Brisbane school plans to change exam times so year 12 students can attend Swift concert

A Brisbane high school may schedule upcoming individual exam times to accommodate some Year 12 students attending a Taylor Swift concert in Sydney next month, concerned parents say.


Jan 30, 2024, updated Jan 31, 2024
More than 25,000 Taylor Swift fans are expected to gather up dozens of extra flights to southern capitals for her Era concerts. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

More than 25,000 Taylor Swift fans are expected to gather up dozens of extra flights to southern capitals for her Era concerts. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis, File)

InQueensland can reveal their concerns follow an email from Wynnum State High School (WSHS) last week in which parents of students attending the interstate concert were asked to notify the school if they will be back in time for the beginning of an exam block on February 27.

“We will endeavour to schedule the exams your child will sit later in the week,’’ WSHS Deputy Principal Lisa Hawkin wrote in an email obtained by InQueensland.

Education Queensland (EQ) said the exam schedule within the block has not been set and the Deputy Principal’ s email was gauging the possible impact of a Taylor Swift concert on student attendance and scheduling of exams so this “could potentially be factored in”.

The school’s upcoming exam block will be held between Tuesday February 27 to Friday, March 1.

Swift’s sold-out concerts for her Eras Tour will be held between Friday, February 23 and Monday, February 26 in Sydney. Swift’s tour is not coming to Queensland.

Ms Hawkin wrote that while it had been “communicated” on a number of occasions holidays are not to be taken during term in Year 12, she had been informed a number of students will be attending one of the interstate Taylor Swift concerts the weekend before the block of exams.

“The date of the exam block cannot be changed, however we are not unreasonable and propose the following. The timetable within the exam block is flexible however all students must sit the same the exams at the same time.

“If your child will not be in Brisbane on Tuesday, February 27 please let me know via email by Monday 29 January. We will endeavour to schedule the exams your child will sit later in the week,’’ Ms Hawkin wrote.

The email also stated the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) requirements has “strict rules around this” and exams cannot be sat later than the timetabled date unless there is a medical emergency or other extenuating circumstance.

“When I have the information about who won’t be in Brisbane on the 27th, (staff member) will be able to schedule the exams within the exam block and we will know if there any further issues. I wonder if Tay Tay knows she’s creating such issues….” Ms Hawkin wrote.

Part of the letter send by the school’s deputy principal to Year 12 parents.


A small number of parents of Year 12 students, who spoke to InQueensland on the condition of anonymity, said they were concerned the scheduling of exams may be impacted by some students attending a concert.

“I am questioning as to why a music concert has precedence over their exams. It’s their final year and such an important year that impacts their future,’’ a parent said.

“Will it mean if exams are set later in the week of the block because of the concert, the exams be compressed from four days in three to accommodate the students attending the concert because they may not be back on the first day of the exam block?’’ the parent said.

InQueensland was unable to confirm the number of students attending the Sydney concert or whether any other Queensland state high schools are considering moving Year 12 exam times for the February concert.

In a statement, Education Queensland (EQ) said parents with concerns are encouraged to speak with their school in the first instance.

The EQ said claims exams have been changed due to a Taylor Swift concert are inaccurate and at no time has the school implied the dates will change.

“No exams have been moved. The time and days of individual exams within the block exam have not been set yet. This will happen two weeks prior to the exam block,” the spokesperson said.

The EQ spokesperson said as is standard practice across schools, it is not unreasonable for the principal to understand student arrangements during exam periods to ensure they are catering for students while adhering to the QCAA requirements.

“Individual schools consider many factors when scheduling students’ assessment times including apprenticeships and traineeship arrangements. Schools have flexibility within the dates to place the internal assessment as best fits subjects, supervisions and students,’’ the spokesperson said.

“The Deputy Principal has a strong and supportive relationship with the majority of families,’’ the spokesperson said.




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