Preschoolers, kindergarteners and year 7 students across Canberra pulled on their new uniforms and headed off to their new schools for the first time on Monday.
For the students at Evelyn Scott School, it was an extra special day as they became the first cohort to attend the new primary school.
Greeted by the press pack, ACT directorate officials and ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry, the students wasted no time getting into play-based activities in their contemporary learning space.
Jasmine Jhutti caught the bus to preschool with her mother Peta. They were excited to finally attend the school they had been watching evolve and grow.
"It's a whole new experience," Ms Jhutti said.
"Jasmine's my only one and obviously I got a bit emotional."
The territory's 89th school was designed around the Future of Education strategy which promotes inquiry-based learning.
The school was named after Indigenous rights activist and social justice campaigner Evelyn Scott and the school logo features the Australian reed-warbler.
There were 187 students enrolled from preschool to year 5 in 2021. Construction continues on the high school buildings which would be ready for the 2023 school year. A gymnasium with a double basketball court was expected to be built by the middle of this year.
Principal Jackie Vaughan said lots of fun activities and games were planned on day one to help students get to know their teachers.
"We want all students to belong. This is their school and that's why one of our major pieces with our vision is to make sure that our students are connected to this school."
The ACT government is planning to build new schools in Canberra's booming northern suburbs.
The 2020-21 budget would include $2 million to scope the design of a new high school in Taylor to cater for 800 students in time for the 2024 school year.
The Margaret Hendry School would be allocated $1 million to go toward preparatory work for an extension to increase capacity by 600 students by the 2023 school year.
In the new suburb of Kenny, $24.4 million in funding would go towards road infrastructure which would support the new 800-place high school.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said education would feature heavily in the upcoming budget.
"Education will account for $1 in four [dollars] that the ACT government invests in our broader community," Mr Barr said.
Meanwhile, students who don't thrive in the mainstream education system have a new alternative to achieve their year 12 certificate.
Galilee School, run by Communities@Work, has welcomed 22 year 11 students this year as it works to extend the high school to offer senior years.
Principal Tim McNevin said past students who had gone from year 10 at Galilee School to a mainstream senior college had often stopped attending after a term or semester because the complex environment didn't suit them.
"We've provided an alternative to that which is much smaller and where relationships are able to be maintained and the supports that our young people require can be continued to be provided," he said.
Galilee's students could be grappling with trauma, homelessness, mental health issues and instability in their family life.
The school focused on the wellbeing of students first and their education needs second. It offered students either a timber and construction pathway or a hospitality and inquiry pathway with a focus on accredited subjects.
Oliver O'Shea, 16, decided to continue on to year 11 on the timber and construction pathway after joining the school in year 9.
"The support here is amazing," he said.
"It's a much quieter learning environment and everyone's pretty good friends with each other."
Mr McNevin said it was encouraging to see the students overcome barriers in their life to be successful in their chosen pathway.
"To see them emerge on the other side as confident, capable, young people who are able to engage with all that society requires them to feel positive about who they are and to be on a life journey that has some hope for the future, that's a real privilege to be a part of," he said.