In Britain, dozens of schools are using teaching materials promoting Intelligent Design as an alternative to Darwinian evolution, supplied by the Truth in Science group, generating widespread controversy. See report in the Guardian, 27 November 2006.
In New Zealand, the Post Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) has proposed a review of the country's Technology curriculum. The PPTA's call has been supported by the Education Forum. Reasons for the review of Technology include 'its status in schools, inadequacy of resources, staff recruitment difficulties and insufficient focus on practical skills', according to an Education Forum media release, 28 November 2006 (scoop.co.nz).
Next year Queensland will open Australia's first dedicated aviation high school at Hendra in Brisbane. From the beginning of the new school year, Hendra Secondary College will become 'Aviation High', providing students with a direct pathway to careers in the aviation industry. The State's Education and Training Minister, Rod Welford, has said the school will provide relevant education and training for students from Years 8 to 12. In Years 8 and 9 students will study the same or similar subjects studied at other high schools, but with an aviation focus where appropriate. Senior students will continue to study core subjects like English and Mathematics but will also have the opportunity to pursue a range of elective aviation subjects. Hendra Secondary College is one of ten Queensland schools involved in Education Queensland's innovative Aerospace Project. See Ministerial media statement, 29 November 2006.
The 2006 Priority Action Schools (PAS) Conference has been launched around the theme Planning to Innovate. After an opening address from New South Wales Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt, the conference investigated ways to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds achieve their best at school. The PAS program is a $16 million State Government initiative that aims to close the educational gap between the poorest and best performing students. The program also gives school communities a say in how the funding is used, empowering them to develop tailored and innovative programs such as specialised teacher programs, teacher induction and professional learning; employing additional teaching staff; intensive literacy and numeracy programs; and tailored support for students who are risk of disengagement or early school leaving. See Departmental media release, 27 November 2006.
Under a new plan in five Western Sydney public schools, students are teaching other students about bullying and how to combat it. The program involves 2,000 students, parents and community members. Year 9 students from St Clair High School are training Years 4 and 5 students from Blackwell and Banks Public Schools about identifying bullying, preventing and reporting it. See Departmental media release, 16 November 2006.
The Victorian Government is planning to introduce an ‘ultranet’ to every Victorian primary and secondary school, which would allow parents to log on, using a password, and monitor their children's classrooms. See article in Herald Sun, 13 November 2006.