Nomination forms and guidelines for the national awards for excellence in school music education are now available. Up to 13 awards will be made to school leaders and teachers who have exceptionally enhanced the status and quality of music education. Recipients will receive $5000 toward professional learning related to music education. The awards have been established in response to the National Review of School Music Education 2005 report. Applications close 30 April 2007.
Mr Andrew Robb MP has been appointed as Australian Government Minister for Vocational and Further Education. See undated announcement and personal profile from the Department of Education, Science and Training.
New South Wales Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt has announced a new on-line professional development database for the State's teachers. The NSW Institute of Teachers website will allow teachers to keep track of their own professional development and maintain a record for their school, as well as provide access to information about the latest courses and requirements. It will also allow principals to easily verify the credentials of teachers. See Departmental media release, 4 February 2007.
Mathematicians and scientists are being offered scholarships to train as teachers under a new South Australian Government program to boost the number of specialised teachers. Scholarships of $14,000 are available through the New Beginnings initiative to encourage scientists and mathematicians to undertake a post-graduate education qualification. Six scholarships, comprising a $4000 HECS scholarship and a $10,000 attraction incentive, are on offer this year, with ten scholarships to be offered each year from 2008. Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith says it will work alongside a program, announced last year, to encourage experienced mathematics and science teachers to take a sea change in a country school. See Ministerial media release, 5 February 2007.
Queensland Minister for Education and Training, Rod Welford, has announced a new Code of School Behaviour that outlines the responsibilities that all members of a school community are expected to uphold. See Ministerial media release, 30 January 2007.
The new Queensland Academy for Science, Mathematics and Technology has been launched by Premier Peter Beattie. The Academy will offer the International Baccalaureate diploma and links with the University of Queensland. This year it has 242 students taking subjects for Year 10 and Year 11. It will be the only State school in Queensland with a wireless campus. Students will be using a graphic Tablet PC, a special notebook computer, for all subjects. Purpose-built science laboratories have been designed. Smart cards will allow students to access science laboratories and other facilities after hours. Meanwhile the Queensland Academy for Creative Industries at Kelvin Grove is also commencing operations for Year 10 and Year 11 students. See Joint Statement from Premier Peter Beattie and Minister for Education and Training and Minister for the Arts, Rod Welford, 30 January 2007.
Western Australia's new Education Minister Mark McGowan has directed the Department of Education and Training (DET) to undertake a review of teacher recruitment practices, following the release of figures showing a significant shortfall of teaching staff in government schools. Mr McGowan said DET would engage an international human resources planning firm to undertake the review and advise the government on how to improve its teacher recruitment practices. See Ministerial media statement, 29 January 2007.
Education Minister Mark McGowan has welcomed yesterday’s decision by the Liquor, Hospitality and Miscellaneous Union to accept the Government’s offer of a 12.5 per cent pay increase over three years for education assistants. Assistants from minority ethnic backgrounds who work with migrant or refugee students will be automatically reclassified, which will entitle them to higher pay. The agreement recognises experienced education assistants in mainstream schools for their long service and also addresses workload issues such as relieving home economics assistants of general floor cleaning duties, freeing them up to better assist teachers and students to achieve educational goals. The Department of Education and Training will introduce specialised induction sessions for newly employed education assistants. See Ministerial media release, 2 February 2007.
The Age reports that foreign parents paid full fees for a total of 388 children to attend Victorian primary schools last year. Fees are up to $8,000 a year. See article, 7 February 2007.
Australian Minister for Education Julie Bishop has addressed a number of major educational issues in a speech to the National Press Club (see media release, 7 February 2007). The Minister said that national literacy and numeracy tests, which will be administered for the first time for all students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9, will lead to ‘increased timeliness of national results and increased comparability State by State’. A national approach to curriculum and assessment has been supported by senior business groups (see report in The Age, 6 February 2007). It has also received qualified support from APSA President Andrew Blair, who added that such an approach to curriculum ‘needed to incorporate local needs and could not be confused with "back to basics" curricula’, according to a report in The Australian, 3 February 2007. In her speech, the Minister called for ‘rewards for schools that are able to improve student performance in the fundamental skills of literacy and numeracy’ and the ‘inclusion of a performance element in teacher salaries’. She said that national testing and assessments in 2008 offer ‘an opportunity to identify the schools across the country which are adding value to the lives of their students, by significantly improving their literacy and numeracy skills’. See article on this topic in The Age, 8 February 2007. The Minister said that to assist the supply of teachers with sought-after specialist skills, Teaching Australia has been asked to provide advice to the government on alternative pathways for teacher registration. Her speech also covered issues surrounding State and Commonwealth education funding.
The Australian Government is offering awards to student teachers, in a move to promote the teaching of science in primary schools in new and stimulating ways. The Primary Pre-service Teacher Awards for Excellence in Science Education, valued at $2,000 each, will be offered to 500 exemplary student teachers in the final stages of their pre-service primary teacher courses in 2007. The awards will be available through teacher education faculties that incorporate aspects of the Primary Connections science and literacy learning initiative. Applications are expected to open after the start of the 2007 academic year. See Ministerial media release, 7 February 2007.
The Australian Government is to fund a $500,000 drug education program in schools over the next two years. The program will be administered by Life Education Australia (LEA). See Ministerial media release, 5 February 2007.