The Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, has announced the details of a National Safe Schools Competition, to build on the success of the 2007 National Safe Schools Week held between 25 May and 1 June this year. The competition will involve students submitting essays that outline why their school is a leading example of a safe and supportive school. The competition is open to all primary and secondary schools in the government and non-government sectors. It will close on 30 September 2007. Prizes include $5,000 each for the two winning schools, $2,000 each for the eight runner-up schools, and iPods for all ten student finalists. See Ministerial media announcement 14 August 2007.
The Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, has welcomed the recommendations of the Australian Literature in Education Roundtable, which include a call for Australian literature to become a core element in a future national curriculum. See the Minister's statement 6 August 2007. See also report in The Age and article in The Australian, both 8 August 2007, and further commentary in The Australian 15 August 2007.
The language used to present maths problems in the early years of primary school is beyond the comprehension of many students, and includes some grammatical structures not covered in the English curriculum in their year, according to an analysis by Queensland University of Technology researchers. See article in The Australian 6 August 2007.
In Melbourne the next Leaders in Education Forum will be held at the Australian Institute of Management, in St Kilda on 3 September. Three speakers will address the topic of Schools Working Effectively with the Media. The panel will be Dr Muriel Porter, Former lecturer in journalism, RMIT; Ms Rebecca Leech, Education journalist, ACER publications; and Mr Ken Merrigan, Editor, The Age Education Supplement. Book online.
The Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, has launched a national public speaking competition called AussieSpeak '07. The speaking challenge is open to students in Years 5–12. Entrants are required to prepare and deliver a four-minute speech on the topic, 'Australia in 2020 should be recognised as ...'. See Ministerial media release 15 August 2007.
Cardinal George Pell and the Bishops of New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory have proposed the introduction of 'a new four-way selection test to give preference first to children from the school's local parish, then to other Catholics, other Christians and finally children from other religions'. See article in the Daily Telegraph 8 August 2007. In a different development, the Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney has withdrawn plans to have its 167 school principals, deputy principals and religious education coordinators commit publicly to adhere to church teaching on homosexuality, birth control and women's ordination. See article in the Sydney Morning Herald 9 August 2007.
Concern has been expressed by the Victorian branch of the AEU about social events being run in schools by the religious organisation the Assemblies of God. The Assemblies of God provides free extracurricular programs on school premises, at lunchtime and after school hours. See article in The Age 14 August 2007.
The Australian Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, has criticised a performance piece in Sydney's forthcoming rock eisteddfod. The piece protests against visiting US President George W Bush at the APEC forum. See article in the Daily Telegraph 15 August 2007. See also response by New South Wales Education Minister John Della Bosca, Sydney Morning Herald 15 August 2007 and further commentary in the Sydney Morning Herald 16 August 2007.
Steve Moneghetti has defended the need to retain Physical Education as part of the core curriculum for the primary years, in the face of calls by the Australian Primary Principals Association for the curriculum to be reduced from eight learning areas to four core subjects. Steve Moneghetti is a former Olympian who chaired a state review into sport and physical education in 1993. See transcript of ABC Radio report 6 August 2007.
The Victorian Government's decision to bring the Office for Children into the Department of Education has been praised by education consultant Kathy Walker in an article in The Age Education 6 August 2007.
Victoria is set to get its first maths, science and technology school. The $20 million John Monash Science School will cater for up to 650 Year 10–12 students. It is due to open in 2010 and be built on Monash University's Clayton campus. Significant support is expected for the school from business and industry. The Australian Education Union has expressed concern that neighbouring schools could suffer the loss of academically talented students to specialist schools. See article in The Age 13 August 2007.
The Queensland Government has received feedback from Prep teachers and teacher aides about the introduction of the new Prep Year in 2007. More than 60 per cent of Prep Year teachers responded to the survey. More than 75 per cent of Prep teachers rated the implementation of Prep as either successful or highly successful. See Ministerial media announcement 8 August 2007.
As legislation giving the Australian Government the power to conduct its emergency intervention into Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory is passed through the Senate, the Australian Education Union has called on the Government to ensure that all children in these communities have access to early childhood education and school service, as a key step in resolving many of the issues outlined in the Northern Territory Government's report Little Children are Sacred. See AEU media release 15 August 2007.
A South Australian education experiment that pairs scientists with science teachers has inspired a nationwide trial. See article in The Advertiser 16 August 2007.
South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has confirmed that proposed changes to the State's instrumental music education program will be discussed with music groups, to find common ground on measures to improve music education for South Australian school children. See Ministerial media release 14 August 2007.
Developed in April 2007, the Reach Out! Teachers' Network is a free service designed to help teachers work with students facing mental health issues. The Network offers classroom resources and newsletters. It is funded by the Macquarie Bank Foundation.
VISTA the Association of VET Professionals and VALA the Victorian Applied Learning Association will host a day conference exploring post-compulsory education on 23 August 2007, Sunshine Convention Centre, Victoria. Professionals working at the interface between VET, schools and youth programs may contact Karen Dymke or Ron Wilson for further details.