The number of Victorian state school students recorded as having disabilities and language disorders has soared by almost 10,000 in five years. Education Department figures show there are 23,083 Victorian students in school disability and language disorder programs this year, a rise of 74 per cent compared with the 13,257 in 2000. But a Royal Children's Hospital expert said the figures were 'a significant underestimate', and most academics believed at least 10 per cent of school children had extra learning needs. Education Services Minister, Jacinta Allan, has set up a working group to examine the disability and language disorder programs. See article in The Age 26 April 2005.
The New South Wales Department of Education and Training has given its 2005 Education Week the theme NSW Public Schools: Leading the Way. Celebrations commencing on Saturday 14 May will include an interactive Education Expo, a national Back to School Day on Tuesday 17 May, and the successful Principal for a Day program.
The Australian Government $1 billion Investing in Our Schools Programme plans to deliver much needed school infrastructure, funding the repair, replacement or installation of new items critical to their school's overall needs. Each school community supported will have the opportunity to identify and prioritise their own projects. The programme includes parents, students and teachers in the decision-making process.
An innovative $3.61 million Australian Government project will help train more than 14,000 teachers and school leaders to work with Indigenous students. The What Works project is a practical, professional development resource. Teachers and principals can participate in workshops and support activities, and work actively with parents and their local communities. Participating schools, with intensive support from the project team, will develop local responses to improve overall educational outcomes for Indigenous students. Experiences and results will be shared via the What Works website. See ministerial media statement 7 April 2005.
In response to recommendations from the ACT Government's Territory as Parent report, additional funding totalling $8.724m has been secured for the delivery of services to vulnerable children and young people in the ACT. The funding will continue implementation of additional child protection workers, investment in business systems, additional security measures at the Quamby Youth Detention Centre and supported accommodation for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander males. See media release 6 April 2005.
Middle years and secondary schools in New Zealand will soon be able to access a system which keeps tags on non-enrolled students. The Internet scheme tracks children who have changed schools and automatically triggers an alert after 20 days if they have not enrolled elsewhere. Schools will keep the database up to date by adding details of new students and those who have left to change schools. The central register should be accessible by the end of Term 1 next year. The New Zealand Government had allocated $4.8 million for the project in the 2005 Budget. See report in the New Zealand Herald 13 April 2005.
Western Australia's Department of Education and Training has initiated a new advisory group, formed to strengthen individual and systemic responses to workplace violence by looking at the issue holistically. The types of workplace violence being targeted include staff intervention when students are fighting, students verbally or physically assulting staff, and other adults such as parents or former students coming on to school premises and assaulting staff. See news brief in School Matters Number 3, 1 April 2005. For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Teachers are too scared to comfort pupils because child protection laws have made youngsters 'too hot to handle', Scotland’s Children’s Commissioner has warned. Teaching unions have supported her, claiming false accusations put their members under enormous stress and create a false and sterile relationship between the teacher and the pupil that takes away from the teaching and learning process. See report in The Scotsman 20 January 2005.
The British Government is facing calls for reform of the school curriculum after its own research showed four out of ten pupils are never taught about voting or elections. Students' knowledge of politics and law has declined despite a major Government drive to improve citizenship education in schools, the research found. See Ofsted report.
The Numeracy Development Project, initiated by the Ministry of Education, New Zealand, is set to receive an extra $5 million over the next four years, extending the project to include the secondary sector. Already, the project has heightened the mathematical skills of 14,000 primary and intermediate teachers. See news brief in the New Zealand Education Gazette 11 April 2005.
Middle years students at two New Zealand secondary schools are being guided in a recently released Digital Opportunities project. The students are being taught about forest regeneration and ecosystem monitoring with a range of digital technologies, facilitating greater awareness and responsibility. This project is in partnership with Massey University and Forest Research Ltd.