A court has ruled that teachers in the Canadian state of British Columbia have the right to post politically-related notices in schools, and to criticise the provincial government over school funding during parent-teacher interviews. See report in Vancouver Sun 4 August, 2005. The state's school boards are appealing the decision. See article in the Globe and Mail 5 August, 2005.
Award-winning Melbourne writer Krista Bell is currently promoting BookSpeak, where school librarians and parents form book clubs to promote their children's literacy. Some schools have already adopted BookSpeak, providing informal opportunities for discussion of children's book choices, recommendations and details of new publications. See article in The Age 1 August, 2005.
A range of child care experts have expressed concern over proposed revisions to legislation covering child protection in Victoria. John Fogarty, a retired Family Court judge, says the proposals could encourage 'busybodies' to report parents for minor matters. Victoria Legal Aid has raised privacy concerns about the new proposals. See article in The Age, 8 August, 2005.
In Britain, up to 150 new Muslim state schools could be created in a move to bring the Islamic education of British children under government control after last month's London bombings. See report in The Age, 8 August, 2005.
Victoria's independent schools, including the State's seven Islamic colleges, will be required to teach a curriculum 'consistent with Australian democratic values' under State Government reforms. Supervising standards in non-government schools is to be the responsibility of the Victorian Qualifications Authority. See report in The Age 7 August, 2005 and earlier ABC report 5 August, 2005.
The latest annual survey of government schools conducted by the Australian Secondary Principals' Association has identified shortages of teachers in a range of subject areas. Almost 68,000 Australian secondary students are likely to be taught by teachers unqualified in those subject areas. Some schools are engaged in 'curriculum culling', removing subjects for which they do not have qualified teachers, such as LOTE or Technology. The teacher shortage is beginning to impact on independent schools, particularly in terms of maths, science, foreign languages. See report in The Age: Education 8 August, 2005.
Analysts will review New Zealand secondary school National Certificate of Achievement (NCEA) results, delaying release for up to three weeks. Certificates will also include new 'not achieved' grades. The moves come after a State Services Commission's review into problems with last year's assessment system. See article in The New Zealand Herald, 5 August, 2005.
The parents of students in Tasmanian Government schools have received a series of brochures which explain the new Essential Learnings Framework. The information campaign seeks to inform parents about the changes to the curriculum and the new assessment and reporting procedures. For more information see Media Release 3 August, 2005 and Essential Learnings for All, on the Department of Education Tasmania website.
The Western Australian Government and BHP Billiton Iron Ore have entered into a partnership to provide better educational facilities and resources in the Pilbara. BHP Billiton is committed to investing $2.7 million to upgrade ICT and to provide scholarships and a new training facility, while the Western Australian government will contribute $3 million. For more information see Media Statement 4 August, 2005.
The new Queensland Minister for Education, Rod Welford, has begun discussions with representatives of the Cape York community on improving educational outcomes for Indigenous students in that community. The discussions will provide the members of the Cape York community with an opportunity to respond to Bound for Success, the Queensland Government's discussion paper on educational outcomes for Indigenous students in Cape York and the Torres Strait. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement 5 August, 2005.
Bernard Lane reports in The Australian on the Australian Council of Deans of Education's (ACDE) submission to the House of Representatives Inquiry Into Teacher Education. According to the report, the ACDE is concerned by the dwindling number of autonomous education faculties at Australian universities, many of which have, over the last decade, been subsumed into bigger faculties, marginalising the interests of education departments and schools. To address this situation, the submission has proposed the investigation of the establishment of universities which are 'specifically charged with teacher training'. See the article in The Australian 10 August, 2005. See also the ACDE's submission – Teaching Tomorrow's Teachers.
The controversial theory of 'intelligent design' has won the qualified backing of Australian Government Education Minister Brendan Nelson, who says it should be taught in schools alongside evolution if that is the wish of parents. See report in The Age 11 August, 2005.
A teacher at a Victorian primary school has been suspended amid allegations that students were shown the content of a literacy and numeracy test prior to the exam. Teaching unions argue that such tests increase the pressure on Victorian schools to perform well, with many schools 'teaching to test' as a result. See article in The Age 11 August, 2005.
South Australia's State Literacy and Numeracy Test will be extended to high schools next year, with Year 9 students to be examined for the first time. State Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has announced that the Year 9 test will be put in place after trials next year. See report in The Advertiser 11 August, 2005.