The National Curriculum Board (NCB) has recently published ten foundational documents to shape the Australian curriculum, which are currently available on the Publications page of the NCB website. The writing of the curriculum for English, mathematics, the sciences and history, the first phase of the Board’s work, will begin this month. Consultation about the broad shape for languages, geography and the arts, the second phase, will take place during the remainder of 2009. This month the NCB’s work will be taken up by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) which will be based in Sydney. The curriculum unit of ACARA will remain in Melbourne until December 2009. See also article in The Australian 8 May 2009 and article in The Age 7 May 2009.
The Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has invited primary and secondary schools to apply for grants under the $6.24 million Becoming Asia Literate: Grants to Schools program. The grants are part of the Government’s National Asian Languages and Studies in Schools Program (NALSSP). The grants will be managed by the Asia Education Foundation. Asian languages and Asian studies are also being promoted through the Business Alliance for Asia Literacy, a new coalition of large corporations and business groups. Noting that parents’ and students’ demand for these programs is low at present, the alliance is seeking speakers to visit schools to highlight the need for proficiency in Asian languages, and other Asia-related skills, in the workplace. See Mefeedia video clip 5 May 2009, article in The Age 5 May 2009 and article in The Australian 6 May 2009.
The Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has released the full list of 1499 primary schools to receive $2.8 billion for major new infrastructure projects under Round One of Primary Schools For the 21st Century (P21). P21 will fund new libraries, multipurpose halls including gymnasiums, indoor sporting centres and assembly halls, new classrooms, performing arts centres and, in the case of smaller schools, covered outdoor learning areas. See also article in the Sydney Morning Herald 6 May 2009.
The Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) has called for safeguards to be built into plans recently announced by the Ministerial Council for Education Employment and Youth Affairs' (MCEETYA) to publish information about the performance of schools on national tests. See APPA media statements 7 May 2009 and article in the Sydney Morning Herald 8 May 2009.
Victoria's Minister for Education, Bronwyn Pike, has announced that the 2009 State Budget will fund the modernisation of a further 113 Victorian schools. The budget will also provide for higher pay and more planning time for teachers; increased tuition time for secondary school students; 200 teaching and learning coaches to build teachers' skills; literacy and numeracy support for Indigenous students; a program to assist students' transition from schools to work; and an additional 4000 places in kindergartens and maintenance of free kindergarten places for low income families. See Victorian Government media release 5 May 2009, article in The Australian 5 May 2009 and article in The Age 6 May 2009.
Schools in New South Wales are to have wireless internet access installed. The implementation, to be completed by February 2010, will allow students to use their laptops to access the internet. The new resources have been funded through the Australian Government’s National Secondary Schools Computer Fund. See media statement from State Minister for Education and Training, Verity Firth, 25 April 2009.
As part of a curriculum overhaul, primary students in the UK will now receive lessons explicitly teaching them when and how to use standard and formal varieties of English. The reforms are in response to concerns that many children are beginning school with severely underdeveloped language skills. See article in the Times 27 April 2009.