The new My School website published by the Australian Government continues to be widely discussed in public forums. See statement 8 February 2010 by Australian Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, and comments by Barry McGaw, the Chair of ACARA, in an article in The Australian 12 February 2010. See also article 11 February, and report and commentary both 8 February, in The Sydney Morning Herald; article 12 February in The Courier Mail; report in Adelaide Now 6 February; and report and commentary both 8 February 2010 in The Age.
In the next few weeks, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) will release the draft K–10 Australian curriculum in four learning areas – English, mathematics, science and history – for national consultation. The drafts will be available through a consultation website. Further information about the website and consultation dates will follow in the near future.
The 2010 National Curriculum Symposium will be held on 25–27 February 2010 at the University of Melbourne. Supported by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), the Symposium will provide a forum for Australian and British educators to discuss the findings of the recent Cambridge Review in England, as a framework in which to examine the nascent Australian curriculum. The Cambridge Primary Review was a comprehensive and independent inquiry into the condition and future of primary education in England. See Symposium program.
The Australian Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced that approximately one-quarter of all Australian schools will participate in Smarter Schools National Partnerships. The three categories of National Partnerships aim respectively to overcome educational disadvantage, improve teacher quality, and raise the literacy and numeracy standards of all children, particularly those at risk of falling behind. Over the life of the partnerships each State and Territory will receive funding from the Australian Government and will co-invest funding. See Minister's statement 11 February 2010. See also article in The Age 7 February and article in The Australian 8 February 2010.
The Australian Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced the 164 schools selected to take part in a national pilot project to address cyber safety. The schools cover all sectors, primary and secondary levels, and urban, rural and remote locations. The pilot, to run until 30 April 2010, will be independently evaluated and used to inform the Government's review of the National Safe Schools Framework (NSSF), due to finish in June 2010. A full list of schools involved in the pilot and information about the current NSSF and its review is available at www.safeschools.deewr.gov.au. See Minister's statement 10 February 2010.
The AEU is conducting a Public Education for Our Future campaign, designed to rally together teachers and parents 'to convince the politicians that their top priority should be investing more in our public schools and our children'.
A plan to be trialled in Victoria will offer graduate teachers financial incentives to take up positions in schools in rural or remote areas. The pilot is due to commence in 2011 with Statewide implementation to follow in 2012. Participating teachers would receive the incentives for up to four years. The scheme, funded through a national partnership between the Victorian and Australian Governments, has been supported by the Australian Education Union Victorian branch. See article in The Age 12 February 2010.
The Victorian Government has announced a Respect in Schools strategy to be incorporated across subjects, to promote tolerance, empathy, fairness and respect. At the same time, another six Victorian schools are to participate in the No Regrets pilot program announced last year, designed to encourage students to think of their classroom as a community. Over the coming months, the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development will second classroom teachers to work with a policy team in developing resource materials for the project. See statement by Victorian Minister for Education Bronwyn Pike, 2 February 2010.
South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has announced a program to improve primary students' achievement in maths, science and English. The program will include mandated minimum hours of instruction in each subject. Teachers will also receive targeted professional development in these teaching and learning areas. See Minister's statement 5 February 2010.
The Tasmanian Premier and Minister for Education and Skills, David Bartlett, has announced an initiative to help retain students in education and training beyond Year 10. Early school leavers will be contacted and efforts will be made to re-engage them in education and training. Post–Year 12 students will also be surveyed regarding their education, training and employment after school. See Premier's statement 9 February 2010.
Authors Amanda Keddie and Martin Mills are running a series of seminars and workshops for teachers, principals, policymakers and others concerned with violence against girls and women and marginalised boys and men. See also the authors' 2007 book Teaching Boys: Developing Classroom Practices that Work in Curriculum Leadership's New Publications section this week.
A national certification program for US principals is being explored, with plans to launch the initiative formally in 2011. The initiative has been supported by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and also by the USA's national associations of elementary and secondary school principals. See NBPTS statement 8 December and Education Week article 10 December 2009.