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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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New publications

Making School Improvement Happen with What Works in Schools: an ASCD Action Tool

John L Brown

A set of three publications in this series explain ways to address and use the school-level, student-level and teacher-level factors that have the most impact on student achievement. School-level Factors suggests problem-solving approaches, checklists and assessments to identify issues such as whether teachers are focusing on core curriculum and whether assessments are challenging and enhance learning. The author outlines how to define problems, create improvement goals and implement a series of research-based strategies. Student-level Factors considers how home environment, existing knowledge, parents’ ways of communicating with children and individual motivation affect achievement. Tools and activities outline ways for school leaders to work with teacher teams and other school groups in developing student motivation and providing parental support. Another edition outlines factors related to teaching. Problem-solving guides, observational checklists and other tools help school leaders analyse the effectiveness of teaching approaches across all levels. Teacher-level Factors that identify learning objectives, monitor student progress, balance group and individual work and extend student understanding are suggested. Analytical tools to help teachers determine the effectiveness of rules, procedures, disciplinary measures and other aspects of classroom management are included. (Adapted from publisher's description. Also available from ACEL.)


Subject Headings

Teaching and learning
School principals
School leadership
School administration

Re-imagining Educational Leadership

Brian J Caldwell
ACER,  2006

Addressing the disillusion that many Australian school leaders are said to feel, this book challenges educational policymakers, leaders and teachers to rethink and reinvigorate educational leadership. In Part A, 'Re-imagining the self-managing school', the author looks at schools that became self-managing in the 1990s, and shows how their initial visions have often been surpassed by their best- practice efforts. The new concepts of 'synergy' and 'sagacity' are described and illustrated. In Part B, 'The new enterprise logic of schools', the book explores the student focus employed by self-managing schools, and discusses actual examples of school transformation in practice. Part C, 'Exhilarating leadership', highlights the positive side of school leadership roles. (Adapted from publisher's description. See abstract of the author's conference paper, featured in this edition of Curriculum Leadership Journal.)


Subject Headings

School principals
School administration
School leadership

Building Learning Communities: Partnerships, Social Capital and VET Performance

Janelle Allison, Scott Gorringe, Justine Lacey
NCVER, November 2006
The impact of vocational education and training (VET) on the development of communities in regional areas of Australia is explored in this research. VET is shown to play a critical role as an entry point to learning. The report suggests that VET activities and partnerships have mobilised considerable social capital, along with human, environmental and cultural capital, in regional communities across Australia. VET in regional communities may benefit from taking a more holistic approach, which incorporates the continuing learning pathway, rather than focusing on discrete packages and modules, particularly in Indigenous communities. Researchers highlight several ‘excellent examples’ where VET plays a leadership role in regional development plans, and points to further opportunities to integrate VET into strategic regional development. The research is based on a qualitative study of 12 case studies across Queensland, the Northern Territory, Western Australia, South Australia, Tasmania, Victoria and New South Wales. The case studies incorporate a variety of different physical landscapes and varying levels of available human capital. (Adapted from report's key messages.)

Subject Headings

VET (Vocational Education and Training)
Aboriginal peoples

Growing Up in Australia: the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children, Annual Report 2005-06

A major AIFS study is tracking two cohorts of children and their families, from the ages of 0–1 and 4–5 respectively, to improve understanding of children's development in Australia’s current social, economic and cultural environment. The current report covers the first wave of data released in May 2005, and preparation for second wave data collection. A mail-out questionnaire was completed between the two waves of data collection to gauge parents’ opinions on their children’s health, sleep problems, adjustment to school entry, use of child care facilities and uptake of reading activities. Asked about their child’s development, about 31 per cent of parents had concerns about behaviour, 45 per cent about relationships with peers, 44 per cent about how the child was learning to do things independently and 44 per cent had concerns about how their child was learning (pre-)school skills. The findings have generated other papers on children’s adjustment and temperament, neighbourhood influences on children, young children and grandparents, and the use of formal and informal child care. A number of government reports based on the findings have also been commissioned and are underway. Online excerpts are available for two such reports: on parenting and families and families, work and wellbeing. Findings also report on parents’ use of unpaid, paid and other leave types. Second wave data will be gathered through computer-assisted interviews, questionnaires and diary tracking by parents; physical measurements; assessments of cognitive development and language; interviews with children; and surveys of teachers and carers.

Subject Headings

Child development
School and community
Parent and child

Inclusion: Does it Matter Where Pupils are Taught? Provision and Outcomes in Different Settings for Pupils with Learning Difficulties and Disabilities


This British report examines factors that promote successful learning outcomes for pupils with learning difficulties and disabilities in the UK. It is based on a survey of 74 mainstream, resourced mainstream, special schools and pupil referral units and 17 local authorities across the country. Mainstream and special schools were found to be equally effective in their provision for pupils with difficulties, and 'resourced mainstream schools' were found to be more effective than either. The survey found that the involvement of a specialist teacher, well-designed assessments, work that was sufficiently challenging, and the committed efforts of school leaders were the key factors in achieving successful learning outcomes for pupils. According to the survey, pupils with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties were less likely to receive timely and effective support. The report calls for greater efforts to improve outcomes for the lowest quartile of pupils. Recommendations for key stakeholder groups are offered, while internal/external challenges of different educational settings and the impact of the Special Education Needs (SEN) framework are also discussed. (Adapted from executive summary.)


Subject Headings

Special education
Great Britain
Learning problems
Learning ability

Common School Starting Age Report

MCEETYA,  2006
In April 2004, the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) agreed to implement a uniform national school starting age by 2010, subject to the Australian Government agreeing to discuss cost implications with affected States and Territories. This Common School Starting Age Project investigated the costs, benefits, risks and opportunities associated with implementing a common school starting age. The project and its findings are reported in three volumes. Volume 1 outlines the five options for changing the minimum school starting age that were considered by the project. The volume includes a costs/benefits analysis, national social costs and benefits, State and Territory social costs and benefits, opportunity/risk analysis, and a discussion of the impact on aspects such as pre-school education, staffing, families and changes in school cohort size over time. Volume 2 outlines the various implications of the five proposed options for each of the States and Territories. Volume 3 includes the report’s appendices, glossary and references. Following consideration of this report, the Council agreed to further examine a common minimum school starting age of 4 years 6 months, including the educational and financial implications and associated nomenclature, having regard to the other minimum school starting ages currently in place. (Adapted from report.)

Subject Headings

Federal-state relations
Educational planning
Educational evaluation
Education policy
Primary education
Northern Territory
Western Australia (WA)
Australian Capital Territory (ACT)
South Australia
New South Wales (NSW)
Early childhood education