Teachers in Queensland Catholic schools have taken strike action this week in pursuit of a pay claim. See information available on the website of the Queensland Independent Education Union (QIEU), and article in The Courier Mail 28 October 2009.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) has published summary results of its latest survey of Australian principals. A total of 1,473 public school principals replied to the survey. Issues covered include class sizes in primary schools; staffing and teacher supply, including the availability of teachers by subject area; priority issues for the Australian Government; and school fundraising. See AEU media release, article in The Sydney Morning Herald, report on ABC News and article in The Daily Telegraph, all 27 October 2009.
The Australian Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has invited 150 school principals to a two-day forum. The forum, to be held on 10–11 November, will focus on how the government can help principals lift educational outcomes for all students, and the challenges that school principals are facing on the ground. Topics will include the government's current goals and projects for school reform, the new national curriculum, assessment, reporting, literacy and numeracy, school infrastructure, Indigenous education and student wellbeing. Principals will also have the opportunity to engage directly with the new Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). The government is eager to talk to principals about the role of the new Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL), which will promote excellence in the profession of teaching and school leadership. Principals from government, Catholic and independent schools in each State and Territory will be invited to participate through the six national principal associations. See Minister's media release 25 October 2009. See also article in The Canberra Times and article in The Sydney Morning Herald, both 26 October 2009.
Professor Anthony Dooley of the University of NSW has warned that the number of advanced maths students across Australia fell 25% between 1995 and 2008, and the number of university students majoring in maths fell by 15% between 2001 and 2008. See article in The Daily Telegraph 26 October 2009.
Almost 450 long-serving temporary employees in South Australia's public schools and preschools have been offered permanent positions. See media statement 24 October 2009 by State Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith.
Victoria's Minister for Education Bronwyn Pike has announced 65 'Learning beyond the bell' grants to support homework clubs with large numbers of refugees and migrant students. The grants will go to schools and community organisations that provide refugees and migrant students with after-school tutoring, and for groups running homework programs for computers and resources to further support refugee and migrant students. Overall the government is investing $90 million in 2009–2010 for English as a second language (ESL) support programs. See Minister's media release 22 October 2009, which includes a list of grant recipients.
A website development company, Sponsor-ed, is offering schools a free website and revenue in return for permitting corporate advertising on their sites. Visits to school websites are likely to rise sharply next year, when school performance data are posted on them. See article in The Daily Telegraph 30 October 2009.
WorkCover statistics indicate rising levels of claims from teachers at Catholic and independent schools, relating to workplace stress and injuries. A rise in stress levels has been attributed to the pressures of educational reforms, increasing parental expectations, and aggressive behaviour from students and parents. See article in The Age 19 October 2009.
An article in The Age 26 October 2009 asks whether 'governance structures such as non-elected school boards' can meet current social expectations of high transparency and accountability.
A group of Indigenous leaders has called for greater consultation and involvement of Indigenous Australians in the development of school curriculums. The group argues that contemporary Indigenous Australian cultures and achievements should be better integrated into the curriculum and covered more thoroughly. See article in The Australian 26 October 2009.
In a move attracting widespread publicity, a class of Grade 6 students in Sweden have criticised the Toys R Us company for gender-stereotyping of their products. See article on Salon.com, 9 October 2009.
An article in The Sydney Morning Herald 23 October 2009 reports that first year university enrolments have declined 6% in rural and 23% in regional areas, while enrolments from low-SES students have 'flatlined'. The trends have been attributed to the drought and the economic downtown. Australian Education Minister, Julia Gillard, has set an enrolment target of 20% for disadvantaged students, to be met by 2020.