strong sector.

Attendees at the forum heard from leading Australian demographer Mark McCrindle who highlighted the social contribution of independent schools in Australia, which extends far beyond the school gate. Mr McCrindle presented research commissioned by Independent Schools Australia which shows independent schools are making a positive contribution in a myriad of ways, from engaging in cultural events, encouraging student volunteering, fostering positive partnerships between schools and families and supporting students with diverse needs. 

We know from ISQ led research, of the positive benefits when staff and school leaders feel well supported in the school environment, and these positive relationships will in turn, impact students’ wellbeing and educational success. During the State Forum, leading Australian child psychologist Andrew Fuller built on this idea, urging schools to create mentally healthy school cultures where wellbeing is a fundamental part of the school’s DNA.

Two panel discussions throughout the forum dissected a number of prevalent issues for independent schools across Queensland. The first panel took on the broad theme of Changes and Challenges tackling a wide-ranging discussion ranging from vaping to parent engagement, to workforce challenges. Thanks to Queensland Independent Schools Parents Network Executive Officer Amanda Watt, The Lakes College Head of Secondary Matthew Stein, Clayfield College Principal Dr Andrew Cousins and EdStart CEO Jack Stevens for participating in this panel discussion.

The second panel discussion put international education under the microscope and featured Study Queensland Assistant Executive Director Kylie Cooper, Navitas Senior Manager Government Relations Ethan Fogarty, John Paul College International Director David Ferguson and Moreton Bay Colleges CEO Richard Henry. They painted a positive outlook for the future of international education in a post-pandemic environment.

Despite continued growth in enrolments across the independent school’s sector, the fragile economic state and the impact that rising costs of living have upon the hip pockets of parents is another issue of concern for schools. The economic briefing by CommBank Senior Economist looked at the impact of recent interest rate rises on the average Australian mortgage and consumer spending trends proved timely.

The State Forum was expertly emceed by ABC Radio Brisbane personality Loretta Ryan and featured an Acknowledgement of Country by Brisbane performer Waverly Yasso.

The State Forum could not have been possible without the support of ISQ alliance partners CommBank, Findex, FujiFulm and Tes. Thanks also to Forum partners, session sponsor EdStart, Gala Dinner sponsor PeopleBench and coffee cart sponsor Pay@Bility.

Speaker presentations

Back to top