The Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced that 3496 Australian schools will receive $439.7 million for 4513 minor infrastructure and refurbishment projects under the second and final round of the National School Pride (NSP) program. See media release 21 May 2009, which includes a link to the list of successful schools and their planned projects.
The Mercury newspaper in Tasmania has published a ranked list of secondary schools in the State. The list covers results in literacy and numeracy tests and student attendance. The Australian Education Union's National Principals Committee has condemned the publication of the list as a 'league table'. Meanwhile Queensland's Courier-Mail has announced that it is also publishing 'a comprehensive rundown of how each school in the state fared in national literacy and numeracy testing'. See article in the Courier-Mail 22 May 2009, and critical commentary 18 May and earlier report 12 May 2009 in The Sydney Morning Herald. See also earlier news item on public reporting of school performance in Curriculum Leadership 8 May 2009.
In an interview in The Australian, Tom Alegounarias, the newly appointed President of the NSW Board of Studies, has described some of his guiding principles concerning the State curriculum. See article 20 May 2009.
An article in The Age 21 May 2009 has reported on the Victorian Government's forthcoming trial of performance pay for teachers. State Education Minister Bronwyn Pike recently commissioned the Boston Consulting Group to examine performance pay systems operating overseas to inform the Victorian trial.
Educators of early years children in Britain must follow the new Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS), which comprises 69 learning targets. The program is opposed by teachers and academics who believe the target-driven nature of the program is detrimental to children's natural development, and by proponents of later-start education such as the Steiner movement. See article in The Telegraph 17 May 2009.
Students are receiving inadequate sex education at school, according to research by Australian adolescent health specialist Dr Rachael Skinner. Her study of adolescent girls indicated that they were aware of the risks related to sex, but that they also lacked the skills to resist peer pressure to engage in unwanted sexual activity. See article in The Age 19 May 2009.
Histrionics, a new television quiz show designed to help young people engage with history, was launched this week on the community station TVS. The program, developed by the University of Western Sydney (UWS) in collaboration with the NSW History Teachers' Association, will contain material and questions designed around the NSW history syllabus. See UWS media release 17 May 2009.
A recent study has examined schools where shootings have occurred. The schools tended to be large, academically competitive, to permit disrespectful behaviour, bullying, and peer harassment, and to have an obvious 'in-group'. See article in New Scientist 18 March 2009.
A longitudinal study of 1800 kindergarten children in the USA has emphasised the impact of peers on the development of children's language skills. See article in Science Daily 18 May 2009.
A campaign in the USA is attempting to make maths more engaging for students. Emphasing that mathematical ability is not biologically predetermined, the campaign includes promotions by celebrities and measures targeted specifically to girls. See article, The Washington Post 16 May 2009.
WolframAlpha, a new search tool that computes answers rather than searching for content has recently been launched. Unlike traditional search engines, which provide users with lists of relevant web pages, Wolfram Alpha draws on information from a number of online databases and presents them as a page of results. See article in The Times 18 May 2009.
A computer program that runs checks on school visitors is being installed in schools in Tennessee, USA. The V-soft program matches visitors' driver's licence details against a sex-offender registry database. See article in chron.com 18 May 2009.