Legislation has officially been passed that will see Queensland high schools include year seven as their lowest grade from 2015.

The laws to bring the northern state in line with most of the rest of the country have passed with bipartisan support, opposed only by Katter’s Australia Party, whose leader Mount Isa Mp Bob Katter said he was concerned that rural families would be distressed at having to send their children to boarding schools a year early.

Queensland’s Education Minister John Paul Langbroek says there are systems in place to monitor the policy’s effect in regional areas. The newly-passed legislation also recognises prep as the first year of schooling.

The Education Minister said trial sites for the change had shown the system working: “Good social interaction carefully monitored by their teachers, and the leaders of their schools pointing out to me that the year eights have welcomed the year sevens into their schools... that's what I've seen as I've travelled to the trial schools,” Langbroek said.