The interim National Curriculum Board has published new framing papers for English, mathematics, science and history. The papers propose broad directions for what teachers should teach and young people should learn from Kindergarten to Year 12. To further the process of consultation with the public and the profession the Board has also created an online consultation and feedback system on national curriculum development. Participation involves a brief registration process. The Board will determine its final recommendations in Term 1, 2009. See also earlier report in Curriculum Leadership 17 October 2008.
The Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced funding for a new scheme to attract high-performing graduates in areas like commerce, law and science to school teaching through a new pathway. The graduates will undertake an intensive teacher training course of up to six to eight weeks, receive ongoing mentoring from experienced teachers and undertake further study as they complete their teaching qualification. Graduates will commit to work in a hard-to-staff area for at least two years. The Victorian Government intends to implement the scheme next year. See Ministerial media release 27 November 2008, report on ABC News 24 November 2008 and article in The Age 28 November 2008. See also transcript of the Minister's speech 26 November 2008, to a dinner hosted by global financial company UBS for Joel Klein, the Schools Chancellor for New York City, in support of the new pathway to teaching and in support of business partnerships with schools. Joel Klein is also discussed in an article in The Australian 28 November 2008, commentary in the Sydney Morning Herald 26 November 2008, and ABC Radio National audio report 26 November 2008.
Discussion continues over calls from the Australian Government for public disclosure of individual schools' student academic results on national tests and other indicators of academic performance. See media release from the Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, 26 November 2008; commentary in The Age 27 November 2008; and earlier report in The Australian 24 November 2008.
A coeducational school in Kew, Victoria has been granted the right to refuse extra boys for three years so they do not 'swamp' girls in some classes. The school was granted a three-year extension to a 2005 Equal Opportunity Act exemption so it could maintain an equal ratio of male and female students. See article in The Age, 28 November 2008.
A report tabled in the Victorian Parliament this month by Auditor-General Des Pearson states that the level of investment in school buildings has been insufficient to maintain school grounds and facilities. In the worst cases, the report states, poorly maintained buildings may present a serious safety risk. See article in The Age, 24 November 2008.
Parents in Queensland have been warned that the cost of a Catholic education is expected to rise following a shortfall in State Government funding. The Queensland Catholic Education Commission expects smaller Catholic schools to be the hardest hit. See article in The Courier Mail, 26 November 2008.
South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has announced grants to 19 schools and preschools for programs to to strengthen community support for languages education. The programs include school events and student forums and the languages include Pitjantjatjara. See Premier Mike Rann's media release, 24 November 2008.
Nine South Australian State schools are to close or merge at the end of 2008. Morphett Vale High School and Sedan Primary School are to close and six primary and junior primary schools at Parafield Gardens, Aberfoyle Park and Wynn Vale will be involved in mergers. State Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has indicated that school councils agreed with the closure and merger plans, which resulted from population changes. See Premier Mike Rann's media release; see also article in ABC News online, 26 November 2008.