Changes to Abstudy for Indigenous students
From 1 July 2007, the Australian Government will limit to four years the amount of time a student is eligible to receive the Abstudy Living Allowance or Pensioner Education Supplement while undertaking AQF Certificate I and II courses. Also, from 1 January 2007 there will be strengthened arrangements for the payment of the Abstudy School Term Allowance for Indigenous junior secondary school students, by linking payment to school attendance of at least 85%. See Ministerial media release 9 May 2006.
Funding announced for latest round of school partnership projects
New South Wales Education Minister, Carmel Tebbutt, has announced that more than 100 schools across the State will receive $2.9 million in funding to match fundraising by local Parents and Citizen Associations. The money is the latest instalment in the State Government's Joint Funding Program which provides funds for projects such as covered outdoor learning areas, air-cooling and canteen upgrades. The funding will be distributed to 129 projects in 114 schools. See news item from the Department of Education and Training 9 May 2006.
Australian Government Reading program 'missing targets'
Fewer than one in three children eligible for reading assistance under the Australian Government's Reading Assistance Voucher Program have received any tuition more than two years later, according to a report in The Australian, 10 May 2006. An independent evaluation of the scheme found that its success was tied to the cooperation of the States, with the highest take-up in States where schools identified and contacted students. To combat this problem, the extended scheme will appoint a national program coordinator to work with the States and parents to devise the best way of delivering the scheme.
New anti-bullying policy in Victoria
Victorian Minister for Education Services, Jacinta Allan has launched the State Government’s new Safe Schools are Effective Schools policy at Gilmore College for Girls in Footscray. The strategy includes new anti-bullying guidelines and resources for Victoria’s 1,600 government schools, including posters, an updated website and booklets offering clear and practical information and tips on prevention, intervention and management of bullying. See Ministerial media release 10 May 2006.
Use of calculators in VCE examinations
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has announced changes in policy governing the use of calculators approved for certain VCE examinations. See Memorandum to Schools 37/2006, 2 May 2006.
The new computer pen
The new FLY computer pen can 'read' what students write. For example, the FLY can 'read' digits written on special imprinted paper to calculate a maths problem. It can also correct students when they make errors such as misplacing a decimal point. The battery operated FLY contains a computer chip, speaker, tiny camera and separate cartridges to run applications. See The Australian Educational Leader, Vol 1 2006, p 8.
Taskforce to identify strategies to improve parent and community involvement in Tasmania
A new taskforce to identify strategies to improve parent and community involvement in school life has been announced by Tasmanian Education Minister, David Bartlett. The taskforce will look at how schools can better link with the community. The President of the Tasmanian State School Parents and Friends, Jenny Branch, will chair the group, which will also involve the Tasmanian Principal’s Association and community organisations such as Rotary and Volunteering Tasmania. The taskforce will report back to the Minister by 31 October 2006 with recommendations. See Ministerial media release 9 May 2006.
Information security campaign in Queensland
Education Queensland is raising awareness of information security issues in the workplace. All school staff across the State will receive a booklet outlining roles and responsibilities. Each school and education office will also receive a DVD outlining everyday habits that can compromise information security. See further details on Education Queensland’s Communication and Information Technology policy.
Parenting Imperatives II: 2nd National Parenting Conference
Hosted by South Australia’s Centre for Parenting, Child and Youth Health, the Parenting Imperatives II Conference targets professionals who work with parents. International and Australian keynote speakers will cover various aspects of parenting, such as how trauma affects character, new perspectives on aggression, the role of fathers, what children worry about, and research and practice in parenting programs.
Report card 'chaos'
Mid-year reports could be delayed at some government schools amid concern by principals and teachers about the 'chaotic' roll-out of the new Victorian report cards. Almost half the State's 1,600 public schools have opted to introduce the report cards this year, but teachers say many schools will not be ready to use them by the mid-year reporting round. See article in The Age, 8 May 2006.