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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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Review of literacy and numeracy in Western Australia

The Western Australian Government has released a review of literacy and numeracy levels of children in the State. The review was prepared by an independent taskforce chaired by Professor Bill Louden. Key recommendations include: increasing the number of local kindergarten and pre-primary places in schools with low rates of participation and achievement in literacy and numeracy; improving coordination of whole-of-government services for children aged zero to four years; appointing coordinators to support links between parents and targeted schools; preparation of kindergarten to Year 7 syllabuses that include clear targets and a stipulated minimum time allocation for literacy and numeracy; developing a five year literacy and numeracy plan with a 10-year outlook for public schools; and establishing an independent body with the capacity for investigating, monitoring and reporting on system performance in literacy and numeracy. State Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan has previously announced the development of syllabuses and teacher support materials to be completed by the end of 2007. He also recently announced that the Curriculum Council would be the independent body to monitor and report on national testing results for all schools, which is one of the recommendations of the report. The State Government has committed to ensuring primary school teachers spend 50 per cent of their teaching time on literacy and numeracy. See Ministerial media release by Mark McGowan, 6 March 2007. See also commentary in The Australian, 7 March 2007.

Leading Languages Education website

The Leading Languages Education website is a new resource and professional development site to support principals and school leaders in leading Languages education in Australian schools. The development of this website, along with electronic newsletters, a series of forums in each State and Territory and the publication of a Leadership in Languages Education Publication over the coming year will ensure that school leaders are informed and encouraged to play a constructive leadership role in the development and implementation of approaches to Languages education at the school level.

New professional standards for Queensland teachers

New professional standards for Queensland teachers have been released by the State Government. Minister for Education and Training, Rod Welford, has said that the standards outline the abilities, knowledge and professional values expected of teachers in Queensland schools. The reforms have been developed by the new Queensland College of Teachers, established by the State Government in 2006 to oversee changes to teacher registration. Queensland teachers now have to renew their registration every five years. To gain renewal, they will have to show they've maintained their professional skills through ongoing professional education and recent teaching experience. The new professional standards will be used to test first-time teachers in their application for provisional registration and full registration, as well as supporting preservice teacher education programs. The standards are based around the three areas of teaching and learning, relationships with students, families and colleagues, and professional development. See Ministerial media release by Rod Welford, 1 March 2007.

School Leadership Consultation in Tasmania

Tasmania's Minister for Education, David Bartlett, has announced that enhancing school leadership will be a priority in the State's education system this year. He has asked the Department to consult with the Parents & Friends Association, the Tasmanian Principals Association and the Australian Education Union on ways to prepare, select and support school leaders. The Department is to report back to the Minister by October 2007. See Ministerial media statement, 4 March 2007

Draft education regulations available for comment in Victoria

Victoria's Minister for Education, John Lenders, has invited public comment on draft regulations for the State's new Education and Training Reform Act. The Act replaces 12 education and training Acts and sets up the Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority, which will regulate schools and training and higher education providers other than established universities. Public submissions on the draft regulations will be accepted until 30 March 2007. Mr Lenders said the Act was passed in May last year. It is expected the Act will come into effect before June this year, once the regulations are finalised. For further information on the Act and regulations see Ministerial media statement, 23 February 2007.

New working paper discusses the relationship between education and productivity in Australia

A working paper newly published by the Productivity Commission examines the impact of education on productivity in Australia and the USA. The paper, Can Australia Match US Productivity Performance? has a chapter on education, which includes a table comparing educational attainment by industry, and a chart showing average levels of schooling by age, in each country. See also commentary article 'Isolation limits productivity', Australian Financial Review, 9 March 2007, p 3.

NZ union asks for reduction in class sizes

The Post-Primary Teachers' Association (PPTA) is calling on the New Zealand Government to reduce teacher–student ratios and to provide more staffing for management and guidance. A PPTA survey of 66 schools found that some had significant numbers of classes with more than 30 students. See PPTA media release, 28 February 2007.

Reforms to US education proposed

The USA's Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) has submitted a High School Reform Proposal to Congress. The proposal is designed to 'provide incentives for schools to foster change in five key areas: multiple measures of assessment, personalized learning, increased flexibility in use of time and structure, professional development, and business and community engagement'. The ASCD is 'a membership organization of 178,000 principals, superintendents, teachers, and other frontline education professionals'. See article on ASCD website, February 2007.