The Australian Government has established the National School Chaplaincy Programme to support school communities that wish to access the services of a school chaplain. Prime Minister John Howard has written an article explaining his initiative in The Age, 1 November 2006. See also his media release, 29 October 2006. The Australian Parents Council and some church leaders have welcomed the move. See report on ABC Online, 30 October 2006. According to some critics, the scheme promotes the idea that values are the preserve of religious faith only, while others suggest that some non-government schools will receive disproportionate benefit from it. See article in the Daily Telegraph and report in The Australian, both 30 October 2006. See also commentary, 31 October 2006 and update, 1 November 2006, in The Age. Concerns have been expressed by the Catholic school sector that the Australian Government reserves the right to approve the staff appointed. See article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 30 October 2006.
Visiting Canadian author and commentator John Ralston Paul has described the rising proportion of students in non-government schools as 'an artificial politically created change' that puts Australia out of step with most Western societies. He argues that the shift represents a trend toward elitism. This argument has been challenged by Kathryn Edwards of the Independent Schools Council of Australia (ISCA), who has pointed to the growth of low-fee non-government schools. See 'Australia could dismantle public schools', Education Review 18 October 2006, p 2.
Children labelled with ADHD and prescribed medication to curb challenging behaviour are 'scapegoats for the public education system's failure to be truly inclusive', according to Linda Graham, a Queensland University of Technology researcher. See QUT news release, 20 October 2006.
Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) are to study the socio-demographic factors, including family and home, in the literacy development of Year 1 students. The research will be led by education expert Professor Allan Luke from QUT's Faculty of Education. The research team will seek to identify the influence of events at home, such as TV watching and early reading, on students’ performance at school. The project will also address policy debates on phonics, early intervention and standards and will offer guidance for the development of early childhood curriculum strategies and programs. See QUT media release, 11 October 2006.
Legislation setting up a new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) has been introduced into the State’s Parliament. The Education Legislation Amendment Bill (2006) establishes the new senior schooling qualification, due to take effect in 2008. It would recognise workplace, university and community learning and will replace the existing Senior Certificate. The new QCE will recognise workplace learning projects, self-directed learning projects and university subjects, and will require literacy and numeracy standards to be met. See Ministerial media statement by Queensland Education and Training Minister, Rod Welford, 31 October 2006.
Unpublished research by Buly Cardak of La Trobe University and Chris Ryan of
In South Australia planning is now underway for a capital program worth more than $300 million, funded in the 2006–07 State Budget, including the $216 million Education Works program. The move follows 36 school upgrades and improvements completed or opened during the 2005ndash;06 financial year. See media release by Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith, 2 November 2006.