The Principals as Literacy Leaders pilot will develop the capabilities of principals in low SES and Indigenous school communities across Australia. Principals will be provided with the necessary support to allow them to develop and implement strategies for improving and sustaining high levels of literacy achievement in their schools and across the system. Principals will be guided through five professional development modules: leadership; literacy learning and assessment; data gathering and analysis; developing, implementing and monitoring interventions; and evaluation and future planning. Principals with acknowledged expertise in literacy and numeracy will then be selected to mentor 15 local principals. The pilot is a partnership between the Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations, the South Australia Government, the Australian Primary Principals Association; government education departments in Queensland, Western Australia and the Northern Territory; Catholic Schools in South Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland; and independent schools in South Australia and Queensland. See South Australia Government media release 26 March 2009.
In a submission to the National Curriculum Board, the Australian Science Teachers Association (ASTA) has urged that no less than 90 minutes a week should be devoted to science during the first four years of school. See article in The Age 26 March 2009.
The Board of Studies NSW is now using the Twitter social networking site as an added means to disseminate news and information to the community. The new service, NewsAtBOS, is believed to be the first of its kind provided by an education authority in Australia. The service supplements the email and RSS alert services already offered by the Board. Teachers, librarians and students are among the early subscribers. Free registration with Twitter is required to access the service.
The primary-source database AwesomeStories has been revised and improved and is now available to schools, libraries, educators and students. Its features include 15,000 images, as well as documents, narrations, video/audio clips and organised slide shows. Secondary sources, such as links to Google Books, are also incorporated into the text. Group access to the site is free for all schools, libraries, educators and students.
A partnership between Edith Cowan University (ECU), Tutoring Australasia and the Cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo has resulted in an initiative to provide Western Australian primary and secondary students with free online tutoring through Tutoring Australasia's yourtutor service. The service will be available at eight libraries within the Cities of Joondalup and Wanneroo, and will also be accessible from home for library members. See ECU media release 11 March 2009.
A US study has drawn a link between student behaviour and time allocated for recess. The classroom behaviour of more than 11,000 primary students was rated by their teachers, who gave better scores to students who had 15 minutes or more of recess than to students who had a shorter break or none at all. See article in Pediatrics Vol 123, No 2, 26 January 2009, and comment in inservice, 25 February 2009.
On 17th April Curriculum Corporation will host an event titled Successful Students Think: Engaging Students In Mathematics Learning. Participants will explore thinking and enquiry processes embedded in the teaching and learning activities of the Maths300 program. The one day event will be held at Upper Coomera State College, Upper Coomera, Gold Coast. See online brochure for details.
Class Clowns, the Melbourne Comedy Festival’s annual national competition for secondary students, is seeking applications from students in Years 9 to 12. Teenagers will be given the opportunity to work alongside some of the Comedy Festival’s finest comic talent to hone a five minute performance. Download the Class Clowns Calendar for locations of events and/or to register.
Some children in Western Australia lack knowledge of basic words when they start school, according to State Education Minister Liz Constable and MP Alannah MacTiernan. A State Parliamentary Standing Committee is currently examing the developmental needs of Western Australian children. See article in Sunday Times (PerthNow) 9 March 2009.
Recent figures show a decline in Indigenous school attendance rates in remote Northern Territory schools. See report on ABC News 10 March 2009.
Some parents of children at independent schools in Victoria are lobbying MPs to support a voucher system for their children's education, according to an article in the Herald Sun 13 March 2009.