Public and media discussion of issues surrounding school performance reporting has continued over the past week. See articles in The Age, The Mercury, and The Sydney Morning Herald, and report on ABC News, all 7 August 2009.
The Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard and the Minister for Youth, Kate Ellis, have announced a national pilot project to address cyber-bullying in Australian schools. At least 150 schools across Australia will be involved in the pilot program which will be developed and conducted by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation (AMF). Government and non-government schools in urban, rural and remote Australia will participate in the pilot which will run until 30 April 2010. Following the pilot, the AMF will report on the findings and put forward recommendations. The pilot's outcomes will help to inform the Government's review of the National Safe Schools Framework (NSSF), scheduled for completion in June 2010. Two recent studies, The Australian Covert Bullying Prevalence Study and Behind the Scenes: Insights into the Human Dimension of Covert Bullying, shows that cyber-bullying is spreading in Australian schools but has been under-reported. The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has also recently announced a new Youth Advisory Group made up of 305 young Australians to advise Government on online issues such as cyber-bullying. See Ministers' media statement and see also Government of South Australia media release, both 2 August 2009.
The Schools Catalogue Information Service (SCIS) launched its new website on Friday 31 July. SCIS, a section of Curriculum Corporation, provides schools with access to a database of consistent catalogue records designed to reduce the cost and efforts associated with cataloguing school resources. The new version of SCIS allows subscribers to search for information about educational resources and ask questions of staff. SCIS is used by approximately 10,000 schools in Australia, New Zealand and overseas.
The new Centre for the Study of Contemporary Muslim Societies, part of the University of Western Sydney (UWS), aims to develop research programs that will advance Australian and international understanding of Islam and promote harmony and cultural inclusiveness. See UWS media statement 16 July 2009.
Members of the Australian Education Union in Queensland rallied this week in support of their enterprise bargaining campaign. Late the previous week the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission referred the union's entreprise bargaining negotiations to arbitration, and the effect was 'to remove the access of QTU members to protected industrial action', according to the union's media release 3 August 2009.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) South Australian branch has presented a submission to the State's Industrial Relations Commission in its dispute over an Entreprise Agreement with the South Australian Government. The submission states that an 'extraordinary increase in challenging students has created a pressure cooker situation in South Australian schools, struggling to cope with rising demands in the face of scarce resources'. See news and updates on the AEU website.
The Learning Technology Research Symposium is a half-day event inviting the community of researchers and practitioners in ICT-supported learning to exchange ideas, showcase their latest work, and catch up on recent innovations in learning technology research. It will take place on 1 October at the University of Sydney. Further details can be found at the conference website.
The University of Western Sydney (UWS) has presented the City of Fairfield with a cheque for $36,000 to support the education of local young people through the innovative YourTutor program. The free program provides maths, science, English and research assistance for students from Years 4 to 12. See UWS news item 27 July 2009.