New national curriculum body commences operation
The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has commenced operation. ACARA will continue the work of the interim National Curriculum Board in developing the Australian curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 12, beginning with English, mathematics, science and history. A second early priority for ACARA will be the development of a schools data and school reporting system by the end of 2009. A small team to prepare the schools data and reporting systems will be appointed this month. See expression of interest documentation for these positions. In the near future ACARA will be advertising for three senior positions: Chief Executive Officer, General Manager Curriculum and General Manager Assessment and Reporting. In 2010 the ACARA office will be relocated from Melbourne to Sydney. See also media statement 3 June 2009 by Australian Government Minister for Education Julia Gillard, and article about planning for the National Curriculum in The Age 1 June 2009.
Universities initiate review into secondary and tertiary maths education
A review into mathematics education in schools and at the tertiary level has been initiated by the Group of Eight universities. The review, due to report by September this year, will be headed by Gavin Brown, Director of the Royal Institution of Australia in Adelaide. See article in The Australian 3 June 2009.
New reports on cyber bullying
Two new reports on cyber bullying have been released by the Australian Minister for Education, Julia Gillard. The reports, The Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study and Behind the Scenes: Insights into the Human Dimension of Covert Bullying, show that the prevalence and impact of covert bullying in Australian schools is increasing but is also under-reported. See Minister's media statement 1 June 2009, article 3 June 2009 in The Mercury, Tasmania, and South Australian Government media release 28 May 2009.
Schools should teach Christian values, says Archbishop of Westminster
Schools are a place where virtue can be fostered, and should teach Christian values, says the new Archbishop of Westminster, who argues that schools are focused on results to the detriment of students' spirituality. See article in CathNews 5 June 2009.
Call for more information on school funding in Victoria
A committee of the Victorian parliament has asked the State Government to present more information about the selection process by which schools receive funding for upgrades under the Victorian Schools Plan. See article in The Age 3 June 2009.
Victoria's school fire plans lacking: Chief Fire Officer
School fire policies in high risk areas must be reviewed and improved, according to the Victorian Country Fire Authority's Chief Fire Officer. See article in The Age 2 June 2009.
Classroom computers boost face-to-face learning
Students learn and collaborate more effectively when face-to-face communication is enhanced by use of a specially designed software program, called CoFFEE, that encourages equal participation in problem-solving tasks. See report in ScienceDaily 26 May 2009.
Schools miss out on lab upgrades
Schools requiring major refurbishments or the construction of new buildings will receive funding preference over schools requiring smaller scale improvements, resulting in hundreds of schools missing out on funding. See article, The Australian 1 June 2009.
Poor attention in kindergarten predicts lower high school test scores
New research suggests that early intervention to address attention difficulties could improve later academic success. A study has shown that students who exhibited attention-related behavioural problems at kindergarten age achieved lower literacy and numeracy results in standardised tests at secondary level. See report in ScienceDaily 28 May 2009.
Anti-piracy movement shifts sights to schools
The Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation will provide schools with anti-piracy resources as part of its campaign to raise awareness of film and television piracy issues. See article in ITnews 2 June 2009.
Language-impaired student sues over school failure to provide support
The mother of a secondary student with a severe language disorder is suing Victoria's Education Department for failing to provide appropriate speech therapy and study plans and to protect him from bullying. See article in The Age 2 June 2009.