For discussion of the new Australian Government's 'digital revolution' in education, see the transcript of an interview with Minister of Education, Julia Gillard, 20 February 2008. See also article in the Sydney Morning Herald 19 February 2008 and report in The Australian 21 February 2008.
The Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced support for a new Family–School and Community Partnership Bureau to help develop partnerships between parents, schools and the community. The Government will provide $800,000 over four years to the Australian Council of State Schools Organisation (ACSSO) and the Australian Parents Council (APC), to conduct research and develop pilot programs to ensure schools are more welcoming to parents and the broader community. See Minister's media release 18 February 2008.
The newly announced head of the National Curriculum Board, Barry McGaw, has commented to The Australian newspaper on current steps in planning for a national curriculum. The new curriculum is intended to be accessible to teachers, giving broad guidance rather than detailed prescription, he said. He has invited existing curriculum agencies around Australia to submit examples of high-quality current documents. The new national board will also examine documents from other high-performing countries. See article in The Australian 21 February 2008.
In May, Curriculum Corporation will be conducting Multiliteracies workshops in Sydney and Adelaide, and a Comprehension Strategies for New Literacies workshop in Melbourne. All three events are designed for P–8 teachers. The sessions will be conducted by literacy experts Michèle Anstey and Geoff Bull. See also their article in Curriculum Leadership April 2007.
Western Australian Education and Training Minister, Mark McGowan, has announced a new research and training facility that allows student teachers to observe and research a wide range of teaching methods and behaviour management techniques. The facility is a partnership between the Western Australian Government and Edith Cowan University (ECU), in association with the Fogarty Foundation. The facility, to be based at Roseworth Primary School, will include space for student teachers to work with small groups of children and improve their skills, and observe teaching methods and behaviour management techniques of in-service teachers, without disrupting classes. Construction of new Roseworth Primary School buildings will be completed by the end of 2009.
Years 11 and 12 students will be able to learn about minerals, petroleum and hydrogeology while they study environmental science issues as part of a new course launched by Western Australian Education and Training Minister, Mark McGowan. The Earth and Environmental Science course potentially leads to further study in areas such as exploration, mining, petroleum, hydrogeology, environmental science, climate change science and marine science. See Minister's media statement 19 February 2008.
Australian Volunteers International (AVI) invites education professionals to apply for international volunteer assignments. Assignments are available for Teacher trainers, English & ESL teachers, Education managers, Special education teachers and Curriculum Advisors. Successful applicants will receive airfares, insurance, accommodation, living allowances and in-country support. Visit australianvolunteers.com for assignments and departure dates, or come to an information session. For details call Nancy Zele on (03) 9279 1843, Toll-free 1800 331 292, Email firstname.lastname@example.org. As an international volunteer sending agency supported by AusAID, AVI and its volunteers are committed to achieving long term development, poverty alleviation and sustainable livelihoods.
An article in The Australian 19 February 2008 supports the use of synthetic phonics as a strategy to help beginnnig readers, citing the experiences of an assistant principal at Peakhurst South public school in Sydney's southwest.
The possibility of ongoing industrial action by public school teachers in Victoria is described in an article in The Age 21 February 2008. The article also refers to industrial issues affecting teachers in the Catholic school sector.