Europe gives £150m BBC digital curriculum the go ahead
The BBC's £150m online education resource, The Digital Curriculum, will be launched in 2006, following its approval by the European Commission. The BBC will now be able to produce digital learning resources in competition with the commercial sector, which vigorously opposed the plans. See report in Revolution.
UK parents warned on children taking holidays during term
British parents could face spot fines of £100 if their children are absent because of holidays taken in term time without school approval. See BBC report 30 December 2003.
£100m to improve school tests in UK
A new professional institute of examiners is to be set up in Britain, as part of a £100 million modernisation programme for the school assessment system. The new National Assessment Agency will assume responsibility for school tests from the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which will retain its regulatory role over standards. See reports from The Telegraph and the BBC.
Blueprint spells successful future for schools (Vic)
The Minister for Training and Education in Victoria, Lynne Kosky, has announced a new Blueprint for Education. Under the Blueprint, high performing government schools will receive increased support, while government will intervene in schools which are not meeting expectations. The Minister recognised three areas of reform: responding to diverse student needs; enhancing the skills of the education workforce; and improving schools. With these areas in mind, there will be an improved reporting process to parents, an accelerated leadership program for teachers and principals, and successful schools will be supported in their efforts to increase staff attention on classroom activities.
$2 million to improve student literacy and numeracy skills (SA)
According to the South Australian Literacy and Numeracy (LaN) Tests, 10 per cent of students in South Australia have numeracy and literacy skills below the acceptable level. With the help of a $2 million grant, those students will participate in special programs to improve their literacy and numeracy skills. The LaN Tests are conducted at years 3, 5 and 7, and assess students' reading, writing, spelling, number, measurement, data and spatial skills. For more information see the Minister's press release, 11 November 2003.
Indonesia's Education Ministry to apply competence-based curriculum in 2004
Indonesia's National Education Ministry is proceeding with a plan to apply a nationwide competence-based curriculum next year. Schools that are not ready for the new curriculum will continue to use the 1994 version, and the Ministry will accommodate
UK exam pass mark was lowered, says inquiry
In Britain, a significant improvement in primary school English results between 1998-1999 has been called into question. Unpublished research has found that the pass mark was lowered for two years, dropping from 51 out of 100 in l998, to 44 out of 100 in 1999, according to an article in the Telegraph newspaper.
NZ secondary teachers reject proposal for joint union
A proposal to create a joint union of primary and secondary teachers in New Zealand has been rejected by the secondary school teachers' union, the Post Primary Teachers Association (PPTA). The amalgamation was suggested at the annual meeting of the New Zealand Education Institute, the union for early childhood and primary school teachers. See article in the New Zealand Herald (Stuff.co.nz).
Indian PM calls for boost in sports curriculum
Indian Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee has called for sports to become an integral part of the educational curriculum in the country. He has announced a range of steps to promote sport, including sports-related sponsorships, and funding through grants and the involvement of business organisations. See reports in Times of India and Manorama.
Thousands oppose planned changes to ERIC clearinghouse in USA
The Federal Department of Education in the United States is revamping the ERIC information clearinghouse system, in line with the Education Science Reform Act 2002. Many educationalists and librarians declare that the changes will impede access to research records. See article in e-School News, July 16, 2003 (free registration required).
Queensland school leavers to access tertiary entrance score online
For the first time, this year's school leavers in Queensland will be able to log on to the Internet to find out their 'OP', two days before it arrives in the post. 'OP' is a rank order position based on a student's overall achievement in Authority subjects in Years 11 and 12. It is used by universities, TAFE institutes and other tertiary providers to select students for course places. See Government media release.
National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership to commence in 2004
The Commonwealth Government is to provide an initial $10 million to establish a National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership, work towards which will commence in 2004. The Institute will be based in Canberra, and the three ACT universities - the Australian National University, the Australian Catholic University and the University of Canberra - will have a key role to play in the Institute's operations. Functions could potentially cover: development of school leadership capabilities; development of professional teaching standards; provision and co-ordination of professional development; quality assurance, including of university teacher education courses; and research. See press release from the Department of Education, Science & Training.
School safety in Queensland set for an overhaul
School safety is set for an overhaul, with the Queensland Government considering stricter controls and harsher penalties to deal with disruptive or violent intruders on school grounds. This will include: reviewing the trespass provisions of the Education (General Provisions) Act 1989 to ensure that people who are an unacceptable risk to school communities are excluded from schools; creating a provision for an authorised person - such as a principal or senior officer of Education Queensland - to prohibit persons from schools; and authorising the courts to prohibit persons from all schools. For more information, see Press Release
Mentors begin work in SA schools
Eighty Teacher Mentors have begun work with 800 students in South Australia. The Teacher Mentor initiative is aimed at helping 'at risk' students overcome learning, organisation and personal problems. Participating teachers will be released from regular duties for the equivalent of one day per week in this $5.6 million program. For more information, see Press Release
Education ministers to consider uniform approach to employee screening
A meeting of education ministers in Queensland considered a proposal to develop a uniform approach to sharing information about the criminal histories of school employees. The proposal was designed to remedy the situation in which people, whose criminal history would prevent them from working in schools in one state, could be employed in another, where their criminal past was unknown. For more information, see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statement.
UNICEF launches drive to get more girls to go to school
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) has launched a campaign to increase the number of girls attending primary school in West and Central Africa. See report in Mail&Guardian online. The countries targeted are Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic, Chad, Burkina Faso, Mali, Benin and Guinea.
Nationally consistent curriculum outcomes
Commonwealth, State and Territory Ministers for Education and Training have issued a Joint Communique that includes a statement on nationally consistent curriculum outcomes. See this week's
Hong Kong language teachers face dismissal over failure to pass English test
The departure of British rule in Hong Kong has produced an unexpectedly sharp drop in English language proficiency. For the third year in a row, more than half of the candidates who took benchmark tests for the teaching of English failed to pass. The candidates included serving and trainee teachers. The Education and Manpower Bureau revealed that only 40 per cent of Hong Kong's 2,704 candidates passed the tests, which were introduced in 2001. Worried authorities have recruited more than 500 native English-speaking teachers from countries such as Britain and Australia to teach in primary and secondary schools. See articles in the Straits Times and the Times Educational Supplement.
New Zealand budget boosts education
New Zealand Education Minister Trevor Mallard has announced an additional $393 million to go to education in the latest budget. See the Ministry's Budget 2003 Initiatives Summary and reports from the New Zealand Press Association
Stage Challenge 2003 hits New Zealand
Throughout May and June almost 14,000 New Zealand students are taking part in a major dance, design and drama event sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Te Mana. Stage Challenge 2003 is incorporated into many schools' curriculums providing students with the opportunity to extend their dance, drama, music, physical education, textile, design and technology, art and business skills. For more information, visit the New Zealand Ministry of Education
Support for schools during international conflict
The New South Wales Department of Education and Training has developed a resource for helping students and school communities deal with the effects of the current conflict in Iraq.
OH&S Kit for Teachers
The NSW Teachers Federation is distributing additional copies of its Occupational Health and Safety Kits. The kits deal with occupational health and safety issues and contain information on workers' compensation. They are also available from the NSW Teachers Federation website.
28 schools get top marks in Premier's Reading Challenge (SA)
The 2004 Premier's Reading Challenge in South Australia was won by 28 schools and their 2430 students. According to South Australian Premeir Mike Rann, 49,310 students, 47 per cent of whom were boys, participated in the challenge and attained the minimum requirement of reading 12 books. This achievement coincides with record results in South Australia's State literacy tests. For more information see News Release, 26 November 2004.
'Over and out' for radio lessons as distance education begins new era (Qld)
Distance education will be conducted by telephone technology, for Queensland's 1100 distance education students, from 2005. Students in remote areas and those unable to attend school due to medical reasons will no longer rely on radio technology for their lessons. Radio transmissions from Mt Isa and Longreach, the last two 'radio' distance schools in Queensland, fell silent for the last time on 29 November, as those schools will join Queensland's other schools of distance in using telephone technology in 2005. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 24 November 2004.
Research suggests too much homework can hinder not help students (Qld)
A review of research on homework practices, conducted by the Department of Education and the Arts (Qld), has found that students who successfully complete homework are likely to have better educational outcomes than those who do not, and that parental involvement in homework can contribute to educational success. It also found, however, that too much homework can have negative consequences on learning and educational achievement. The Queensland Government is considering issuing homework guidelines, so that parents and students have a clearer understanding of expectations and responsibilities involved in the practice. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 21 November 2004, and Education Laws for the Future.
Data shows State schools are maintaining high standards of discipline (Qld)
The Department of Education and the Arts annual report has been tabled in the Queensland Parliament. Among the report's contents is the student disciplinary data for the 2003-2004 financial year. The statistics show that out of the 485,000 students in Queensland State Schools, there were 38,245 suspensions and exclusions, and 803 enrolment cancellations, in 2003-2004. For more information see the Department of Education and the Arts annual report and the Ministerial Media Statement, 11 November 2004.
Training in anti-bullying measures for teachers (SA)
More than 1000 school counsellors and school wellbeing officers will be trained in anti-bullying measures over the next month in South Australia. The training workshops are part of the Government's National Safe Schools Framework, and will allow every school to meet the requirement of developing an anti-bullying policy before the end of 2005. For more information, see News Release, 11 November 2004.
Moves to tighten before and after school care (SA)
The South Australian government has released a discussion paper, and will host public forums, on its intention to license all childcare services who provide before and after school care for students. Over 10,000 South Australian students use these services, and the Government intends to regulate the industry by setting minimum staffing levels and health and safety standards, and obliging staff to submit to criminal history checks. For more information see News Release, 10 November 2004.
Wellington and Victoria teachers' colleges to merge in New Zealand
Wellington College of Education will merge with Victoria University from January 2005. There are to be no job losses and few extra costs, apart from 'rebranding', associated with the merger. This move will create a university of more than 20,000 students and about 3000 staff. The merger also includes $NZD 6 million to improve the new education faculty's research. See article in the New Zealand Herald, 16 November 2004.
Mixed feedback on literacy and numeracy test in South Australia
South Australian Years 3, 5 and 7 students have recorded outstanding achievements in the State Literacy and Numeracy (LAN) tests for 2004. The mean in all three Year levels was higher than past tests. The South Australian Government sees this success as evidence of the effects of its initiatives in reducing primary class sizes. However, the LAN test has been criticised as out of date and irrelevant to today's curriculum, in a report prepared for the Australian Education Union by a group of leading academics. The LAN test replaced South Australia's Basic Skills Test last year. For more information see News Release, 27 October 2004.
$40.6 million 'triple A' boost for State's schools (SA)
South Australian schools will receive an additional $15.6 million over 4 years as part of the State's new education funding model. This funding is in addition to the $25 million already allocated to school maintenance work in the School Pride Program. For more information see News Release, 27 October 2004.
Cabinet backs reforms to raise teachers' professional standing (Qld)
The Queensland government has accepted all 84 recommendations of the review of the Board of Teacher Registration conducted by Professior Marilyn McMeniman. Among the reviews' recommendations are the requirements that teachers undergo professional skills checks and criminal history checks every 5 years. The recommendations will receive legislative effect in 2005, and the Board of Teacher Registration will be renamed the Queensland College of Teachers. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 8 November 2004, and the Review of the Powers and Functions of the Board of Teacher Registration.
Education Support Plans for Queensland children in care
A report produced in 2003 found that children in care perform below the average for their peers in schools. A partnership between the Queensland Department of Child Safety and the Department of Education and the Arts has instituted individualised plans for 91 per cent of students who are in care. The object of the strategy is to involve carers, child care workers and parents in the students' education, provide educational goals and strategies to meet those goals, and to create an element of stability in lives that are often disrupted. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 4 November 2004.
SA First: Children to be taught the consequences of crime
Learning for Safer Communities is a new South Australian curriculum initiative which will attempt to cultivate a predisposition against criminal behaviour in 11 and 12 year-old students. Values such as self-respect, and respect for other members of the community and their property, will be reinforced in the program, along with socially acceptable behaviours and crime prevention strategies. For more information see News Release, 19 October 2004.
Minister welcomes improvement in school retention (SA)
A higher proportion of South Australian students, 70 per cent, are staying at school to complete Year 12. This year, 2004, was the first time since 1996 that the proportion has reached 70 per cent. The Education Minister, Jane Lomax-Smith, sees this as a result of her government's response to the Social Inclusion Initiative, and has reasserted the objective of the State Strategic Plan, which aims to have 90 per cent of South Australian students completing Year 12 in ten years. For more information see News Release, 25 October 2004.
Smart State strategy to give parents more information (Qld)
Under Queensland's Smart State strategy, schools will be obliged to keep parents more informed about their children's progress, as well as the school's overall results. Schools will need to furnish parents with two reports a year, and conduct at least one parent-teacher interview per semester. Year 12 results, and schools' annual performance data will also be publicly released. For more information, see Ministerial Media Statement, 21 October 2004.
High achieving principals share expertise to help Indigenous students (Qld)
The High Achiever Principals Network was established in 2003, and it recognises principals for outstanding work in attaining better educational outcomes for Indigenous students. Four more Queensland principals have been inducted into the group for their work with Indigenous students, and they will receive a monetary award which will allow them to share their experiences and practices with other schools and principals. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 20 October 2004.
Freeze on Victoria's gifted child program
A three-year effectiveness review is to be conducted on a program for bright students attending government secondary schools, before any further schools are permitted to join the program. The ban will affect the Select Entry Accelerated Learning programs being run in 27 secondary schools in Victoria. Victoria's Education Minister Lynne Kosky said the review was needed to collect data on whether selective entry programs were good for children and schools. There was concern over whether these programs value-add or whether they are self-fulfilling in their selection of high-achieving students. See The Age, 4 October 2004.
Merit pay system for teachers in Japan
The Osaka prefectural education board has decided to introduce a merit system for teachers' salaries from 2006. The teachers' union, however, is likely to oppose this measure, believing that an evaluation system is inappropriate for teachers. According to the education board, teacher salaries will be decided at the launch of the new pay system based on their evaluation for 2005. Japan Today, 4 October 2004.
Government connects more classrooms to the Internet (Qld)
Fifty-two schools are the most recent recipients of Internet cabling under the Queensland Government's Priority Schools Cabling Sub-program. These schools will be connected to the Internet by the end of 2004, bringing the total number of schools connected to the Internet under the program to 193. For a list of the fifty-two schools see Ministerial Media Statement, 21 September 2004.
50 Schools earmarked for security upgrade (SA)
Security will be improved at a further 50 South Australian schools in 2004. In 2003, the South Australian Government spent in excess of $8 million dollars on repairing damage done to schools as a result of criminal acts. School alarms, fencing, lighting and sirens will be improved during the security upgrade. For more information see News Release, 20 September 2004.
New plan to support schools with their finances (SA)
The South Australian Government has initiated a plan to support schools' financial management. Under the plan, school principals and other officers will receive training in financial management, teams of financial experts will be established to provide assistance by telephone, mentoring programs will be initiated, and nine district officers will be appointed to work with schools across the State on financial management accountability. For more information see News Release, 14 September 2004.
Minister announces new intiatives for rural and remote students (Qld)
Three new initiatives, to improve educational outcomes for rural and remote students in Queensland, will be undertaken by the Queensland Government under its Rural and Remote Education Framework for Action 2003-2005. 'Bypassing', a program which helps students in isolated areas study at schools which use distance learning and are involved with TAFE and Industry, will be extended and continued for eligible students. A second initiative will see Year 11 and 12 students in remote areas having access to the Cairns School of Distance Education, while a third will involve two trials, in which teachers of students with disabilities in remote schools will receive support via video and data conferencing technology. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 14 September 2004.
New report finds Queensland's education reforms working for students
Music set to unite outback school communities (Qld)
Muso Magic is a program in which students in Queensland work alongside a recognised musician and produce songs for an album. Students learn about the techniques and skills of music production on a firsthand basis, while also enhancing their confidence and self-esteem. Adam Thompson, the former lead singer of Chocolate Starfish, is working with fifty students from outback Queensland in the current phase of the program. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 3 September 2004.
Forum to give community a say on children's services (SA)
The Early Childhood Services Inquiry, announced in June this year, will conduct a series of public forums, in order to receive submissions from parents and community members on improvements to children's services and programs. For more information on the inquiry and a list of venues see News Release, 3 September 2004.
More than 80 'Learning or Earning' Initiatives in Queensland
More than 80 localised education and training initiatives will receive new or renewed funding from the Queensland Government over the next two years. Minister for Education Anna Bligh and Minister for Training Tom Barton have announced 26 new and 55 continuing projects to receive more than $4 million under the Access to Pathways grants, as part of the State Government's 'learning or earning' reforms. Local planning committees comprising local schools, TAFEs, training providers, employers, parents and community groups are involved in the programs. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement 3 September 2004.
Community views sought on new laws to protect students (SA)
Rigorous new measures to protect children and students across preschool and schooling sectors and measures to recognise the professionalism of South Australian teachers are the cornerstones of new draft legislation, now out for comment. Teachers, pre-school and school leaders, professional associations, education institutions, unions and other community organisations are particularly encouraged to put forward their views about the Teacher Registration and Standards Bill 2004. The proposed legislation will allow criminal checks to be conducted on all current and future teachers in South Australia, require mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse, and authorise the sharing of information with relevant agencies in other States and Territories. The consultation period ends on 24 September 2004. For more information see News Release, 27 August 2004.
Move to fast track maths-science teachers into classrooms (Qld)
Twenty-five Maths-Science teacher Scholarships, each worth $6000, are available to mathematics and science graduates who intend to enroll in the accelerated Graduate-entry Bachelor of Education (Secondary) course at Queensland University of Technology. The course will begin in November 2004 and end in January 2006, with successful graduates guaranteed permanent teaching positions. Applications close 30 September 2004. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 27 August 2004, and the scholarship application form.
Review of curriculum and assessment approach in South Australia
South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith and Education Department Chief Executive Steve Marshall are holding public meetings around the State between August and December to obtain responses to a discussion paper about the future of the SA Certificate of Education. Issues include subject patterns, adapting the curriculum for life beyond school, assessment, students' response to exam pressure, and what should be recorded on the Certificate. The Government is seeking to establish priorities for public education and children's services over the next decade. In response to this call, prominent academics in South Australia have urged reforms to the State's senior school curriculum and assessment, in line with students' aspirations for university entrance and their academic and vocational needs. See Ministerial media release 13 August 2004. See also 'Call for changes to SA curriculum', Campus Review 18 August 2004.
Changes to skills training in schools responds to industry needs (Qld)
VET students in Queensland schools will soon receive training in nationally accredited training packages. This initiative will mean that VET students will qualify to industry standards, so that they no longer have to bridge the gap between school qualifications and industry requirements. It's anticipated that VET in schools qualifications will be alligned with industry standards by 2006. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 23 August 2004.
100 teaching graduates employed for SA schools
In a bid to preempt competition from interstate and overseas for South Australian teaching graduates, the South Australian Government has offered permanent employment to 100 teaching graduates in 2005. Sixty of the positions have been awarded to holders of Country Teaching Scholarships, with the remaining forty beneficiaries recruited under the Early Graduate Recruitment Scheme. For more information see News Release, 16 August 2004.
Country teaching: lifestyle, lifestyle, lifestyle (SA)
The South Australian Government has launched orientation kits to encourage teachers to take up appointments in difficult to staff areas of the State. The kits will be used for promotional purposes, as well as being distributed to teachers who accept country postings. The kits include a 15 minute DVD explaining the lifestyle advantages of 'country living', a guide on work requirements and conditions, a list of local contacts in the education sector, and tourism brochures specific to the local area. For more information see News Release, 15 August 2004.
Education Minister launches Christmas card competition for students (SA)
South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has invited students from Preparatory Year to Year 12 to submit designs for her official 2005 Christmas Cards. There are 5 categories, based on Year level, for entries, and, in addition to having their design diplayed on the Minister's Christmas cards, the winners will also receive an award displaying their design. For more information see News Release, 6 August 2004.
Grants available for school parent groups (SA)
Parent Initiatives in Education Grants encourage parent groups to participate in school communities, by supporting the work of parents who volunteer their time to schools. The South Australian government has once again funded this initiative for the 2005 school year, and has called for applications from parent groups. Applications close on Friday, 24 September. For more information and access to an application form see News Release, 4 August 2004.
Competition unearths Queensland's budding young poets
Queensland buses and taxis will be adourned with the poems of the 5 winners of the Poetry on the Move competition. The winning works were selected from about 1000 entries, with the winning poets ranging from Years 1 to 10. This is the second year of the competition, and there were 150 more submissions than last year. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 30 July 2004.
Recognising and celebrating excellence in Indigenous education (Qld)
The Queensland Government is calling for nominations for awards which will recognise schools and principals who have made significant gains in Indigenous education. The awards will recognise those schools which have become Centres of Excellence in Indigenous Education, by improving the performance of Indigenous students in the areas of numeracy, literacy and retention rates. The practices of those schools will be used to help other schools improve educational outcomes for Indigenous students, and the successful schools will recieve $20,000 for that purpose. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 27 July 2004.
State Government ups the ante on school bullies (SA)
A new information and training package aimed at reducing the incidence of school bullying will be distributed to South Australian schools this week. The package is part of a multifaceted approach, which includes training more than 100 counsellors and a requirement that all schools institute an anti-bullying policy. One in six students report bullying behaviour weekly, and victims of bullying can suffer a severe lose of confidence and self-esteem, leading to long term effects on their lives and education. For more information on the contents of the package see News Release, 26 July 2004.
New measures to strengthen child protection in schools (SA)
The Teachers' Registration Board will have its powers strengthened by the passage of the Teacher Registration and Standards Act next year. The Board will have the power to conduct initial criminal record checks on all teachers, and again when teachers renew their registration after a three year period. It will also have the authority to share information with teacher registration authorities in other States and Territorities. Under the legislation, teachers will be obliged to undergo training in mandatory reporting procedures. For more information, see News Release, 18 July 2004.
People invited to have a say on the next decade of public education in SA
The South Australian Education Minister, Jane Lomax Smith, and the Education Department's Chief Executive, Steve Marshall, will conduct forums across the State, seeking the views of the community on the direction of public education in South Australia over the next decade. The seventeen forums will be held between August and December 2004. For more information see News Release, 11 July 2004.
Smart and healthy grants to get Qld school children moving
Queensland schools intending to construct playground or sports facilities have been able to apply for grants from a $500,000 fund set aside for such work by the State Government. The fund is part of a $6.9 million initiative to improve nutrition and fitness among Queensland's young people. For more information, see Ministerial Media Statement, 15 July 2004.
Expert report confirms Preparatory Year trial success (Qld)
A report commissioned by the Queensland Government and conducted by the Queensland Early Childhood Consortium has found that a Preparatory Year, when introduced in Queensland schools in 2007, will have distinct advantages for the social and emotional development the children in that Year, as well as positve effects on their communication, numeracy and literacy skills. The report evaluated the Preparing for School Trial, and involved the experiences of 1831 students and 1665 parents. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 15 July 2004.
Four child care centres to reopen (SA)
The South Australian Government plans to reopen four child care centres which closed in the 1990s due to a lack of funding. Reopening the centres will see an increase of 180 child care places in South Australia. The South Australian Minister for Education, Hon. Jane Lomax-Smith, has noted that childcare is vital in supporting working parents, as well as parents who are undertaking education and training to re-enter the workforce. For more information see News Release, 22 June 2004.
Queenslanders to have their say on teacher registration
The Queensland government is encouraging members of the community to respond to the Terms of Reference of the independent review of the Board of Teacher Registration. The Review of the Board's powers and functions is being led by Professor Marilyn McMeniman of Griffith University. One of the issues the review will consider are the barriers to entry to the profession facing people from other professions, such as engineers and scientists. The deadline for responses is 7 August 2004. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 17 June 2004, and the Review of the Board of Teacher Registration discussion paper.
Students with disabilities set for a better deal on inclusive education (Qld)
The Queensland Government has annouced it response, in the form of a 10-point plan, to the Ministerial Taskforce on Inclusive Education. Under the plan a Minsterial Advisory Committee on students with disabilities will be established; goals for participation and achievement for students with disabilities will be revised; current syllabuses will be reviewed to ensure that they are inclusive of students with diabilities; research into schools' capacities to support diverse learners will commence; and Education Queensland staff will participate in a professional development programme which will support their work with students with disabilities. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 18 June 2004.
State government's $12.9m plan to target 'hidden kids' (SA)
Students considered to be at risk of dropping out of school will be assisted by a new $12.9 million 'engage with education' plan initiated by the South Australian Government. The plan is aimed at young people with behavioural problems and those in the juvenile justice system, teenage mothers, Indigenous youth who may by at risk of not completing school, and children experiencing severe family and social problems. It is anticipated that 1125 young people will come within the parameters of the programme annually. For more information see News release, 20 June 2004.
Australian Government agenda for schools
The Australian Government has legislated for $31.3 billion for schools and $2.1 billion for Indigenous education over the next four years, including $9.8 billion for State schools. Catholic Schools will join the Independent sector in becoming fully integrated into the socio-economic status (SES) funding system. Special purpose grants for students and schools in need of extra help will total almost $4 billion over four years, funding assistance for the most disadvantaged students in literacy and numeracy, and students with disabilities. To receive funding for the next four years, States and Territories, and school authorities, will have to agree to implement a set of conditions, which include a common school starting age; Years 3, 5 and 7 literacy and numeracy testing; national tests in Year 6 and Year 10 in English, Mathematics, Science, and Civics and Citizenship; a range of reporting to parents, with the child's achievement reported against national benchmarks and relative to peers at the school; and processes for recording average Year 12 results and the percentage of Year 12 completions, school leaver destinations, teacher qualifications and professional development, and staff and student retention and absentee rates. Other measures include a greater autonomy for school principals in hiring teachers; a minimum of two hours per week student involvement in physical activity; moves to accelerate Indigenous education outcomes; and a demand that every school fly the Australian flag as part of values education. See Ministerial media release, 22 June 2004, the response from the Education Minister in Queensland, and reports in The Age 22 June 2004 and The Australian 23 June 2004.
Students urged to speak up on future of the SACE (SA)
Secondary students in South Australia are being invited to comment on a discussion paper on the future of the South Australian Certificate of Education. The purpose of the consultation is to better integrate the SACE and high school curriculum with students' present and future needs. Students will be able to SMS their views, and reply to an online survey. For more information see News Release, 9 June 2004.
State government scheme gets teachers to taste life outside the classroom (SA)
The Premier's Industry Awards for Teachers of Science and Mathematics has allowed thirty-six teachers to spend ten days working in industry, so that they can better prepare their students for the skill demands of the workplace. For more information see News Release, 8 June 2004.
Training, upgrades critical to school computers: Statistics Canada
Virtually all elementary and secondary schools in Canada have computers, but inadequately trained teachers, costs and aging computers are a concern, according to results of a survey released by Statistics Canada. For further information see report in the Toronto Star, 10 June 2004.
Qld government committed to protecting children
Mature-age students entering State schools in Queensland may have to submit to a criminal history check, after the current review of the Education General Provisions ACT. Anna Bligh, the Education Minister, stated that there was a requirement to balance the safety of school students with the educational needs of mature-age students entering the system. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 1 June 2004.
New aerospace partnership makes sky the limit for Qld students
Boeing Australia and the Queensland Government have entered into a partnership, to provide students from six Queensland secondary schools with work experience and workplace training. The Aerospace Project will provide 12 traineeships and 30 work experience placements over a period of two years. It's expected that students will gain employment pathways into the aviation industry, through jobs in aircraft maintenance, engineering, information technology and administration, which will also assist Boeing in its recruitment of suitably qualified staff. Schools participating in the project will begin to integrate an aerospace focus into mathematics and science key learning areas. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 25 May 2003.
Inquiry to look at directions for children's services (SA)
South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith will chair a steering group overseeing an inquiry into the directions of childcare and preschool education in that State. The inquiry will attempt to gauge whether current childcare services are meeting the current needs of parents and children, and make recommendations as to what may be done to meet their needs in the future. For more information see News Release, 2 June 2004.
$35m 'Early Years' plan to boost literacy (SA)
The South Australian Government has announced a plan to boost literacy levels and achievement with a $35 million dollar, four year plan. Under the scheme, 125 teachers will be employed to help South Australian students in the Early Years learn writing, reading and communication skills. An additional 60 teachers will be employed to work with individual students who need intensive assistance, and all Year 3 teachers will receive special literacy training. For more information and an outline of the 'eight-part plan' see News Release, 24 May 2004.
Data shows dramatic drop in theft of school computers (Qld)
Improved security and theft prevention practices in Queensland schools have contributed to a decline in the theft of school computers and other technology equipment. In the period 1998-1999, 533 technology items were stolen from schools, as opposed to 265 in the period to March this financial year. The cost of replacing computers has dropped from $811,000 in 1998-1999 to $221, 000 for the period 2003-2004. Tagging equipment, locking items away, installing cable ties and disposing of empty containers immediately are just some of the measures employed by schools to secure their equipment. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 20 May 2004.
Back to school for principals for a day (Qld)
Forty-three business and community leaders shadowed principals at State schools in Queensland during State Education Week last week. The Principal for a Day initiative helped community leaders better understand the issues facing schools and education, and allowed students and teachers to benefit from their 'principal's' area of expertise. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 19 May 2004.
Scheme to save water in South Australian schools
South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has announced a new $1 million scheme to help South Australian schools introduce initiatives that conserve water. See Ministerial media statement, 14 May 2004.
Government canvasses Senior Certificate overhaul (QLD)
The Queensland government has released a discussion paper inviting community feedback on changes to the Senior Certificate. The discussion paper canvasses the possibilities of setting minimum literacy and numeracy standards, and rewarding students for undertaking university subjects and work experience. The reforms will seek to prepare students for the different pathways they may pursue after secondary study. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 10 May 2004.
SACE Review discussion paper released (SA)
The South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) Review discussion paper has been released for consultation. It is anticipated that members of the community, schools and other interested gropus will respond to the paper before 2 August 2004. This is the first review of the SACE since the 1980s, and it will address the effects of globalisation and new techologies on education. For more information see Media Release, 2 May 2004.
First ever workshop to support new school teachers (SA)
The South Australian Government will host two full-day workshops for beginning teachers in 2004. The workshops are designed to introduce new teachers to the profession, and will deal with behaviour management, literacy, numeracy and information communication technology. It is hope that the workshops will go some way to properly induct teachers into the profession, and, in so doing, stem the flow of new teachers to other professions. For more information see Media Release, 22 April 2004.
Meeting of education ministers discusses funding and national consistency issues
A meeting of Australian education ministers on 23 April 2004 discussed the allocation of $31 billion Commonwealth funding to assist schools to meet national literacy and numeracy benchmarks. The meeting agreed that schools failing to meet the benchmarks would not be financially penalised. Schools will report to parents with children in Years 3, 5 and 7 on their performance against the national literacy and numeracy standards. The meeting also endorsed a national uniform starting age by 2010 and plain-language school reports. The Australian newspaper has reported that the Governments of News South Wales and Queensland have moved to restrict the publication of schools' performance that could be used by the media to create 'league tables' ranking schools. See also media releases 23 April 2004 from Education Ministers of Queensland, South Australia, and Tasmania.
UNESCO Education for All Week 19-25 April 2004
Although education is a basic human right, more than 100 million children around the world still don't go to school. EFA Week 2004, also known as Action Week, is drawing attention to these out-of-school children. UNESCO and the Global Campaign for Education are organizing the Big Lobby to give children a chance to make their voices heard. They will be asking their governments to do more to provide education for all.
ACU supports Indigenous nursing recruitment program
Australian Catholic University (ACU National) is supporting a new initiative to encourage Indigenous Australians to choose nursing as a career. The recruitment program includes an art competition for Indigenous school children to design a poster promoting nursing. See ACU media release 8 April 2004.
Clear majority of British parents oppose hijab ban
A Times Educational Supplement poll of 736 parents in England and Wales found that 70% favoured letting pupils continue to wear head coverings such as the hijab. See report in TES: Times Educational Supplement, 16 April 2004.
Canada: new system 'leaves students in limbo'
In Ontario, Canada, a record number of students have failed to graduate after the introduction of major changes to the system of secondary school qualifications. See article in the Toronto Star, 1 April 2004.
NSW secondary colleges arrest student drift to private sector
The collegiate school model for secondary education in the public sector is producing strong enrolment results, according to New South Wales Education Minister Andrew Refshauge. The Minister suggests that the model's advantages are in its ability to offer a wider range of subjects for students, while maintaining a strong sense of community amongst them. In some areas, the secondary colleges have drawn significant numbers of students from private schools. Between 2003 and 2004, a host of other public schools around New South Wales increased their enrolments. See article in the Daily Telegraph March 25, 2004.
The Age VCE & Careers Expo 2004
This event will provide information on VCE subjects and possible career paths for VCE students. It will be held at Caulfield Racecourse on Friday, 19 March, 2-7pm; Saturday, 20 March, 10am-5pm; and Sunday, 21 March, 10am-5pm.
UK Ministers told to scrap tests for 11-year-olds
National tests for 11-year-olds should be downgraded and more weight given to teacher assessments of pupils' abilities, according to Jackie Bawden, the head of testing at Britain's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority. See article in The Telegraph, 14 March 2004.
Australian Government announces $31 billion schools package
The Australian Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, has announced a multi-billion dollar funding package for schools, linked to common national standards and testing in English, maths, science, and civics and citizenship education. See
$2 million for more school computers (SA)
Schools in South Australia will receive a further $2 million in subsidies to improve and update their computer hardware, under the Computers in Education program. The Computers in Education program will disburse a total of $5.4 million to schools over two years. It is estimated that 40 per cent of computers in South Australian schools are more than five years old. For more information see News Release, 2 March 2004.
State government grants for 92 school and preschools (SA)
The South Australian Government has approved 98 project grants to increase parental participation in 92 Government schools and preschools. The grants fund projects such as those which seek to increase fathers' participation in their children's education, equip parents with skills to support their children's learning at home, and help parents cope with their child's personality and behaviour. For more information, see News Release 2 March 2004.
Scholarships awarded to aspiring country teachers (SA)
Seventy-eight education students from rural areas in South Australia have received Country Teaching Scholarships, in the first round of scholarship offers for 2004. The scholarships entitle the recipients to financial assistance of up to $10,000 over four years, and the guarantee of employment in a country school after the completion of their studies. For more information see News Release, 26 February 2004.
Review of South Australian Certificate of Education launched
South Australian Premier Mike Rann and Education Minister Trish White have announced a review of the State's Certificate of Education (SACE) for students in years 11 and 12. According to the Premier, research into school retention found that many young people believe that school, and what they learn in the SACE, have little relevance to their futures. See Ministerial Media Statement 18 February 2004.
New videoconferencing facilities for New Zealand schools
A new video conferencing service is being provided to 72 schools throughout New Zealand, with a further 17 schools linking in later in the year, Education Minister Trevor Mallard has announced. The free service is expected to provide cost-effective opportunities for professional development. See Ministerial Media Statement.
Student retention initiative in SA
South Australian Premier Mike Rann has launched a $7.5 million initiative to retain South Australian teenagers in school. The Innovative Community Action Networks (I-CAN!) will offer flexible forms of help, such as transport assistance and learning programs for young people with night-time jobs. See Ministerial media release.
Record number of international school students in SA
A record number of international students will study at South Australian government schools in 2004. An extra 200 international students have enrolled in government primary and secondary schools - a 28.3% per cent increase from last year. See Ministerial media statement, 22 January 2004.
Queensland introduces Technology into syllabus
Technology is to be incorporated into the school syllabus in Queensland by 2007. A number of 'Innovator schools' have already been identified and funded to help lead the implementation of the new subject. Bundaberg State High School has developed a partnership, with the Re-engineering Australia Forum and Education Queensland, to fund the establishment of a Design and Technology 'Hub'. Other schools include Goomeri State High and Chinchilla State High. See Ministerial media release, 23 December 2003.
Queensland's Middle Phase of Learning State School Action Plan released
The Middle Phase of Learning State School Action Plan aims to give Queensland primary students a smoother transition to the senior years of schooling. More than 300 extra teachers are to be employed, with state school class sizes to be cut from 30 to 28 in Years 4 to 10 by 2007. See MInisterial media statement, 23 December 2003.
Eight-hour school day for some NZ 10-year-olds
King's School in Remuera (a private school in Auckland) is extending the school day, so that boys as young as 10 will be studying longer than the average eight-hour working day. See article in the New Zealand Herald.
Independent schools in ACT rebuff report
The Association of Independent Schools in the Australian Capital Territory has rebuffed a recent report by the Australian Education Union and ACT Council of Parents and Citizens Associations, which claimed overall funding levels for non-government schools had risen to unprecented levels. See article in The Canberra Times.
Secondary Futures project underway in NZ
Consultation with the New Zealand education sector on the future of secondary schooling will get under way shortly, following the appointment of four 'guardians' to oversee the project. Secondary Futures - Hoenga Auaha Taiohi aims to stimulate and share thinking on what secondary schooling should be like in 20 years time, and the best ways to improve student achievement. See
Queensland Education Minister launches teaching resource on epilepsy
Queensland Education Minister Anna Bligh has launched a new resource which will assist teachers in understanding the effects of epilepsy. The book, Epilepsy - A Resource for Teachers, was published by Epilepsy Queensland and is designed to help teachers understand epilepsy's effects on learning, identify different kinds of seizures and dispel falsehoods about the condition.
Victorian Premier's Awards 2003
The Premier's Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) Awards ceremony will be held on 2 April 2003. The awards will recognise those young Victorian students who performed with distinction during the 2001-2002 VCE.
Aged-based school years `ignore learning gap' - ACER chief
Students are being left behind because of the system of teaching students by Year level, according to Australian Council for Educational Research chief executive Geoff Masters. He said that high achieving students could be 'six or seven years above the others' by the end of primary school. See report by News.com.au, 17 November 2004.
Federal budget and school education
The Australian Government's ninth Budget has allocated record funding of an estimated $7.6 billion to Australian schools and students for 2004-05, an increase of $555 million or 7.9% over last year. In 2004-05, over $2.6 billion is being provided for State schools and students - an increase of $136 million or 5.4% over the past year and a 68.7% increase since 1996. On 11 March this year, the Australian Government also announced its school funding and priorities for the 2005-08 quadrennium. A record $31.3 billion will be provided to schools over this period - an increase of $8 billion over the current quadrennium. More than $9.8 billion will be provided to State schools over four years, a $1.9 billion increase over the current four year period. See Ministerial Media Releases. A budget commentary titled 'An opportunity lost' from the Australian Council of Deans of Education is available by contacting the ACDE. See also statements from the Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO).
Splash out - take a look at water safety (Vic)
The Victorian Aquatic Industry Council has distributed two kits dealing with water safety to Victorian primary and secondary schools. The kits are designed to help teachers introduce the issue to classes, and can be integrated with the curriculum. The primary school kit, entitled Water Safety Primary Schools Education Kit, deals with water safety in general, while the Open Water Education Kit introduces secondary school students to safety measures and procedures for use in open water environments such as lakes, rivers and beaches. For more information see Education Times, 11 March 2004.
Global Pathways: International Education for Victoria
Victorian Education Minister Lynne Kosky has launched the statement, Global Pathways: International Education for Victoria, which sets out three global pathways - Global Learning, Positioning Victoria and Quality. Under this initiative the Government will commission a range of measures to enhance international education, including a feasibility study on an international version of the VCE, for offshore providers and Victorian students living abroad. See media release, 16 March 2004 and article in The Age, 17 March 2004.
Quality of Teaching is Important - Not the Gender: Paula Wreidt
Tasmania's Education Minister Paula Wriedt has outlined a range of State-based strategies to attract high quality applicants into the profession, while also attracting more male teachers. Measures include the graduate scholarship program; strengthening links with the University of Tasmania; public advertising; job fairs; links with national campaigns and strategies; moves toward improving teachers' conditions; and pegging Tasmanian teachers' pay levels to national averages. She opposes the current move by the Australian Government to amend the Sexual Discrimination Act. See Ministerial media release, 10 March 2004.
UK union to ballot teachers on primary school tests boycott
Britain's National Union of Teachers has announced it will ballot members over a boycott of national primary school tests in English, maths and science. Members are expected to vote overwhelmingly for bans to the tests, due to be taken by millions of pupils next May. The boycott is also likely to extend to secondary school tests taken by 14-year-olds. The decision to ballot follows a poll of more than 30,500 union members. See TES report, 7 November 2003.
Software challenge in SA
In South Australia, the inaugural Premier's Children's and Youth Educational Software Award will be given for software that is challenging, interesting, educational and that will help improve the literacy and numeracy skills of students. An independent panel will judge the entries, with cash prizes of up to
LearningLinks is a professional development initiative offered by Curriculum Corporation. It provides a practical range of presentations and workshops addressing the interests of classroom teachers from all key learning areas. LearningLinks themes in 2003 will be classroom management and student thinking and learning, and the integration of ICTs (Information Communications Technologies) into teachers' curriculum programs.
Victor's new bullying guide
The staff at Victor Harbour High School have released their booklet, 'All you need to know about Bullying and Harassment'. The school had been using a Tasmanian guide before deciding to produce one specifically for students in South Australia. As the name suggests, the booklet is a concise guide to assist students to overcome all forms of harassment including sexual, racial and emotional.
$5.6m start to new year
South Australian Premier Mike Rann and Education Minister Trish White announced a four-year program to assist schools and teachers to keep students engaged at school. It is estimated that up to 800 students who are 'losing their way' at school will receive some assistance from the program. The assistance will include additional teaching time and professional development for teachers to identify those in need.
New Department of Education and Training (WA)
On 3 January 2003, the Western Australian Premier announced the Government's decision to consolidate the delivery of education and training through the amalgamation of the Departments of Education and Training, to be effective from 3 February 2003. The newly formed Department of Education and Training covers the Office of Government Schools, Office of Training, the Curriculum Council of Western Australia and the Department of Education Services.
South Australian strategy for young people leaving school
The South Australian Government's Futures Connect strategy will help South Australian government secondary students to complete schooling and negotiate their transition to adult life.
Increase in school leaving age, South Australia
The age of compulsory education in South Australia changed from 15 to 16 years on 1 January 2003.
A matter of principal
The New South Wales Principals' Support Team has begun its work. The team was created as part of the support package launched by the New South Wales Government in August of 2002. Principals are encouraged to seek guidance from the team on issues such as student misbehaviour, workplace conflict, school improvement programs and even personal problems.
Best ever literacy results
Years 3 and 5 students in New South Wales public schools have achieved the best ever results for their year levels in the BST. Last year's (2002) testing showed a marked improvement in numeracy and literacy skills for boys, girls, Indigenous students and students from non-English speaking backgrounds.
VET prominent in Queensland's senior schooling overhaul
The Queensland Government has released an Options Paper concerning the new Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) and the Education and Training Reforms for the Future (ETRF) restructuring program. Education Minister Anna Bligh has proposed 'that students working towards the new qualification will be able to count a combination of approved courses, including university subjects, vocational education and training certificates, school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, job readiness programs, International Baccalaureate, Australian Musical Examinations Board certificates and community and workplace programs'. One option is for the QCE to have a compulsory VET component, covering elements such as vocational guidance and skills in lifelong learning and ICT. Another key issue is minimum standards of achievement. See commentary in Campus Review, 20 October 2004 p.10
Britain's National Union of Teachers calls for sweeping reforms
Britain's National Union of Teachers has set out a radical plan for reforming schools, including scrapping many of the current pillars of the education system. The plan would abolish the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), league tables, school selection and Key Stage tests. See report in the Times Educational Supplement (TES), 12 November 2004.
Debate over evolution theory in Australia and USA
Australian schools should teach the biblical creation story alongside evolutionary theory, in the opinion of Family First chairman Peter Harris. Family First itself has no formal policy on school curriculums. See article in The Age, 18 November 2004. In the United States a Pennsylvanian school board has sparked widespread controversy by mandating the teaching of 'intelligent design' for its Year 9 biology curriculum. Intelligent design argues that the universe is so complex that it must have been created by a higher power. For more information on the debate over the teaching of evolution in United States schools, see reports in the Boston Globe, 16 November and MSNBC, 12 November 2004.
New CEO for school quality institute
Fran Hinton has been appointed as the Chief Executive of the National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership (NIQTSL). Ms Hinton will assume responsibility for leading the Institute's mission to enhance the effectiveness and standing of the education profession in Australia, taking up her appointment on Monday, 1 November 2004 for a period of five years. For further information contact
New Arts resource (NZ)
The New Zealand Ministry of Education and Learning Media Ltd are producing a range of contemporary arts resources featuring material on dance, drama, music and the visual arts. The resources are designed to highlight the concept of cultural identity to students, covering the rich heritage of New Zealand's diverse cultures. Information for students to explore a wide range of future opportunities in arts-related employment is also included. The resources are available through Learning Media.
AsTTle upgrade planned (NZ)
A new version of AsTTle (Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning) is being developed by the New Zealand government, who will pour $700,000 into creating a multi-user version of the tool, enabling networking across an entire school. The AsTTle tool comprises of a set of literacy and numeracy tests, enabling teachers in Years 5-7 to track the progress and achievement of individual students and groups of students against national literacy and numeracy standards. The new networked tool will help with teachers' strategic planning, through information sharing. AsTTle tests will be available in New Zealand for Years 8-10 by December 2004. See report in Education Gazette 4 October 2004.
Healthy eating guidelines launched(SA)
Eat Well SA is the title of the new healthy eating guidelines for South Australian Schools. The guidelines were produced with the collaboration of organisations such as the Cancer Council and the Heart Foundation. They contain advice for schools on how to foster healthy eating habits in students, and on the kinds of food that should be sold in school canteens and vending machines. For more information see Xpress, 16 September 2004, and the Department of Education and Children's Services website.
Record investment gives school children a better deal (Vic)
Victoria's 1618 government schools will share a record $3.55 billion funding allocation under the new Student Resource Package funding formula. The Student Resource Package replaces a ten-year-old funding formula which was found to be complex, ineffective in targeting needy students, and unable to hold schools properly accountable. The Student Resource Package will have a greater emphasis on equity, less 'red tape' and be flexible enough to adjust student funding levels as they progress through school. For more information see Media Release, 16 September 2004.
Record investment to improve study of languages (Vic)
Schools will receive a bigger funding allocation for languages and English as Second Language students through 'Student Resource Package' (SRP), the new Victorian schools' funding formula. According to Education Minister Lynn Kosky, the new funding model will remove funding anomalies and better target student need. The changes to the funding allocation will occur over the next five years. For more information see Media Release, 16 September 2004.
State primary schools seek mantle for reading skills (WA)
The Premier's Reading School of the Year award has prompted many Western Australian Primary Schools to implement innovative literacy strategies. The award is worth $5,000 in reading resources, and schools are nominated by their District Director in the Department of Education and Training. Schools will be judge on their learning programs, students' reading participation, library borrowings and Western Australian Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (WALNA) results. For more information see Media Statement, 20 September 2004.
Raising the school leaving age: youth forum (WA)
The Western Australian Premier, Dr Geoff Gallop, addressed a Youth Forum, made up of 150 students from across that State, on the Government's intention to increase the school leaving age to 17. Premier Gallop re-stated the government's intention to ensure that Western Australian school leavers were better prepared to 'take advantage of 'emerging jobs'. Responses to the raising of the school leaving age should be made via the online youth survey, or through a written submission, by 5pm Friday, 1 October 2004. See Media Statement, 17 September 2004, and the Raising the school leaving age and 15 is too young to stop learning websites.
NSW public school students to learn Aboriginal languages
The New South Wales Government has introduced the teaching of Indigenous languages in the State's public schools. The NSW Aboriginal Languages Policy includes initiatives to teach and revive the State's 70 Aboriginal languages. Aboriginal community organisations and local, state and federal governments are to set up a new K-10 syllabus. The new curriculum has been piloted this year at a range of schools. An Aboriginal languages database will be available to schools and communities from 2005. See article in Campus Review, 18 August 2004, p.15.
Tasmanian Government funds more school breakfast programs
The Tasmanian Government will spend $60,300 to fund school breakfast programs around the state. Education Minister Paula Wriedt has announced that, as part of the At School, On Time, Ready to Work project, the Red Cross has received a grant of $35,300 from the State Government's Social Projects Unit to trial a new school breakfast program in the northern part of Tasmania. Ministerial media statement, 2 June 2004.
Strong response for Commonwealth careers advice initiative
According to an independent evaluation of the Australian Government's Career and Transitions (CAT) pilot programmes, more than 37,000 young Australians have been assisted to find and achieve their own potential through sound careers advice and guidance. See Ministerial media release, 1 June 2004.
NZ union applauds Government's child care support
NZEI Te Riu Roa, the early childhood teachers union in New Zealand, has applauded the Government's announcement that it is to provide free education for three and four year old children at non profit, community-run early childhood education centres. NZEI media release, 27 May 2004 (scoop.co.nz)
Future Moves Expo in Tasmania
The Future Moves Expo provides an opportunity for students, parents and staff to see the range of post-compulsory education and training open to them in Tasmania. It is a joint initiative between TAFE Tasmania, the University of Tasmania and the Australian Maritime College. Following a pilot in the northwest of the State last year, the Expo will now be offered on an annual basis to school and college communities around the State. The initiative is part of the State Government's commitment to Progressing Tasmania Together. See Ministerial Media Release, 10 May 2004.
A new curriculum for ACT schools
The Australian Capital Territory's Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services Ms Katy Gallagher has announced the release of Every Chance to Learn, a curriculum renewal discussion paper, which will provide the opportunity for the community to have their say on the direction of curriculum renewal in ACT schools. In September 2003, the Minister established the Curriculum Renewal Taskforce to direct a review and renewal of curriculum for ACT government and non-government schools from preschool to year 10. Every Chance to Learn is the starting point in the renewal process. It puts forward propositions for the community to discuss about the principles and framework of a new ACT curriculum to guide student learning into the future. See Ministerial media release 27 April and report by ABC Online 27 April 2004.
Australian Government reforms funding model for Catholic sector
The Australian Government's announcement of funding for Catholic education systems for 2005-08 brings the Catholic sector into line with independent schools, with an estimated funding increase of $362 million. See commentary in Educare News April 2004.
Strategic directions for science and Mathematics in South Australian schools 2003-2006 (SA)
Teachers from schools across Australia are invited to participate in Strategic Directions for Science and Mathematics in South Australian Schools 2003-2006. The strategy encompasses two project which are designed to improve learning outcomes and pedagogy in science and mathematics. Schools are asked to identify two teachers, who will undertake 'action research projects' with the support of the strategy. Successful schools will be entitled to $5000 to support the teachers involved in the project with appropriate resources and teacher release.
New video compilation tape provides middle years support (Vic)
A series of Video Updates, featuring successful strategies for use in the middle years of schooling, are available for purchase. The series of twelve programs was initially shown on Schools' Television, and is deals with issues such as classroom organization, curriculum and community engagement. For more information see Education Times, 11 March 2004, or contact Justin Shortal at email@example.com
New advocacy campaign supports music education in schools
Music. Play for Life is a campaign to encourage music making by people of all ages and musical tastes, in community settings or schools, from the cities or the country, whether for simple recreation or in pursuit of a professional career. A key goal of the campaign is to increase music education in schools. The campaign will seek to empower teachers, principals and parent groups in developing a leading role for music learning within the school, strengthening the school's profile through music, and participating in the community with music. The role of advocates will be supported by a kit, currently under development, to assist teachers, principals and parent groups in advocating for music.
Key US education act struggles to find support
Little more than two years after the U.S. Congress overwhelmingly passed the No Child Left Behind Act, teachers, parents and state officials across the country are baulking at the law's requirements. See article in the Detroit News, 30 March 2004.
British education minister chastises teachers for uneven lesson quality
British Education Secretary Charles Clarke has claimed that the quality of teaching in many classrooms was almost 'hit and miss', and that teachers have made only 'patchy improvements', with too much inconsistency across the range of different subjects being taught. The comments have been criticised by teacher unions. See report in The Guardian, 11 March 2004.
UK teacher unions campaign against tests
British teachers have stepped up their campaign against national English, mathematics and science tests for primary and secondary students, as three unions joined together to call for an independent review of how children's achievement is assessed. See report in The Scotsman, 26 February 2004.
Suspended students learn via webcams in USA
Students suspended from Coffeeville High School, Mississippi, can follow their teacher's lessons on the Internet from a nearby building. Web-based technology at the schools tracks the movements and voice of teachers during lessons. As United States public schools face greater pressure to improve academic performance, educators are looking for new ways to punish students for bad behaviour without abandoning their instruction. Despite privacy concerns, the Coffeeville experiment seems poised to spread to other schools. USA Today, 5 January 2004.
$500,000 funding boost for Studies of Asia
The Studies of Asia program administered by the Asia Education Foundation is to receive an additional $500,000 from the Australian Government for 2004, to assist teachers' professional development. Studies of Asia is developed within key learning areas in Australian schools, in particular Studies of Society and Environment, English and the Arts. For more information see press release.
Science pupils urge more ethical debate in UK
Teenagers want to debate controversial issues during secondary school science lessons, rather than just learning facts by rote, according to the findings of a survey of nearly 1,500 adolescents. The poll was devised by pupils themselves, in collaboration with the Science Museum, the Government's Planet Science initiative and London University's Institute of Education. The results of the poll were published by Nesta. See article in The Times.
Learning consequences from mock accident in SA
South Australia's Ambulance, Police, State Emergency Services and the Metropolitan Fire Service recreated the aftermath of a two-car collision, for a mock accident and trial held at Victor Harbor High School during Drug Action Week. Year 10 students sat in the "courtroom" and listened to the facts of the accident and the legal ramifications. See Xpress, 4 September 2003.
Australian Science and Mathematics School officially opened
The $14 million Australian Science and Mathematics School (ASMS) in Adelaide has been officially opened. To mark the occasion, which was held during National Science Week, Premier Rann announced the new Premier's Science and Mathematics Teacher Awards to give 36 teachers time away from the classroom to work in industry. As well, he announced ASMS scholarships to financially support 20 students from disadvantaged backgrounds and regional areas to attend the school. See Xpress, 4 September 2003
Tasmania supports national literacy and numeracy testing
The Tasmanian Government is seeking feedback from the Tasmanian Council of State Schools Parents and Friends Association on how parents want to receive information on national literacy and numeracy benchmarks. Education Minister Paula Wriedt re-affirmed Tasmania's support for the national literacy and numeracy testing program, and the reporting of its results to parents. See media release.
Workforce Skills Development Issues Paper released in Tasmania
The Tasmanian Education Minister, Paula Wriedt, has released the Workforce Skills Development Issues Paper as part of the Learning Together initiative, which aims to develop a post-compulsory education and training strategy for Tasmania. The Government wants to find out how industry and the community can contribute to improving the skills of the State's workforce. See media release.
National Simultaneous Storytime
During the National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS), held at 11.00am (AEST) on Friday 5 September, the book I Don't Want to Go to School, by popular Australian author Christine Harris, is being read at a range of locations across Australia including schools, libraries and early childhood centres. An initiative of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), NSS emphasises the importance of young children learning to read, and, importantly, learning to enjoy reading.
Reach for the Stars - a numeracy event
Reach for the Stars is a new addition to this year's National Literacy and Numeracy Week program. This national event involves measuring and recording the height of students, and aggregating the data across Australia. A host of related activities to help promote numeracy in schools are included as part of the event. Developed by the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers (AAMT) in consultation with teachers, education systems and the Department of Education, Science and Training, Reach for the Stars is being conducted throughout the week 1-5 September.
Drug harm research (SA)
Fourteen South Australian schools will participate in the 'Drug Strategy - Social Inclusion, Research and Development Project'. A three year initiative, the project funds schools to create their own research and development projects on reducing the impact of drugs on young people. The results of the work from the fourteen participating schools will be shared with other schools via websites, seminars and curriculum materials. For more information see Xpress, 24 July 2003.
National testing of civics and citizenship education in 2004
The Australian Council for Education Research will conduct a national sample assessment of Year 6 and Year 10 student achievement in the area of Civics and Citizenship Education in 2004. The assessment will measure knowledge and understanding of civic institutions and processes, and students' citizenship dispositions and skills. For more information, see Curriculum Perspectives, June 2003.
Minister's Awards for Outstanding Contribution to Improving Literacy and/or Numeracy
The Commonwealth Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, will present up to five Awards of $10,000 each in 2003 to recognise outstanding contributions made by individuals to improving literacy and numeracy in their communities. The Minister's Awards will be provided as part of National Literacy and Numeracy Week (NLNW) celebrations in September 2003, and are aimed at supporting and enhancing ongoing literacy and numeracy programmes.
Celebrating 20 years of ACSA
The Australian Curriculum Studies Association had announced the theme for its biennial conference in September 2003 - Curriculum 'Conversations and Actions or Conversa-c-tions'. Designed to invoke the connection between conversation and action, the theme will link the various forums at the conference which will consider issues to do with education's role in society, the meaning of public debate on education, the role of curriculum in creating a new Australia, how technologies change thinking and learning and the practices of 21st century classrooms.
World Teachers' Day
On World Teachers' Day over 100 countries acknowledge the work of teachers. The theme this year is Teachers - Opening doors to a better world. Australia celebrates World Teachers' Day on 31 October. See details on the website of the Australian Education Union. See also the special feature in Education Review (Supplement to Campus Review) October/November 2003.
Class sizes down to 10-year low (Vic)
The Victorian Government has released new data which demonstrates that secondary English class sizes - used as a sample because most students are required to participate in them - have fallen to an average of 22 students. However, 187 secondary schools in Victoria, more than half the total of 309, still have at least one class between 26 and 31 students, and 13 per cent of secondary English classes still average more than 25 students. For more information, see The Age, 31 July 2003.
Does your school dare to lead? (Qld)
Dare to Lead - taking it on forums will be held in Brisbane on Friday, 5 September and in Townsville on Monday, 8 September. The Dare to Lead initiative aims to lift the primary literacy level and secondary school retention rates of Indigenous students by 10 per cent. All schools are being urged to sign up to the initiative, with those without an Indigenous presence in their student population undertaking to run programs to improve understanding between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities. The Dare to Lead initiative is funded by the Commonwealth Government and managed by the Australian Principals Associations Professional Development Council (APAPDC). For more information visit The APAPDC website and see The Independent Voice, July 2003.
Draft plan for government schools 2004-2007 (WA)
The Western Australian Department of Education and Training website contains the Draft Plan for Government Schools 2004-2007. The plan contains the vision, values, objectives and strategic context which will inform the operation of government schools over the stated period of the plan.
RACQ Future Leaders - Creating tomorrow's leaders today (Qld)
The RACQ Future Leaders program encourages secondary students to identify problems in their community and to build links with community organisations and businesses to redress those problems. The program has been designed to foster leadership skills in students, provide 'real-world' educational situations and to assist schools in cultivating partnerships with community and business groups. For more information see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
Reconciliation forum (Vic)
The Australian Catholic University (St Patrick's Campus), will host the National Youth Reconciliation Convention on 12-13 June 2003. Indigenous and non-Indigenous secondary students aged between 15 and 17 years are welcome to attend. For more information see Education Times, 1 May, 2003
Australian Study of Health and Relationships
The Australian Study of Health and Relationships has reported on the results of its 2001-2002 survey into attitudes to sexuality and sexual health. It has found that the average age for the first experience of sexual intercourse has fallen to 16 for males and females. Noting that other forms of sexual activity occur before intercourse, it suggests that there is a 'need to urgently review the teaching of sexuality education in primary schools'.
Public Education Project (SA)
The Australian Education Union (SA branch) has announced its intention to develop a new statement on public education in order to guide its work. In developing the statement, it will consider the role of public education - its values and purposes - and the resources needed to fund that role. The project will be modelled on the Vinson Inquiry in New South Wales, and will serve to draw attention to the importance of public education. For more information, see AEU Journal (SA Branch), 4 June 2003.
Public Education Week 2003 (SA)
Public Education Week in South Australia will be 1-5 September in 2003. The Australian Education Union (SA branch) has announced that the theme for the week will be 'Transition Points'. This theme was adopted to highlight the fact that public schools lose many students to private education during the transition stages of schooling, eg from primary to secondary school. During Education Week, the Australian Education Union (AEU) will focus on strategies to slow this trend, and bring attention to the benefits of public education. For more information, see AEU Journal (SA Branch), 4 June 2003.
Loud and clear call for testing (Vic)
Six thousand Victorian primary school students from 90 schools will partcipate in the Hearing Impact in Schools Study (HISS), the first phase of which will be conducted from July to December 2003. The study, conducted by the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, will test for common slight and mild hearing loss in the students, with those found to have problems selected for the second phase of the project - The Impact Study. The latter will try to determine the effects of hearing loss on the selected students. For more information, see Education Times, 12 June 2003.
Dare to Lead: solid targets set for 2006
The Dare to Lead program aims to improve literacy and numeracy outcomes, as well as retention rates, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The targets for 2006 are: a minimum of ten per cent improvement in literacy and numeracy at Year 5; and a minimum of ten per cent improvement in retention rates from Years 10-12. The Australian Primary Principals' Association, the Australian Secondary Principals' Association; the Association of Heads of Independent Schools, and the Association of Principals of Catholic Secondary schools have signed up to the program. Queensland forums will be held in Brisbane and Townsville on 5 and 8 September respectively. For more information, see Queensland Teachers' Journal, 15 May 2003.
Class size reduction for Years 1-3 (WA)
The Australian Education Union's Western Australian Branch has welcomed the reduction in class sizes in the State's primary schools. A union survey showed that the average class size has been reduced, notably in the junior primary classes, an important provsion of the union-negotiated Certified Agreement for Western Australian teachers. For more information see Western Teacher, 28 March 2003.
2003 Victorian Education Excellence Awards
The Victorian Education Excellence Awards will be presented during Education Week, 11-17 May. The awards recognise the contributions and achievements of Victorian teachers and school leaders. They will include: the Lindsay Thompson Fellowship; the Outstanding School Leadership Award; the Victoria Teachers Credit Union Outstanding Primary Teacher Award; the Members and Education Credit Union Outstanding Secondary Teacher Award; and the Curriculum Innovation Award.
National Literacy and Numeracy Week
National Literacy and Numeracy Week will be celebrated from 1-7 September 2003. Awards are available to Government, Catholic and Independent schools.
Australian Government demands more timely reporting of student results
The Australian Government now requires education authorities 'to commit to the timely publication of the ANR (annual national report on schooling) within one year of the end of each program year', in a bid to make up-to-date records of student achievement available to the public. See article in The Australian, 5 December 2004.
CyberSafe Schools from NetAlert Limited is a program to assist Australian school teachers educate students about safe and responsible use of the Internet. Phase 2 of the program, now in development, will provide free educational resources, including an interactive CDROM with student activities, and offline teacher materials. Resources will be distributed to every Australian school with primary school students, and will also be accessible via the CyberSafe Schools site.
NSW principals to have stronger powers over disruptive students
New South Wales Education Minister Andrew Refshauge announced that from 2005 school principals will be issued stronger authority to discipline disruptive students, including suspension of students who carry weapons or make threats via email and SMS. The Department of Education holds a catalogue of thousands of violent acts perpetrated on teachers in schools across New South Wales, with dozens of those occurring during the past year. These incidents include teachers and class aides being punched, kicked, spat at, head-butted and threatened. See article, 6 December 2004 from News.com.au
New audit of school maintenance: Allan (Vic)
A new maintenance audit of Victorian schools will be conducted in 2005, using an improved Physical Resources Maintenance System (PRMS). Maintenance funding has hitherto been based on an audit conducted in 2001, which, along with schools' indifference to updating the PRMS database, has rendered the current funding process inefficient. For more information see Media Release, 19 November 2004.
Department sets direction for forthcoming year in NT
The Northern Territory's Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEET) has developed an Action Plan for the forthcoming year. The Plan, developed from feedback received during the recent Voice of DEET evaluation project, will focus on six strategic areas, including Attracting and Preparing New Teachers and Investing in Indigenous Territorians. The next step will be the creation of a corporate plan for individual DEET divisions. See report in InForm (NT), October 2004.
National inquiry into literacy announced
The Australian Education Minister, Brendan Nelson, has announced that an independent, national review will examine current methods used to teach children to read and write. An announcement will be made shortly on the review's terms of reference, and the composition of the committee that will conduct it. See commentaries, David Kemp: Reading left off the education agenda, The Australian, 18 November 2004; and
Multi-million dollar behaviour program a first for WA primary schools (WA)
The Behaviour Management and Discipline Strategy (BMD) implemented in Western Australia will be expanded to include 200 primary schools and 30 additional secondary schools. Since the introduction of the BMD in 2001, student suspensions have fallen by 19 per cent. Schools in the program are entitled to more staff to reduce class sizes, funding for behaviour management programs and youth workers, and professional development for teachers in behaviour management. For more information see Media Statement, 11 November 2004.
Call for UK schools to find links overseas
Every school in England is being encouraged to 'twin' with a school overseas over the next five years. They are being urged to try for a British Council award recognising international collaboration. The move is part of a government strategy aimed at building stronger international links among colleges and universities, as well as schools. See BBC report, 15 November, 2004.
NSW casual teachers win fight for equal pay
The New South Wales Court of Appeal has supported a claim by 13 casual female teachers for equal pay with their permanently employed colleagues. The decision opens the way for 700 other women teachers to make similar claims. The State Government is considering taking the eight-year-old case to the High Court. See report in the Sydney Morning Herald, 16 November 2004.
Schools go wireless in $6 million computer upgrade (Vic)
All Victorian schools will have access to wireless networks by June 2005, under the Wireless Networks for Schools (WiNS) initiative. The network consists of 1700 security servers and 9000 access points, which would effectively cover all parts of every school, enabling portable computers to operate in all areas of schools without the necessity of a physical connection. For more information see Media Release, 8 November 2004.
Nelson eyes literacy inquiry
A national inquiry into the teaching of reading in primary schools is being considered by the Australian Government amid growing concerns that too many students are barely literate. A group of 26 literacy researchers argue that children are failing to learn to read due to the prevalence of the whole language teaching approach in schools, which they claim to be ineffective and lacking in scientific credibility. See article in The Age, 8 November 2004. See also related article Reading between the lines.
US Consortium for School Networking profiles 'must-have' technologies
Datacasting, radio frequency identification (RFID) chips, student web logs (blogs), and intelligent essay graders are among a dozen technologies likely to emerge as must-have solutions in United States schools, according to a recent report from the United States based Consortium for School Networking (CoSN). The third in a series of CoSN-sponsored reports dedicated to emerging technologies, 'Hot Technologies for K-12 Schools' examines the usefulness of such little-known technologies in schools, and begins to explore how such innovations might be used to transform learning in the 21st century. See report in E-school News, 4 November 2004 (free registration required).
Languages not compulsory in two-thirds of British government schools
Two-thirds of government secondary schools in Britain no longer make foreign language lessons compulsory. A massive decline in take-up by 14- to 16-year-olds is revealed in a study by the Centre for Information on Language Teaching (CILT), the national resource centre for language teachers. The study shows a stark divide between government and independent schools, with only 30 per cent of schools in the government sector now offering compulsory language lessons, compared with 97 per cent of independent schools. See also article in the Independent, 5 November 2004.
Swipe-card system used to monitor student attendance at Airds HS, Sydney
Students at of Airds High School in Sydney's southwest are now required to use computerised swipe cards when passing through the school gates. The swipe cards are said to have helped solve the problem of low attendance rates at the school of 580 Year 7 to 12 students, which is located in one of the most socio-economically disadvantaged areas in New South Wales. Up to 40 per cent of senior students are involved in off-site training at TAFE and other venues. See article in The Australian, 9 November 2004.
Boost to ECE training announced (NZ)
The New Zealand Government will make available 700 scholarships to low income earners who wish to train as early childhood educators. The Early Childhood National Caucus has welcomed the decision, as it will add more qualified staff to early childhood centres. For more information see NZEI RouRou, 11 October 2004.
New behaviour support policy (SA)
Pre-school directors, principals of child parent centres and district support staff in South Australia will be eligible for paid release for a half-day training session in the Behaviour Support Policy for Early Childhood Services. The policy seeks to support staff in the early childhood sector in dealing with and managing children's behaviour, as well as in creating safe environments for children's learning. For more information see Xpress, 14 October 2004.
Our Children the Future Early Childhood Conference (SA)
Our Children the Future Early Childhood Conference will be hosted by the Department of Education and Children Services (SA) in June 2005. The conference, aimed at early childhood teachers and those working in childcare services, will include both local and overseas keynote speakers. The theme for the confernce is Challenging Realities: Rights, Relationships, Research. For more information see Xpress, 14 October 2004, and visit the conference website.
Home schooling shake-up (Qld)
The Report of the Home Schooling Review in Queensland, led by Bob McHugh, has been released. The Review received 134 submissions and consisted of 13 public meetings. Included in its recommendations are an abolition of the $1000 fee; an introduction of a system of registration; the maintenance of access to distance education resources; permission for parents to create their own learning program; and the establishment of a Home Schooling Advisory Committee. For more information see the Report of the Home Schooling Review and Ministerial Media Statements.
Government move will make schools safer (Qld)
Amendments to the Education (General Provisions) Act introduced into the Queensland Parliament will empower school principals in that State to ban aggressive intruders from school grounds, and supervise the visits of others who are considered a threat to school safety. Principals will be able to ban individuals from school grounds for a period of twenty-four hours, and they will also have the authority to demand that a person report to the principal's office on entering school property. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 28 October 2003.
Mentors work with principals to share their experience (WA)
The Leadership Centre in Western Australia is conducting a pilot mentoring program in which fifiteen mentors are working with principals from schools in three education districts. The program allows for professional knowledge and experience to be shared amongst principals. Mentoring relationships are carried out face-to-face, and via the telephone and email. The possibiliy of having mentors available for new school leaders in 2004 will be examined. For more information visit the Leadership Centre website and see report in School Matters, 15 October 2003.
Towards a code of ethics (NZ)
The New Zealand Teachers Council has initiated the consultation phase for its Code of Ethics. The code will encourage teachers to consider the place of ethical principles in their relationships with colleagues, students and families. Teachers are invited to respond with regards to the content of the code, the consultation procedure and any additional material they would prefer to have inlcuded. Closing date for the feedback is 3 November 2003. It's anticpated that a draft Code of Ethics will be circulated for consultation in ealry 2004. For more information see NZEI RouRou, 8 October 2003.
Maori students show improvement (NZ)
The National Education Monitoring Project has released reports which demonstrate that Maori students have made gains in primary and intermediate schools. Students' writing, listening and viewing skills were tested. Overall, the percentage of tasks on which Maori students performed lower than other students has decreased. Pasifika students, however, were performing at lower levels than other ethnic groups. For more information see NZEI RouRou, 8 October 2003.
New Queensland laws to maintain public confidence in grammar schools
Laws revising the establishment and governance of grammar schools have been recently passed in Queensland. The laws incorporate recommendations from the Department of Education's Public Benefit Test report that found the existing Grammar Schools Act was anti-competitive. The new laws will provide for the protection of the grammar school name, and will also provide greater clarity in relation to the Minister's powers in the event a grammar school experiences serious financial difficulty. For more details see Queensland Ministerial media statements or tel: 07 3235 4593.
Finnish kids to be tracked via their mobiles
Finland's parliament is considering a new privacy law that would allow parents to monitor their children's whereabouts through their mobile phones without their consent. See Silicon.com, 20 October 2003.
NSW teachers threaten further strikes
Teachers in New South Wales have voted for further strike action before Christmas and into next year, if the State Government does not meet their demands for a salary increase and continues its threat to take any pay rise out of the education budget. See report in the Sydney Morning Herald.
Revised proposal to reshape Department of Education and Training, NSW
The New South Wales Department of Education and Training has announced revised proposals to restructure the organisation and reshape public education. The revised proposals follow a period of consultation over the original proposal, during which over 5,000 submissions received by the Department. A further consultation period will end on 4 November, before the finalised structure is implemented. For more details are available from the Department.
State government increases incentives for Goldfields teachers (WA)
The Western Australian Government has created a new 'incentive category' - the Country and Metropolitan Teaching Program - as part of an offer to the Australian Education Union (WA Branch) in the State Government's Certified Agreement. The program, which replaces the Difficult to Staff scheme, offers financial incentives and shorter qualifying periods for permanent employment with the Department to new graduates. Graduate teachers could earn up to $6000 dollars more than if they started in a metropolitan school, and only have serve two years, as opposed to three, to gain permanency. See Education and Training Minister's Media Statement, 7 October 2003.
Welfare officers to make debut (Vic)
Victorian primary schools will begin employing welfare officers in the final school term of 2003. The equivalent of 64 welfare officers will be appointed to 110 primary schools, as part of the Victorian government's plan to have 256 primary welfare officers in schools by 2005. The officers' duties will include dealing with student issues such as truancy and bullying, and improving the relationships between the schools and their communities. For more information see Education Times, 9 October 2003.
New legislation to strengthen power of teacher board to protect students (QLD)
Under the Education and Other Legislation (Student Protection) Amendment Bill, the powers of the Board of Teacher Registration will be strengthened to protect from sexual and other forms of abuse. The Board will have the capacity to better screen individuals applying for teaching positions in Queensland schools, as it will have access to applicant's full criminal histories, and investigative information in jurisdcitions outside of Queensland. When passed, the new legislation will also mandate the reporting of suspected child abuse by all state and non-state schools, require that all schools inform the Board of a resignation or dismissal in circumstances involving harm to children and empower the Board to suspend the registration of a teacher during an inquiry into their conduct. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 14 October 2003.
Mathematics and Technology Teacher Fellowships announced in New Zealand
The Royal Society of New Zealand has announced 59 New Zealand Science, Mathematics and Technology Teacher Fellowships for 2004. Funded by the government, the awards enable teachers to be released from school for up to a year to work on projects hosted by organisations engaged in research or technological practice, in order to develop their understandings and skills in sciences, mathematics, technology or social sciences. See report in the New Zealand Education Gazette, 6 October 2003.
Turn to teaching, Allan urges professionals (Vic)
The Career Change Program is a $1.3 million strategy to entice professionals in Information Technology, accountants and engineers to the teaching profession. It's anticipated that these professionals would be able to ameliorate the shortage of teachers in mathematics, science and technology disciplines. People making the career change would be entitled to some or all of the benefits outlined in the Media Release, issued on October 16, 2004, by the Minister for Education Services, Jacinta Allan.
Victorian schools 'in filthy condition'
School cleaning processes in Victoria are not meeting hygiene requirements, according to union representatives and principals. The Herald Sun reports that contracted cleaners in schools are 'cutting corners' to lower their costs. For more information see
Tasmanian principals back new curriculum
Tasmanian high school principals have spoken out in support of the State's Essential Learnings curriculum overhaul. The principals of Clarence and Brooks high schools yesterday dismissed claims that the new system had little teacher support. Both principals contacted The Mercury after last week's release of an Australian Education Union survey of 1300 teachers, showing 92 per cent said they did not have good knowledge of the marking system. Some of the teachers' sentiments raised in the survey included that Essential Learnings was packed with incomprehensible jargon, and that the process was being driven by bureaucrats. The new system is to be implemented in term one of next year. More changes will follow in 2006. See media release from the Tasmanian Minister for Education, 20 October 2004, for details of the organisational restructure of the Department associated with the reforms.
Launch of 'Advocating the Arts for Young People' community resource kit (ACT)
Advocating the Arts for Young People is a free community resource which assists organisations and young artists to campaign for more young people to get involved in the arts. The kit was launched by the the ACT Minister for Youth, Katy Gallagher, on 8 October, but it is available from Young people and Arts Australia. For more information see Media Release, 7 October 2004.
Sport to remain compulsory in Victorian schools
Victorian Education Minister Lynne Kosky has confirmed that the review of curriculum, currently being conducted by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority, will not affect schools' obligation to provide physical education and activity for students. Primary and secondary schools in Victoria are compelled to provide students with an established minimum amount of physical education and activity each week. For more information see Media Release, 13 October 2004.
12th World Congress of Comparative Education
Education and Social Justice is the theme of the 12th World Congress of Comparative Education, to be held in Havana from 25-29 October 2004. This is a triennial Congress of the World Council of Comparative Education Societies (WCCES), which coordinates 34 member societies across the globe. Council representatives elected the Association of Cuban Educators (Comparative Education chapter) as the 11th society to host the Congress, which has been held twice in Canada, and in Switzerland, the UK, Japan, France, Brazil, the Czech Republic, Australia, South Africa and Korea. For more information see the Congress website and the World Council of Comparative Education Societies.
NZ Principals fear lawsuits over school trips
In New Zealand, school trips may be banned because principals fear they could be sued for up to $500,000 if a pupil is injured. For more information see the
Review of Aboriginal Education (NSW)
The New South Wales Government has announced a review of Indigenous education in that State, in order to improve the educational outcomes for Indigenous students. The review, which will be conducted in conjunction with the New South Wales Aboriginal Education Consultative Group, will examine existing programs, including numeracy and literacy strategies, explore better ways of engaging parents in their children's education, address school attendance and suspension rates, and consider ways of improving support for classroom teachers in their teaching of Indigenous students. For more information see the media release on the Department of Education and Training (NSW)website.
Joint refugee assistance program launched in NSW
The New South Wales Teachers Federation and the Department of Education and Training have launched a joint assistance program to help newly arrived refugee students. Under the scheme, refugees attending schools and TAFE colleges are eligible for a funding grant of up to $200 in the first year after their arrival in NSW. For more information visit the New South Wales Teachers Federation website.
Queensland Department of Education wins Employer of the Year Award (Qld)
The Queensland Department of Education has won a Prime Minister's Employer of the Year Award for its committment to people with disabilities. The award recognised the Department's efforts to create an inclusive workplace through its flexible work arrangements, training programs and implementation of anti-discrimination policies. Almost 9 per cent of the Department's workforce have a disability, with 64 per cent of that proportion teaching in Queensland schools. See Ministerial Media Statements, 31 October 2003.
Subject action plan (SA)
A decline in the number of students studying mathematics and science will be addressed by the South Australian Government with a three-year, $2.1 million dollar initiative. The initiative will attempt to arrest the decline in the number of students studying science and mathematics, as well as increase the number of teachers in those subject areas. The money will be used to set up 48 focus schools, which will explore alternative ways of teaching science and mathematics, secure industry placements for science and mathematics teachers, fund scholarships and establish a working party, which will examine the supply of science and mathematics teachers. See Xpress, 16 October 2003.
Security crackdown (SA)
The South Australian Government will amend the Education Regulations (1997) to empower schools to remove individuals from school premises who threaten the safety and security of a school. Trespassers, people who behave in a threatening manner and those previously barred from school premises can be banned for a period of up to three months from entering a school. See Xpress, 16 October 2003
Victorian teachers sign up to avoid suspension
Dozens of Victorian teachers suspended from teaching for not registering with Victoria's new teaching body have now signed up with the Victorian Institute of Teaching. About 100 primary and secondary teachers had been suspended after failing to pay a compulsory $60 fee to register with that body. See The Age, 6 November 2003.
New scholarships program for teachers (ACT)
The ACT Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Katy Gallagher, has announced two new scholarships for retraining teachers to be secondary mathematics teachers and counsellors. The mathematics scholarship, sponsored by the Department of Education, Youth and Family Services and the University of Canberra, is available to primary teachers to retrain as secondary mathematics teachers. Those who qualify for the counselling scholarship will be entitled to paid study leave, and have their course fees paid by the program. For more information see Media Release, 29 October 2003.
Changes proposed to National Film and Sound Archive
The Australian Film Commission has proposed a restructure that will impact on the National Film and Sound Archive (ScreenSound). Discussion is
Program helps Victorian schools cooperate in middle years teaching
Victoria's Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky, has announced that 600 schools have set up 90 school clusters under the second phase of the Schools for Innovation and Excellence program, which encourages government schools to pool their expertise in 'middle years' teaching. To date 70 clusters have been formed. The project aims to encourage attitudes of cooperation rather than competition between schools. See Ministerial Media Release, 11 February 2004.
NZ School leavers told to go for blue collar jobs, not degrees
The New Zealand Government's Tertiary Education Commission has urged school leavers to pursue well paid blue-collar jobs rather than tertiary degrees, to help the country solve chronic skills shortages. See media release, 26 January and commentary from the New Zealand Press Association (stuff.co.nz), 28 January 2004.
Appointment of new NSW Director General of DET
The New South Wales Government has announced the appointment of Mr Andrew Cappie-Wood as Director General of the Department of Education and Training, replacing Jan McClelland. Mr Cappie-Wood is currently Director General of the Department of Housing. See commentary in The Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January 2004.
PM backs plan for homework away from home
Prime Minister John Howard has suggested that children should do homework straight after school. Mr Howard has expressed interest in suggestions that after-school child-care programs could be expanded to include exercise and homework. The Commonwealth Government's child care policies are currently under review. See report in The Age, 20 January 2004.
Teacher training places popular but hard to get
Widespread interest by students in teacher training positions has been welcomed by Professor Mary Kalantzis, President of the Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE). She has, however, called for more positions to be made available nationally, noting that 61% of applicants from Victoria missed out on a teaching course this year, and that in New South Wales the entrance requirement for teacher training is higher than for many engineering, economics and computer science courses. See also reports of teacher shortages in The Age and The Dominion Post (New Zealand).
AEU launches campaign for public education.
The Australian Education Union (AEU) has launched a $1 million campaign for public education. Issues include: the balance of Commonwealth funding for public and private schools; Commonwealth funding for preschool education; measures to deal with teacher shortages; provision of quality programs for Indigenous students; and employment of more Indigenous educators.
Four point plan for child protection in ACT
A plan to protect children in the Australian Capital Territory has been announced by the Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Ms Katy Gallagher. The four point plan provides for (i) a team of senior child protection workers to assess the safety of all children in care; (ii) an injection of $1.8 million to areas of immediate need; (iii) a review of the child protection system by the Commissioner for Public Administration; and (iv) a departmental restructure to separate statutory child protection from early intervention and family support. See Ministerial media release.
Poorer NSW schools struggle to cover the cost of new syllabus
Poorer government schools in NSW are struggling to cover the cost of implementing a new syllabus in mathematics and English for years 7 to 10, according to a report in The Sydney Morning Herald, 14 January 2004.
Promise grows for Internet2
Internet2 is a research and development consortium led by over 200 United States universities, working in partnership with industry and government to develop and deploy advanced network applications and technologies, in order to accelerate the creation of tomorrow's Internet. Internet2 is recreating the partnership among academia, industry and government, which fostered today's Internet in its infancy. K-12 learners could benefit from Internet2 through faster downloads, and access to smooth, real-time digital videoconferencing for virtual field trips, collaborative projects, live cultural performances, online courses, and professional development of teachers. See the report on the progress of the initiative on philly.com, 8 January 2004.
Teachers have improved professional image
Teachers have improved their image more than any other workers in the nation over the past two decades, according to a 2003 national poll by Roy Morgan that surveyed Australians on the ethics and honesty levels of a range of professions. Teachers were rated by 79% of respondents as having high levels of ethics and honesty, up from 55% in 1983, and were listed fourth in a ranking of occupations, behind doctors, pharmacists and nurses. See report in the Adelaide Advertiser, 8 January 2004.
Good start for school leaders (WA)
The Western Australian Department of Education and Training will subsidise the attendance of newly appointed school leaders at the Preparation for School Leadership Conference, which will be held at the Parmelia Hilton Hotel, Perth, between 19-22 January 2004. The conference is considered an ideal event for new school leaders to participate in networks among their professional peers, and to affiliate themselves with professional organisations, which will be crucial for their professional development over the course of their careers. More information is available from School Matters, 21 November 2003, and the Leadership Centre.
Teacher recruitment program pays dividends (Vic)
The Victorian Government has had some success in ameliorating the extent of the teacher supply crisis. The Victorian Auditor General has reported that there has been a 17 per cent reduction in schools with 'difficult to fill vacancies' over the last year. The Report on Public Sector Agencies also found that the Teaching Scholarship and Graduate Recruitment Schemes were encouraging more people to choose teaching as a career. The number of scholarships awarded has risen from 167-248 since 2001, and the number of graduates employed in the graduate recruitment program has increased from 180-500 in the same period. For more information see Education Times, 4 December 2003.
Extra Teachers to Cut Class Sizes in Queensland State Schools
Queensland State school students will have smaller class sizes from next year, with the employment of more than 300 extra teachers. The appointments include 22 teachers for the new Preparatory Year classes. This initiative will cut the number of students per class and give teachers more time for curriculum development. The commitment to reduce class sizes is the centrepiece of the State Government's Middle Phase of Learning State School Action Plan. The reduction in middle years class sizes will be staged to reach a target of 29 by the start of the 2005 school year, and 28 by 2007. See MInisterial Media Statement 26 November 2003.
English teachers concerned about NZQA difficulty
The New Zealand Qualifications Authority (NZQA) has been criticised by secondary English teachers for setting questions that are too difficult in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA). See article from Stuff.co.nz.
IEU in historic pact with ATSIC
The Independent Education Union (IEU) has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission. The agreement has committed the IEU to promoting Reconciliation, through encouraging an awareness of Indigenous culture and increasing the participation of Indigenous people in non-government schools. The IEU hopes that this agreement will encourage other unions to do the same. For more information see Newsmonth, November 2003, and visit the Independent Education Union website.
Counselling boosted (SA)
More than 240 primary schools in South Australia will have access to a school counsellor from 2004, with seventy-seven of those getting access for the first time due to an $8 million initiative. Schools are increasingly aware that students are having to deal with issues of abuse, domestic violence, neglect or the ill health of a family member, and that supporting their emotional and mental well being can be an important contribution to their educational succcess. For more information see Xpress, 30 October 2003.
Blueprint spells successful future for schools (Vic)
The Minister for Training and Education in Victoria, Lynne Kosky, has announced a new Blueprint for Education. Under the Blueprint, high performing government schools will receive increased support, while government will intervene in schools which are not meeting expectations. The Minister recognised three areas of reform: responding to diverse student needs; enhancing the skills of the education workforce; and improving schools. With these areas in mind, there will be an improved reporting process to parents, an accelerated leadership program for teachers and principals, and successful schools will be supported in their efforts to increase staff attention on classroom activities.
Human Rights in Education (SA)
Conferences on human rights in education will be held at the Education Development Centre in Adelaide on 8 September and Murray Bridge on 16 October. The conference is associated with the work of the Multicultural Education Committee (MEC), and is open to all educators across year levels and school sectors. Information on the MEC Grants Program for 2004 will also be available at the conference. For more information, visit the Multicultural Education Committee or see Xpress, 21 August, 2003.
Northern Territory schools honoured for commitment to literacy, numeracy
The Northern Territory's Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Syd Stirling, has presented four Territory schools with national awards, recognising their achievements in literacy and numeracy. The Minister noted that the numbers of Territory students achieving the National Benchmarks in reading, writing and numeracy had grown steadily, and that this increase was particularly evident amongst Indigenous students. See media release.
What sustains teachers?
The Australian College of Educators has commissioned a national survey designed to find out what sustains and motivates teachers in the early, primary and secondary years. A project team of researchers from Edith Cowan University will administer and collate the data.
Queensland's new 'Smart Laws'
The Queensland Government has introduced new education and training laws that will require young people to be learning or earning until they are 17 years old. Under the new laws, due to start in 2006, it will be compulsory for young people to stay at school until the completion of Year 10 or until they turn 16. This places a requirement on young people to remain in education or training for a further two years. See Ministerial Media Statements
New child care regulations to protect thousands of WA children
New regulations designed to better protect children placed in before and after school care were recently announced by the Western Australian Community Development Minister, Sheila McHale. The new requirements will mean that child care staff face compulsory criminal record checks every two years. It will also require services to have telephones, smoke detectors, first aid kits and a first aid-trained carer, as well as measures to protect children from bullying, harassment and other forms of violence. See media release
Guide to 2003 school certificate (NSW)
The Guide to the 2003 School Certificate: Rules and Procedures for Students is available from the Board of Studies. Amongst other things, the guide contains information on eligibility requirements, course requirements, grading, test dates and conduct during the test.
Proposals to change Victorian schools handed down
Recommendations for changes to Victoria's school system have now been produced by four Leadership Groups appointed by the Victorian Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky. Their reports cover Curriculum, Excellence and Innovation; School Improvement and Teacher Learning. See also commentaries in The Age and the Herald Sun.
Leaders' Conference: resilient schools+resilient learners=resilient communities (SA)
This conference is organised by the Australian Education Union (SA Branch) and will begin on the evening of Thursday, 11 September and continue all day Friday, 12 September. It will be of interest to all school and preschool leaders, principals, deputy principals and those aspiring to school leadership positions. The keynote speaker is Professor Marie Brennan, Dean of the School of Education at the University of South Australia. For more information, see AEU Journal (SA Branch), August 6, 2003 or call (08) 8272 1399.
Industrial action against the Victorian restructure
The impending restructure of the Department of Education and Training in Victoria has prompted strike action by members of the Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU). The Australian Education Union and principal groups have criticised the timing of the restructure. See report in the August/September Education Review (supplement to Campus Review).
Restructure in Victorian Department of Education and Training
The Victorian Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky, has announced a restructure of the Department of Education and Training. 'There is a need for reductions, through a combination of attrition, re-deployment and packages,' Ms Kosky has said (see media release). Designed to facilitate the Blueprint for Education in Victoria to 2010 currently being developed for schools, the restructure will create five separate offices. The Office of School Education will establish resource priorities and planning frameworks for government and non-government schools and, through its regional offices, monitor and report on individual schools' performance. The Office of Learning and Teaching will direct and develop learning and teaching. The Office of Training and Tertiary Education will plan and monitor services offered by training organisations. The Office of Finance Strategy and Resources will manage finance, assets, human resources and ICT. The Office of Portfolio Integration will lead and develop strategic policy directions for education and training.
Young Health Surveyed (WA)
The Western Australian Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutrition (CAPAN) Survey will be conducted in 32 primary schools in that State. Involving more than 2800 primary students, the survey will assist the State government to develop programmes to encourage heathlier lifestyles amongst school students. The survey will be conducted from late August to December. For more information, see School Matters, 11 August 2003.
Department wins science contract (WA)
School Matters reports that the Western Australian Department of Education and Training, in partnership with the University of Western Australia, has won the contract to create online science resources for the The Learning Federation. The The Learning Federation has the task of developing online content for the six curriculum priority areas. For more information, see School Matters, 11 August 2003.
AEU looks at Aboriginal education initiatives in WA
Western Teacher reports that the Australian Education Union (AEU) is currently conducting research into Indigenous education. The areas of early childhood, pedagogy and schools funding, and TAFE employment are being examined by AEU federal officers who have visited Indigenous communities in Western Australia. The reports from the research, due later this year, will inform AEU policies on Indigenous education. For more information, see Western Teacher, 25 July 2003.
Better safe than sorry (NZ)
NZEI RouRou reports that recent changes to the Health and Safety in Employment Act will see workers have input into their workplace health and safety requirements. Under the Act, employers in workplaces with more than 30 staff will now be obliged to negotiate with workers on safety matters. Bullying, stress, and inadequate training have also been classified as hazards under the Act. For more information see Worksafe reps and NZEI RouRou, 22 July 2003.
Reform proposal (SA)
In its response to the Cox report, which look at school management, the South Australian Government has announced that it will relocate 60 staff from state to district offices. These staff will play a key role in helping schools reach the retention, attendance, and numeracy and literacy targets set by the government. It is also anticipated that they will improve service delivery to students with learning disabilities. This move is part of a more comprehensive reform agenda which will see school districts play a larger role in determining priorities and delivering services. For more information see Reform proposal, Xpress 24 July 2003 and comments by Chief Executive, Department of Education and Community Services, in Xpress 7 August 2003.
National industrial action planned by AEU
The Australian Education Union (AEU) is planning nationally co-ordinated action among its 100,000 members over remuneration. The action, proposed for September, would take place in support of state-based wage claims and in opposition to an alleged agreement between State Governments to restrain wage growth. The Annual Conference of the New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF), and the AEU Victorian branch, have both endorsed the plan.
New Government incentives to teach in Queensland schools
The Queensland Government is injecting $200,000 into four new programs, including a range of grants and scholarships, designed to strengthen the skills of teachers through ongoing professional development. Tel: (07) 3235 4594.
$30m for projects (SA)
South Australian schools will receive $30 million dollars worth of maintenance work over the next 12 months. The work will be carried out to bring schools into allignment with Occupational, Health and Safety regulations, as well as providing new facilities. Projects will include repairs to stormwater and sewerage outlets, work on heating, electrical cabling and water systems and improvements to school security. For more information, see Xpress, 26 June 2003.
Participation Promoted (SA)
The South Australian Government is encouraging community groups to include school students in multicultural community festivals. Grants of up to $3000 have been allocated to eight community groups for that purpose. It is anticipated that students will be exposed to a range of cross-cultural experiences, become aware of the many cultures which have contributed to the South Australian community, and learn skills such as dancing, singing and craft work. For more information, see Xpress, 26 June 2003.
New integrated learning facility in Victoria
The Victorian Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky, has opened new state of the art learning centre, describing it as 'a unique single entry point to a wide range of services'. The Malcom Creek Learning Centre in Craigieburn, just north of Melbourne, will incorporate primary school and TAFE education facilities, as well as community services. The centre has been funded by the Victorian and Commonwealth Governments, and the Australian Scholarships Group.
Australian Government Education Minister criticises union funding campaign
Australian Education Minister Brendan Nelson has criticised the nature of the Australian Education Union's current campaign over school funding (described in the previous issue of Curriculum Leadership). See Ministerial Media Statement and report by ABC Online.
Tasmanian Qualifications Authority (TQA) starts work
The Tasmanian Qualifications Authority, established by legislation in November 2003, began operations on 1 January 2004. The TQA brings together the relevant functions of the Tasmanian Secondary Assessment Board (TASSAB), the Universities Registration Council (URC) and the Tasmanian Accreditation and Recognition Committee (TAReC) into a new, single, statutory authority. (from TQA Information Page).
Teachers receive 3% pay rise in WA
More than 20,000 Western Australian teachers in Government schools have received a three per cent pay rise, despite ongoing Enterprise Bargaining Agreement negotiations. See Government media release.
ACT's new guide for children's learning
The Australian Capital Territory Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Ms Katy Gallagher, has launched Contours of Learning: a guide for children's learning in the early years. With a focus on play, this initiative in curriculum development discusses socialisation, literacy, numeracy, and the health and well being of children from birth to eight years of age. The Department has developed a training program to support its implementation. Tel: (w) 6205 0139.
WA launches nursing pilot program for schools
A program to help boost the number of nurses in Western Australia and which targets Year 11 and 12 students has been launched by Education and Training Minister Alan Carpenter. The Transition to Nursing pilot program will provide senior secondary students interested in pursuing a nursing career with an opportunity to gain practical experience in the field. For more information, see Press Release.
PD resources online in Victoria
PD Search is an online resource for professional development provided to teachers by the Department of Education and Training in Victoria. It includes an up-to-date lists of activities, programs and conferences provided by the Department, subject associations, cultural organisations, professional associations, schools and universities.
Victorian Government examines changes to Registered Schools Board
The Victorian Government is to improve the system for registration and review of non-government schools in Victoria. The Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky, has commissioned Professor Jim Falk to look at the current structure and functions of the Registered Schools Board of Victoria and propose improvements. See press release.
Kim Bannikoff to head Queensland Studies Authority
Mr Kim Bannikoff, who is currently the Director of the Office of School Education in the Department of Education and Training in Victoria, has been appointed Director of the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA). He is expected to start in the role by September. Mr Bannikoff has worked in the education and training sectors at both state and national levels for the past 32 years.
Program launched to involve ACT students in recycling
Australian Capital Territory Education Minister Katy Gallagher and Urban Services Minister Bill Wood have launched the Waste Wise School Program, designed to
Leaderships groups formed in Victoria
Four leadership groups have been formed in Victoria to help develop the Ministerial Statement that will outline the Victorian Government's Blueprint for Education for the next ten years. The groups' work will be structured in the following ways: School Improvement; Curriculum in Government Schools; Teacher Learning; and Excellence and Innovation. They will report back to the Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky, by the end of August. For further information, including the membership of the groups, see Education Times.
National safe schools framework established
Australian Education Ministers have all endorsed the National Safe Schools Framework for the improvement of safety in schools. The Framework includes a set of agreed principles for schools to follow in providing safe learning environments, and identifies strategies that schools can put in place to effectively prevent and respond to bullying, harassment, violence, and child abuse and neglect. The strategies are concerned with educating staff, students and parents/carers about the relevant issues, managing incidents of abuse or victimisation, and supporting students who have been affected by these behaviours. The Framework can be adapted by individual schools and systems to suit their local needs. Full report in School Insight
Parents warn on school-hours plan
A Commonwealth proposal to extend school hours has been criticised by Parents Victoria and the Australian Education Union. See Age report and commentary article.
Rate of teacher resignations rises in UK
The number of British teachers leaving the profession has doubled since the election of the Labour Government, according to education expert Alan Smithers. Reasons cited by teachers include the pressure of government reforms, workload and indiscipline. Departures were greatest in areas where shortages are already most severe, such as science and foreign language teaching. See BBC News report.
WA offers incentives to attract maths and science teachers
The Department of Education and Training in Western Australia has moved to recruit and retain more maths and science teachers within the state system, offering HECS reimbursements to beginning teachers of science and scholarships to final year teaching students in the physical sciences and mathematics. Scholarships will also be available to final year students in other areas of study with comparatively low numbers of candidates and graduates. For further information tel: 08 9264-4875.
CEO appointed to WA Curriculum Council
Norma Jeffery has been officially appointed CEO of the Western Australian Curriculum Council. Formerly acting CEO, she has held the positions of Deputy CEO and Director of Curriculum. Jeffery has also overseen the development of the Curriculum Framework for the State's K-12 education, and the Post-Compulsory Education Review.
Young Queenslanders get a start to learning or earning
The Queensland Government has announced grants totalling $6.47 million for communities participating in the 'learning or earning' reforms. The trial, which commences in July, will involve 23,000 students from 200 schools and 12 TAFE institutes. The grants will be used to create training, educational, employment and vocational programs for young people. For more information, see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
Student reports to detail national literacy and numeracy benchmarks (Qld)
Queensland Education Minister Anna Bligh has announced that student reports for Years 3, 5 and 7 Tests in Aspects of Literacy and Numeracy will contain information on students' achievements in relation to national benchmarks. The reports, which already allow students to be compared to their peers in Queensland, will now show how they compare to the nationally agreed standard. For more information, see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
National Awards for Quality Schooling
The Commowealth Department of Education, Science and Training is funding the National Awards for Quality Schooling. The awards total one million dollars, and will be bestowed on schools, teachers and school leaders for achievement in the following areas: literacy and numeracy; safe school environments; values education; and innovation in science, mathematics and technology. Closing date for applications is 31 July 2003. For more information, see National Awards for Quality Schooling.
Computer-based exams pass their VCE test (Vic)
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority will conduct a pilot project in which 300 Year 11 information technology and accounting students will take computer-based exams. An evaluation of the outcomes of the pilot could see computer-based testing extended to other subjects next year. For more information, see Education Times, 12 June 2003.
Drug education to be stepped up in schools
Readers of Curriculum Leadership will recall an item on the Commonwealth Department of Education, Science and Training's Resilience Education and Drug Information (REDI) website. Education Times reports that REDI resources, which include videos and CD-Roms, will soon be distributed to every school in Australia. The aims of the initiative are to endow young people with the skills, values and attributes which will allow them to make positive and heathly lifestyle choices. For more information, see Education Times, 12 June 2003.
Education bonanza in Manawatu, NZ
An influx of secondary and tertiary students into New Zealand has produced major economic and cultural benefits. International students added approximately $1.5 billion to the New Zealand economy in 2002, funding additional teaching positions and facilities. The foreign students enjoy a safe and low-cost environment, and help to increase understanding and tolerance. See report in the Manawatu Evening Standard (stuff.co.nz).
NZ pupil sets fire to teacher's hair
A Rotorua Girls High School pupil was suspended after setting her science teacher's hair on fire. According to union sources the incident shows the extent of bullying of teachers by pupils. See the Dominion Post report (stuff.co.nz).
NZ principals and ministry in pay standoff
New Zealand secondary school principals and the Education Ministry are continuing to negotiate over pay. Boards of trustees, who are responsible for hiring principals, have reported diminishing fields of applicants of the quality they wanted, according to Post Primary Teachers Association president Phil Smith. See report from INL newspapers (stuff.co.nz).
Victoria plans 'Credit Matrix' for qualifications
The Victorian Qualifications Authority is developing a 'Credit Matrix' that would assist students to gain recognition for prior achievement within any of the State's education and training qualifications. Recognising that study is increasingly tailored to meet individual needs, the system is designed to encourage further study by ensuring that results are easily transferable to new areas without the need for duplication of effort. It would not replace the Australian Qualifications Framework or challenge national consistency in recognition of qualifications. A consultation paper and other information is available from the VQA. See also the press release from the Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky.
PD targets chemistry decline in WA
A teacher training course in extractive metallurgy has been launched in Western Australia. A joint initiative between the Parker Centre and Murdoch University, the program is designed to address the steady decline in the study of chemistry at school and university. See also report in School Matters, 6 June 2003.
Council to fine-tune English Course (WA)
The Curriculum Council (WA) will refine the proposed English course of study for Years 11 and 12 after responses from 450 teachers and community members who were consulted on its development. While much of the response was positive, the Council has accepted the concerns of those who had some reservations about the English literature and English as a Second Language components of the course. The Council has responded with the intention to invite expert groups from those areas to provide advice and concept plans for the course of study. For more information, see School Matters, 6 June 2003.
New state testing program for SA primary students
From next year, South Australian secondary schools will receive the test results of students making the transition from primary school. The Minister for Education, Trish White, emphasised that the test results will better prepare teachers for the levels of skills and abilities from a prospective cohort of students. This will allow for improved tailoring of lessons and programs in order to meet students' needs. For more information, see the Minister's News Release.
Relience Education and Drug Information (REDI)
The Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) has created a new website called Resilience Education and Drug Information (REDI). It contains a comprehensive database of information about resources, policies and materials for drug education and incident management.
Rural Education Forum Australia
The newly formed Rural Education Forum Australia (REFA) will ensure that the unique educational concerns of regional and remote Australians have a united voice. It will represent a wide cross-section of the rural education community, including teachers, parents, education providers and associations. See report in AISQ Briefings, May 2003, p.2.
German pupils get longer day
An agreement between Germany's Federal and State Governments clears the way for an increase in school hours. The German school day, which starts at 8.00 am and ends at 1.00 pm, will soon finish at 4.00 pm in several thousand of Germany's 46,000 schools. The move comes after an international study of school standards by UNICEF in which Germany was ranked near the bottom. See the BBC report.
More teachers for Queensland state schools
In an ongoing effort to reduce class sizes, the Queensland Government has allocated an extra $246 million dollars to the education budget. It is expected that much of this money will be used to hire 636 teachers for the 2004 school year. Sixty teachers in the new intake will be employed to work with students with disabilities. For more information, see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
Increased demand on primary school teachers (Qld)
A survey of Catholic primary school teachers has found that many are not receiving compensation (time realease or remuneration) for the time they devote to school activities/duties outside of the classroom. These activities/duties include sports supervision and other coordination duties. The survey was conducted by the Queensland Independent Education Union, and is reproduced in The Independent Voice, May 2003.
House of Lords backs exclusion by teachers
A recent decision by the House of Lords has upheld the exclusion of a student from a school on the grounds that teachers' refusal to accept the student back was a legitimate use of their rights under British industrial relations law. The Queensland Teachers' Journal sees the connection between student behaviour and teachers' conditions of employment as a watershed, one which Australian jurisdictions would do well to note. For more information, see Queensland Teachers' Journal, 15 May 2003.
Helping former students stay On Track (Vic)
On Track is a new $4.8 million dollar initiative to help Years 10 and 12 students develop and maintain pathways from education to training and employment. Designed to complement Managed Individual Pathways (MIPs), On Track will monitor the progress of students after they leave school, and provide the basis for researching their progress in the five years after secondary study. For more information, see Education Times, 15 May 2003.
Australian Rugby National Education Program
EdRugby is a national education resource designed to promote rugby and its basic values in primary and secondary schools. Designed to coincide with the Rugby World Cup hosted by the Australian Rugby Union later this year, the program also has curriculum support materials available from EdRugby
VIT appoints council members
The Victorian Minister for Education, Lynne Kosky, has made the remaining eight appointments to the Victorian Institute of Education. The Intitute was established under the Victorian Institute of Teaching Act 2001, and is a representative, professional regulatory body for the teaching profession in Victoria. All teachers (Government, Catholic and Independent sectors) must be registered with VIT in order to work as such in Victoria. For more information, see AEU News, 24 April 2003, and the Victorian Institute of Teaching website.
Victorian school system faces reform
A report in the Herald Sun describes an imminent overhaul of the Victorian education system. The reforms will cover curriculum, school structures and budgets, staffing in schools and the Department's teaching and learning division, in a plan covering the next 10 years. Education Minister Lynne Kosky, said to be driving the reforms, is expected to announce the changes in the near future.
AEU elects new national leader
The Australian Education Union has elected Ms Pat Byrne as its new president. Ms Byrne, a former president of the AEU's Western Australian Branch, will replace Denis Fitzgerald who has accepted a senior position with the New South Wales Department of Education. For more information, see the Media Release 8 May 2003.
National Study (SA)
Approximately 50 South Australian preschool and primary students will participate in a trial to help determine the Australian Psychological benchmarks for the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (3rd edn). The test was developed in the United States, and is been adapted for the Australian context by the Psychological Corporation and Macquarie University. Eight hundred students across Australia will participate in the trial which ends in June. For more information, see Xpress, 1 May 2003.
Security boost (SA)
South Australian Schools will have 24-hour protection during the school holiday period. This high level of security is part of a government initiative to reduce vandalism and arson. High risk sites will receive special attention from police and other security personnel, and closed circuit television will also be used in some school grounds. For more information, see Xpress, 1 May 2003.
Brink Expedition website gives students an eye to world-wide adventure (Qld)
The Brink Expedition will travel 50,000 km around the world using human and natural power. The Brink Expedition website will host reports from members of the expedition, along with curriculum material developed by teachers and volunteers in conjunction with Education Queensland and the Brisbane Catholic Education Office. The expedition will be visiting areas of the world which have environmental and social significance, and the curriculum materials are designed to transform this adventure into an educational experience for students. For more information, see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
National Awards for Quality Schooling launched
The Commonwealth Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, has launched the National Awards for Quality Schooling (NAQS), designed to enhance the quality of teaching and schooling in Australia. For further details, access the website of the National Quality Schooling Framework.
New website for new teachers (WA)
The Western Australian Department of Education and Training website now hosts an Online Professional Support Program for graduate teachers and those returning to service. The initiative consists of a professional support network, a discussion group and a mentoring program. For more information, see School Matters, 11 April 2003 or visit the Professional Online Support Program.
School Volunteer Program lifts rural help (WA)
The School Volunteer Program in Western Australia has appointed a Rural Liaison Officer with the help of a grant from United Way. The new funding is expected to assist volunteer mentors in the North West region. The volunteers work with students who have difficulty coping at school and who are at risk of disengagement. The School Volunteer program has over 1,800 volunteer mentors in primary and secondary schools in Western Australia. For more information see School Matters, 11 April 2003.
SACE ceremony (SA)
South Australian Education Minister Trish White paid tribute to Indigenous students and their families for the increase in Indigenous student school retention rates. Sixty-two Indigenous students attained their South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) last year, the highest number since its introduction in 1992. Schools were also commended for their role in this achievement. For more information, see Xpress, 29 May 2003.
More NZ schools in firing line
Schools in New Zealand's south may face amalgamation or closure after Ministry of Education reviews. See INL Newspapers report.
Macquarie Business Mathematics Competition
The Macquarie Business Mathematics Competition is an innovative, online mathematics competition for senior secondary school students. Competition questions are scenario-based and have a strong business focus. The purposes of the competition are to introduce students to the exciting ways they can utilise their skills in mathematics and to increase their awareness of the application of mathematics in business and finance. Entry cost: $3.50. For full details, see the Macquarie Business Mathematics Competition website.
AEU to conduct class size audit (SA)
The Australian Education Union (SA Branch) has alerted its members that it will soon be conducting an audit of class sizes through its sub-branches. While the union congratulates the South Australian Government on its efforts to lower class sizes, it is sceptical of the use of averages, claiming that they may distort the actual numbers of students in each class. For more information, see AEU Journal (SA Branch), 14 May 2003.
Queensland schools get a share in the coal industry
The Queensland Education Minister, Anna Bligh, has announced that nine Queensland schools will participate in an exercise to give students 'real world' experience of the sharemarket. Macarthur Coal, an Australian resources company, has donated $18,000 worth of shares to selected schools, and will award a further $500 to the student who presents the best report on both their experiences at the company's annual general meeting and their understanding of the coal industry. The money will go towards that student's university fees. The exercise is expected to enhance the business studies courses at the nine schools, and dividends from the shares, which will be held in trust, will be reinvested in the company's shares. For more information, see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
On Track reveals students' future (Vic)
A press release by the Victorian Minister for Education and Training summarises some of the findings of the On Track initiative. On Track traces the career path of students after they leave secondary school, so as to inform government intiatives in schooling and employment. The results of the On Track survey showed that 83 per cent of Year 12 students in government schools in 2002, who applied for a tertiary place, received an offer from a university or TAFE college. A total of 61 per cent of surveyed government school students in Year 12 in 2002 were in tertiary education places in 2003, 25 per cent were working and 7 per cent had started an apprenticeship. A further 7 per cent were still looking for work.
Schools given SARS directive (WA)
Schools in Western Australia have been given a set of directives from the Department of Education and Training for dealing with the containment of the SARS virus. The directives require schools to keep a list of students and staff who have visited SARS infected countries, and to ensure that staff and students returning from those destinations do not attend school for an intervening period of ten days. Students are to be given lessons to do at home, and staff will be paid during their enforced absence. Schools are also reminded to check the Commonwealth Health Department website. For more information, see School Matters, 9 May 2003
Boost for remote pupils (WA)
A $10 million dollar program is funding the telecommunications upgrade of the homes of 510 remote students in Western Australia. The upgrades will allow these students to switch from the two-way radio format to digital and internet-based instruction, and will make available a broader range of subjects. Students in the Isolated and Distance Education program will be able to access digital resources, use the Internet and email, and participate in collaborative learning. For more information, see School Matters, 9 May 2003.
Govt encourages more girls to take up technology subjects (Qld)
Girls and ICTs Framework for Action has been launched by The Queensland government to encourage female students into information technology courses. The framework outlines strategies for encouraging female students into ICT subjects, and contains examples of successful initiatives. In 2002, female students made up only 22 per cent of the enrolment in a Year 12 technology subject. For more information, see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
New resource to help keep pregnant and parenting teens at school (Qld)
Education Queensland has adopted the resource Step by Step, Side by Side, developed by the Association of Women Educators. The publication provides advice to school communities on how to assist pregnant and parenting students with their education. It emphasises that inclusion and an atmosphere free of discrimination are crucial if parenting students are to be encouraged to complete their education. For more information, see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
ICT in Education Conference (Vic)
The ICT in Education Victoria 2003 State Conference will explore the issue of reinventing and reinvigorating the curriculum using ICTs. Teachers are encouraged to attend and share their experiences, and to collaborate on student-centred curriculum projects that use ICTs in engaging and innovative ways. For more information, visit the ICT in Education Victoria website.
Getting girls into IT: Victorian Government launches New Realities 2003
New Realities 2003 is an initiative of the Victorian Government aimed at encouraging young women to take up careers in IT. See the press release by Information and Communication Technology Minister Marsha Thomson.
New opportunities for retraining (NSW)
The New South Wales Teachers Federation is supporting the Department of Education and Training (NSW) in its provision of mathematics, technology and physics training to teachers. Teachers who successfully complete the courses will be guaranteed employment in some areas of New South Wales, particularly in western, south western and non-coastal rural areas of the State. Teachers who are seeking full time employment with the Department are encouraged to apply. For more information, see Education, 12 May 2003, or visit the Department of Education and Training website.
New eLearning network for Victoria
The Victorian Government is to establish a network to support technology companies involved in delivering education programs. More than 60 technology companies are expected to join the new Victorian eLearning Network. See the Minister's press release.
700 extra teachers and staff (Vic)
The Victorian Government will spend $82 million over four years to employ an extra 450 secondary school teachers. The additional funding is to help schools develop specialisations in areas such as the arts, music, science and technology, languages and sport. Primary schools will also, for the first time, have student welfare co-ordinators, as the result of a strategy to employ 256 welfare co-ordinators over four years. For more information, see Education Times, 15 May 2003.
CD-ROM for ESL students (Qld)
The Queensland Government has launched a CD-ROM which will improve the monitoring and mapping of ESL students' progress. The CD-ROM will replace the current paper-based system and contains bandscales which measure reading, speaking and listening ability in primary and secondary students. The CD-ROM will allow for the better monitoring of students as they move between schools, and also produce reports for teachers and parents. For more information, see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
Schools 'fail hepatitis C test'
The Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society at La Trobe University has released its findings on secondary teachers' knowledge of hepatitis C. The report found that teachers' knowledge of the disease was 'extremely poor', that they were not aware of the stigma attached to the disease and that they did not consider curriculum support materials or professional development on the subject a priority. Given secondary students' lack of awareness of the disease and how it is spread, the Centre considers school-based education about hepatitis C a priority. For more information see Western Teacher, 28 March 2003.
Government achieves smaller class sizes (SA)
The South Australian Minister for Education, Hon Trish White, has announced that the Reception to Year 2 class sizes in that State are now at an average of 20.4 students, and even lower in disadvantaged schools. The Minister sees this result as evidence that the government's $40 million dollar funding initiative (over four years) to provide primary schools with extra teachers is working. For more information see Minister's Releases on the Department of Education and Childrens' Services website.
Queensland Government delivers more computers into classrooms (Qld)
The Queensland Minister for Education, Anna Bligh, has announced that the Queensland Government will achieve the ratio of five students per computer in that State's schools. By the end of the first semester, those schools deemed to be 'priority schools' in last year's budget will have received 5000 computers, 2000 more than promised. In addition, of the 1600 classroom Internet connections promised over a three-year period since last year's budget, 730 will be achieved by June 2003. For more information see the Queensland Government Ministerial Media Statements.
Working Version Progress Maps (WA)
The Curriculum Council (WA) has made available Curriculum Framework Progress Maps on its website. The maps were developed by teachers and curriculum specialists to complement the Curriculum Framework, and allow teachers to trace the progress of students as they move through the outcomes in the Framework. For more information see Curriculum Council Update, April 2003.
Improved moderation strategies (WA)
The Curriculum Council's Post-compulsory Education Committee has approved new moderation strategies for 2003. Under the new regime the Subject/Learning Area seminars will replace District seminars, and Standards Assessment meetings will replace Consensus meetings. The changes will fulfil some of the requirements of the Our Youth, Our Future report. For more information see Curriculum Council Update, April 2003.
Computer Skills Assessment (NSW)
The New South Wales Department of Education and Training website has details of the Computer Skills Assessment (CSA6) program for Year 6 students. The Computer Skills Assessment program will assess the ICT knowledge and skills of Year 6 students to ensure that they satisfy Stage 3 requirements. The program will be conducted during May and June 2003.
State's class sizes hit record low (Vic)
According to the 2003 Government Primary School Class Size Data, Victorian Prep to Year 2 class sizes are now at an average of 21 students. This compares favourably with an average of 24.3 in 1999. The average class size for Victorian primary schools has also fallen, from 26 to 22.9. For more information see Education Times, 1 May, 2003.
Maternity leave provision (ACT)
The ACT Teacher reports that ACT teachers will receive an additional two weeks of maternity leave entitlement regardless of the expiration of their current Certified Agreement. Teachers who commenced maternity leave on or after 11 March 2003 will be entitled to the extra period, which was afforded to all female ACT public service employees. For more information, see The ACT Teacher, May 2003.
Calls for emergency protection of Iraq's cultural treasures
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has held an emergency meeting to discuss measures to preserve what remains of Iraq's cultural heritage after the recent burning and looting of the National Museum of Antiquities and the National Library and Archives. For details and further links, see the inCite report.
2003 ACT Training Excellence Awards
The ACT Vocational Education and Training Authority will host the 2003 ACT Training Excellence Awards on Thursday 4 September. The awards, which cover 18 categories, recognise the work of employers, trainers, students, industry associations and other organisations in the area of vocational education. Nominations close Friday 30 May.
Guide on Child Safety
An updated guide on child safety has been distributed to all Year 7 students in South Australia. The handbook, published by South Australian Police Legacy, instructs children and their parents on how to prevent harmful and dangerous situations from occurring, whether they be at home, in public or on the roads. See Xpress, April 10, 2003, page 7.
Leaders' Forum (SA)
The first of six meetings between the chief executive officer of the South Australian Department for Education and Children's Services and 27 principals and preschool directors was held in March. The forums, an initiative of chief executive Steve Marshall, enable school leaders to have input into shaping the Department's priorities. The 27 principals and preschool directors are representatives of the school districts in South Australia. See Xpress, April 10, 2003, page 2.
Education and training leaders start planning for Smart State reforms (Qld)
The Queensland Government's 'learning or earning' reforms will come into effect in 2006, at which time every young person of school age will have to be either enrolled in school or in a training program, or be employed. One of the ways to ensure that the reforms succeed is to develop school-to-work pathways for students. These pathways will be trialled by 2300 Year 10 students enrolled in schools and TAFE institutes across Queensland. A forum to give trial leaders an opportuinity to begin planning and networking was held in South Brisbane in April.
$18 million to boost learning beyond the classroom (Vic)
The Stategic Partnerships program, which allows Victorian schools to form partnerships with cultural, community and teacher organisations in order to facilitate real-life experiences in the curriculum, will receive an additional $18 million in funding. The additional funding was announced by Victorian Education Minister Lynne Kosky, and is in recognition of the important role played by museums, art galleries and other community organisations in developing education programs and materials for students.
Funding to 'green' South Australian schools
The South Australian Minister for Education, Trish White, has announced a $1 million program to promote environmental consciousness in government schools and preschools. The program will see 38 schools receive grants to support projects which conserve water and energy, encourage recycling and help students learn about their local environments.
New Secretary for the Department of Education and Training in Victoria
Grant Hehir has been appointed Secretary of the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
Teachers' development crucial, says union (Tas)
The Tasmanian branch of the Australian Education Union is conducting a work study of Tasmanian teachers in 2003. The study will examine the workload of teachers and opportunities for professional development. It will be conducted in partnership with the University of Tasmania. For more information see The Mercury, 26 March 2003.
Review of Gender Equity Framework
A review of Gender Equity: A framework for Australian Schools has been approved by the MCEETYA Taskforce on Targeted Initiatives of National Significance. The process is expected to be completed by July 2004. For more information see AISQ Briefing, March 2003.
Australia's first science and mathematics school opens
The South Australian Minister for Education, Hon. Trish White, has officially opened the Australian Science and Mathematics School (ASMS) at Flinders University. ASMS is for Years 10, 11 and 12 students who demonstrate a 'passion' for mathematics and science, and it is aiming to have an enrolment of 450 students by 2005. Its affiliation with Flinders University would enable it to faciliate higher level learning in mathematics and science for those who choose to do that, and it will also assist South Australian teachers with professional development in those disciplines. For more information see the media release on the Government of South Australia website.
2003 Victorian Training Awards
The McDonalds VET in Schools Excellence Award recognises outstanding achievement in the delivery of vocational education and training in schools. It is open to schools, school clusters, training providers, communities and employers. The winner of the award receives $10,000 towards their VET programs, and will be the Victorian representative in the Australian Training Awards. Applications close 2 May 2003. For further information see Education Times
Principals' selection procedures review underway (ACT)
A joint working party made up of AEU and the Department of Education Youth and Family Services representatives has been set up to review the selection procedures for principals in the ACT. The working party reports to a reference group made up of the various stakeholders. Some of the stated aims of the process are to provide a transparent policy framework, to creat confidence in the selection process, to be responsive to the changing role of the principal, and to provide leadership development. For more information see ACT Teacher.
Commission rejects Catholic school teacher plan
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has refused the New South Wales Catholic Education Office an exemption from the provisions of the Sex Discrimination Act (1984) to discriminate in favour of male students when awarding teaching education scholarships. The Catholic Education Office was of the view that discriminating in favour of male candidates would help to redress the teacher gender imbalance in primary schools. The Commission found, however, that the Catholic Education Office had not demonstrated that other less discriminatory means would not achieve the same outcomes, for example, raising the status of the profession in general or offering an equal number of scholarships for both male and female applicants. For more information see Queensland Teachers Journal, 20 March 2003.
ACT Government Safety First Project
The Department of Education, Youth and Family Services (ACT) has signed up to the ACT Safety First Project, the new Occupational Health and Safety strategy launched by the ACT Government. Both the Department and schools will be expected to work towards Occupational Health and Safety standards, which are aimed at developing a culture that values safe work environments.
CopyrightAware is a new website designed for Australian schools. It contains news and resources summarising copyright law for principals, teachers, librarians and students.
New NSW Minister for Education and Training
Deputy Premier Dr Andrew Refshauge has been appointed as Minister for Education and Training in the re-elected Carr Government, succeeding John Watkins.
Clearing the Air
Clearing the Air is a brochure to help parents and teachers broach the issue of smoking with young people. It has been produced by the Smarter than Smoking Project and contains information on why children try smoking and what can be done to prevent them from starting. Clearing the Air was distributed to all Western Australian schools in March 2003.
School councils (WA)
School councils in Western Australia are reminded in the latest edition of School Matters to bring their composition and procedures into line with the relevant sections of the School Education Act 1999 and the School Education Regulations 2000. The article lists the relevant sections of the regulatory framework which School councils need to address before July 2003.
Women targeted for senior roles (Vic.)
The Victorian Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky, has launched the Julia Flynn scholarships. The scholarships are for preparing women for leadership roles in the education sector, a sector in which women preponderate, but are under represented in leadership roles.
Diabetes kits for schools
The Commonwealth Department of Health and Ageing has funded the International Diabetes Institute to develop an educational resource to combat the incidence of Type 2 diabetes in children. The kits are free-of-charge to all primary schools and become available in May. For more information contact the International Diabetes Institute: http://www.diabetes.com.au
The Department of Education and Children's Services (SA) has launched the report Gambling education: some strategies for South Australian schools. The report documents available curriculum resources, nationally and internationally, that can be used in an education program, and contains recommendations for prevention and early intervention strategies.
$12m safety boost for South Australian schools
The South Australian Government has announced a $12m upgrade of school facilities to bring them into line with occupational health and safety guidelines. The Department of Education and Children's Services will oversee the projects so as not to impose on the time of principals and other school leaders.
2003 Skill centres for schools program (SA)
The skill centre advisory panel of the Office of Vocational Education and Training (SA) has requested expressions of interest from schools in the outlying regions for ANTA funding, which can be used to assist the development of VET programs. Approximately $400,000 is available for programs in 2003.
Check on Islamic schools
The Age (28 March 2003, page 1) reports that Federal Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, has asked State Ministers of Education to ensure that Islamic schools in Australia are not instilling anti-Western or anti-Christian attitudes in their students.
Teaching about the war
The online edition of the US-based Rethinking Schools journal has produced a special collection of material on the war in Iraq.
Performance-linked pay pursued in Japan
With the exception of certain prefectures, the employment of Japanese teachers is not structured by promotional pay scales or other rewards for teacher quality. The Japanese Ministry of Education has commissioned 13 prefectures to propose ways in which teacher quality can be recognised, evaluated and remunerated. The new national performance-based pay regime is expected to be in place by 2007.
Overseas student numbers boom (Vic.)
Victoria now has more than 2300 fee paying overseas students enrolled in its schools; 90 per cent in Years 11 and 12. According to a national survey, Victoria has 31 per cent of all overseas students studying in Australia, a proportion which adds over one billion dollars to that State's economy annually.
The International Learning Quest Challenge
The International Learning Quest Challenge invites teachers and students to develop a web page or website
Program entices Indigenous students back to school to complete Year 12
The Annexe program, which assists 'at risk' Indigenous youth back to school and with completing Year 12, has received a favourable review and evaluation report. The program, which began in 1999, involves schools and community organisations in the Cherbourg and Murgon areas working together to create supportive environments in which Indigenous students can complete their education.
Retention soars to new heights in Victoria
The Australian Bureau of Statistics' Schools Australia 2002 report demonstrated that more than 80 per cent of Victorian students were now choosing to stay at school. Victoria's Years 7 to 12 retention rates improved from 76.2 per cent in 1999 to 80.9 per cent in 2002. Its Years 10 to 12 rate increased from 78.7 per cent to 82.9 per cent in the same period.
WA College of Teaching to be established
A College of Teaching is to be established in Western Australia, with a focus on professional development of teachers, and raising the status of the profession. Government and non-government teachers will be
Union resolution opposes Iraq war
The Australian Education Union Federal Conference in January unanimously carried a resolution opposing war in Iraq. The decision has been reported in Education and a range of other union journals (see Periodical title list)
Jump in NSW teaching applications
The year 2003 has seen a record number of Higher School Certificate students in New South Wales apply to become teachers.
Queensland teachers strike
Members of the Queensland Teachers' Union have defied the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission by continuing strike action over pay and conditions.
Plan to help get casual teachers
The New South Wales Government has announced a new plan to fill casual teaching placements in its primary and secondary schools. Among other measures, a call centre with access to a central database of casual teachers will be the first point of contact for any school in need of relief teaching, primary schools in 'difficult-to-staff' areas will have a pool of permanent teachers allocated to their area, and retiring teachers will be encouraged to register as casual teachers.
Students prepare for Ella
New South Wales' Years 7 and 8 students will take the English and Literacy Assessment (Ella) annual test later this month. The evaluation is used to gauge language and literacy skills in those students making the transition from primary to secondary school. Past results have helped in the identification of literacy problems, which has led to improvements over time. Results will be available at the beginning of second term.
Extra help on hand
South Australia's most disadvantaged schools will receive a greater time allocation for their School Services Officer. According to the Minister for Education and Children's Services, Trish White, improving the literacy and numeracy skills of students in disadvantaged schools will prevent other, associated problems from inhibiting their future learning.
Guide to taking the witness stand
Appearing as a witness in court: A manual for employees of the Department of Education and Training WA, by Emma Ganderton, has been distributed to all district offices in Western Australia. Extracts
New national guidelines for school apprenticeships
New national guidelines to support the expected increase in school based New Apprenticeships are due to appear in April.
AEShareNet offers help on copyright
AEShareNet, established by the Australian Ministers of Education and Training, helps to streamline the licensing of intellectual property and offers information on intellectual property management in vocational education and training.
Participation in the Le@rning Federation expert focus and user groups
The Le@rning Federation: Schools Online Curriculum Content Initiative is a national schools project initiated by the Commonwealth, State and Territory, and New Zealand Governments. Its goal is to collaboratively develop and provide to the Australian schools sector (K-10) a continuing supply of high quality digital educational content in the priority curriculum areas of Science, Mathematics and Numeracy, Studies of Australia, Literacy, Innovation, Enterprise and Creativity, and LOTE (Chinese, Indonesian and Japanese).
Network development to become VELC focus for 2003
The Victorian Educational Leadership Consortium will have as its focus for 2003 the development of a statewide professional development network for educational leadership. The consortium was established by the AEU in 2002, and, this year, it will be working with Deakin University to develop and promote its leadership programs. These programs seek to identify and offer professional development to aspiring leaders, some of whom may wish to pursue careers as principals.
Our global reach
South Australia has accepted international students of primary age for the first time this year. Education Minister Trish White announced that 15 students from Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan were enrolled to start Term 1, bringing the total number of international students enrolled in South Australian schools to 600.
Australian Scholarships Group National Excellence in Teaching Awards
The Commonwealth Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, will present the Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTAs) to 32 teachers in Melbourne on 16 May. The 32 teachers include 5 early childhood teachers, 15 primary teachers and 12 secondary teachers from all States and Territories, and are currently being selected by a National panel from teachers shortlisted at last year's Regional Award ceremonies held in mainland capital cities. The Foundation honoured 100 teachers at these ceremonies, who were selected from 2,646 nominations received from School Councils, parent bodies, parents and secondary students. Short-listed teachers were each invited to submit 2000 word essays on their teaching practice, which are currently being reviewed by an independent panel to select national awardees.
National poll of Year 11 students
The results of a national on-line poll of Year 11 students has been released. The survey, initiated by Senator Lyn Allison and supported by the Commonwealth Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, asked students about their schools, teachers and curriculum. The survey found that students rated environmental protection as the most important issue, but two thirds of the sample did not agree that they had learned a lot about Australian politics. Responses about the quality of sex education were uneven. Students appeared critical of the school-based careers counselling, and criticised the quality of canteen food. See the summary of the report in Public Education Voice November 2003.
Teacher scholarships up for grabs (WA)
The Department of Education and Training, Western Australia, is offering more than 100 scholarships to students in their final year of study in 2004. Students who will graduate with teaching qualifications in Japanese, home economics, mathematics, physical science, Indonesian and special needs education, as well as male students who are training as primary school teachers, are encouraged to apply. For more information visit the Department of Education and Training website, or see School Matters, 24 October 2003.
Early childhood inquiry to push national agenda
The Australian Education Union (AEU) has announced that it will sponsor a national inquiry into access to, and provision of, preschool education. Education researcher Kathy Walker, of RMIT University, will lead the inquiry. The heightened profile of early childhood education, the desire for a national approach to early learning and its recent elevation to the national agenda by the Ministerial Council for Education, Employment and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) have increased the need for informed policy in this area. The terms of reference for the inquiry include examining access to preschool education; ascertaining the barriers to access to preschool education; and determing the roles the Commonwealth, States and Territories should have early childhood education. For more information see National Preschool Education Inquiry, and Education: Journal of the New South Wales Teachers Federation, 27 October 2003.
Plan for achievement (WA)
School Matters reports that the Director General of the Department of Education and Training, Western Australia, has released the Department's Plan for Government Schools 2004-2007. The plan, which will provide the strategic blueprint for government schools in Western Australia over the next four years, has student achievement and reducing the achievement gap between Indigenous and non-Indigneous students as two of its main aims. The key principles of the plan are: to provide a flexible approach to learning and teaching; to promote professional development; to ensure that schools support the learning, physical, behavioural and emotional needs of students; and to provide organsational support for schools' work. For more information see Plan for Government Schools 2004-2007, and School Matters, 24 October 2003.
United Nations endorses e-schools initiative
The United Nations Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) Task Force has endorsed its Global e-School and Community Initiative. Computer and television services are to deliver teacher training materials and provide online search facilities to schools and communities in remote locations in developing countries. See United Nation's media release.
Syllabus Development Years 7 to 10 (New South Wales)
The final version of the Years 7 to 10 English and Mathematics syllabuses, which will be implemented in Years 7 and 8 in 2004, are now available on the Board of Studies (New South Wales) website.
ACT Assessment Program Statistical Report 2002
The Department of Education, Youth and Family Services (ACT) has released the ACT Assessment Program Statistical Report 2002. The report, which is used in curriculum and pedagogical development, matches Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 student performances against expected literacy and numeracy outcomes for the ACT. Individual student reports were avaible to parents, and school principals were also furnished with a report on their school's performance.
Northern Territory teacher recruitment campaign pays off
Schools in the Northern Territory have filled almost all vacancies this year, after the Territory Government's extensive recruitment campaign. Three hundred and sixty-nine teachers had been recruited from other Australian jurisdictions, and seven from overseas. The Government will now focus on overcoming problems in retention: last year 524 teachers were recruited, but 358 left their positions. See report in Northern Territory News (news.com.au), 30 Janurary 2004.
French parliament bans headscarves at school
The French National Assembly has approved a ban on the wearing of headscarves by school students. While the ban also applies to some other religious symbols, the Muslim headscarf has been a focal point in the debate. Some Muslim girls have already been excluded from French public schools for their insistence on wearing the covering, and could now face sanctions under the new laws, including temporary suspension or expulsion. See
Prime Minister queries values of public schools
Parents are transferring their children from government to private schools because the state system is "too politically correct and too values-neutral", according to Prime Minister John Howard. See report in The Age, 20 January, and selected articles in The Sydney Morning Herald, 21 January, The Age, 22 January, and
Catholic educators renew push for male-only teaching scholarships
Catholic educators are continuing to push for male-only scholarships in primary teaching, to encourgage more men into the profession. The plan requires an exemption under the Sex Discrimination Act, but this move was rejected last year by the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC). The Sydney Catholic Education Office has announced an appeal against the HREOC decision, which will be heard in April. See
NZ school heads fear failure anomalies
Results from New Zealand's new assessment system, the National Certificate in Educational Achievement (NCEA), will be flawed unless strict guidelines are set, according to a group of secondary principals. The principals were responding to suggestions that test results of failed students may not be consistently included in the internal assessment component of the NCEA. See article, 20 January 2004 in The Daily News (stuff.co.nz).
Schools tables in WA
Paul Albert, Director-General of the Department of Education and Training in Western Australia, has expressed concern at the conclusions drawn in newspaper reports that rank the performance of the State's government and private schools into 'league tables'. Mr Albert points out that subtle changes in ranking criteria result in very different rankings. See School Matters 6 February 2004 p.3.
Smart art strategy (SA)
The South Australian Government has announced its funding for that State's new ArtSmart initiative. The initiatve, aimed at promoting art in schools, will receive $720,000 over three years, and will build partnerships between artists, students, teachers and arts organisations. More specifically, it will fund art education networks, the promotion of art learning and professional development, and establish cluster schools around the aims of the initiative in socially disadvantaged areas. For more information see Xpress, 27 November 2003.
Study finds that school web access falls short of kids' expectations in USA
A new survey in the United States shows that students with home internet access are becoming increasingly disappointed with their online experience at school. While students complain of having 'too little time online' in their schools, the study report also raises concerns about educators' ability to integrate technology into instruction. See article in e-School News. (free registration required).
Prevention program (SA)
A crime prevention program will be introduced into the curriculum for South Australian upper primary school students in 2004. The Years 6 and 7 program will include units on bullying, harassment, assault, stealing, malicious damage and on how to avoid becoming involved in crime. For more information see Xpress, 13 November 2003.
The facts on Reading Recovery (Vic)
The Victorian Department of Education and Training's Reading Recovery program operates across the State's primary schools. It is designed to assist students who experience difficulties with reading and writing, and involves trained literacy teachers working with those students. For more information on the Reading Recovery program see Education Times, 6 November 2003.
Crackdown on VCE exam cheats (Vic)
The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority introduced new regulations to deter cheating in Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) examinations. The regulations include tighter security measures, and penalties which range from reprimands to cancellation of all VCE grades. For more information see Education Times, 6 November 2003.
New literacy and numeracy guidelines in ACT
The ACT Government has released a series of guidelines for schools, which will be applicable over the next two years. The guidelines include new literacy and numeracy objectives, and strategies for their implementation. The ACT Opposition has called for an annual review of the literacy and numeracy plan. See ABC News report.
NSW teachers consider strike action
The New South Wales Teachers Federation has urged public school teachers across the State to strike for 48-hours in February, in support of pay demands currently before the Industrial Relations Commission (IRC). For more information see report in the Sydney Morning Herald
Cairns School Of Distance Education the lastest to move to teleconferencing
Cairns School Of Distance Education will switch to telephone teaching from the start of next year as part of a State Government program to progressively convert all Queensland schools of distance education to the new technology. The State Government has committed approximately $150,000 to equip the school with a state-of-the-art teleconferencing system for the start of the 2004 school year. The new technology will provide high quality voice communications, which are unaffected by atmospheric conditions, leading to more efficient delivery of lessons and improved education outcomes. See Ministerial Media Statement 28 November 2003.
Steep rises for private school fees
New fee schedules released by independent schools indicate rises of up to 7.4%, despite increased Commonwealth funding. Factors contributing to the rise include higher insurance premiums, increased salaries and an expanding curriculum. See article in The Age.
New Zealand schoolgirl suffers cyber bullying
A New Zealand schoolgirl has been the victim of public abuse via a website set up by a classmate. The website was constructed following a schoolyard argument between the two girls, and attracted abusive postings from other students, as well as from outsiders unknown to the girls involved. New Zealand's Internet Safety Group describes cyber bullying as a growing problem. See articles in the The Dominion Post (stuff.co.nz) and Sydney Morning Herald.
Special hotline (SA)
Parents of students with disabilities and learning difficulties will now be able to access a hotline for information, or to deal with problems in their children's education. The hotline will be staffed by members of the Department of Education and Children's Services (SA) Learning Difficulties Support Team, and will provide advice to parents on how to raise their concerns, and plan for their children's educational needs, with schools. For more information visit the Department of Education and Children's Services website, and see Xpress, 30 October 2003.
Action on retention (SA)
The South Australian Government has increased its emphasis on school retention rates, with the announcement of a $28 million dollar plan to increase the number of students completing Year 12. Currently, only 56 per cent of students who start Year 7 complete Year 12. Among the initiatives in the plan are the following: help for young offenders and students who are frequently excluded from school, with the establishment of a mobile team of teachers, youth workers and mental health workers; areas with the worst retention rates to receive funding to help with partnership initiatives between schools and local community groups and businesses; recognition of learning that occurs outside of school, such as in volunteer organisations; student-run forums to investigate ways to make school more engaging for students; and summer holiday mentoring programs for some Indigenous students studying in the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) program. For more information see Xpress, 30 October 2003.
NSW introduces e-learning system
The New South Wales Department of Education and Training has introduced an $84 million e-learning system, providing 750,000 public school students and 51,000 teachers with their own e-mail addresses. See report from ZDNet Australia, 19 March 2004.
Website for curriculum debate launched in New Zealand
An interactive online community, giving teachers and educators throughout New Zealand the opportunity to discuss, debate and update the school curriculum, has been launched by Education Minister Trevor Mallard. See media release, 31 March 2004 (scoop.co.nz).
Japanese teachers punished as part of patriotism dispute
In an intensifying dispute over patriotism in Japan's public schools, Tokyo's school board has punished almost 200 teachers who refused to stand and sing the national anthem at graduation ceremonies. See report in The Australian, 1 April 2004.
New schooling strategy to lift student achievement (NZ)
The New Zealand Education Minister, Trevor Mallard, has released Making a Bigger Difference for All Students, a discussion paper on a new schooling strategy, for consultation. All interested parties are encouraged to make a submission regarding the document before the end of May 2004. A draft strategy will be prepared in mid 2004, leading to the publication of the final document in early 2005. For more information see NZEI Rou Rou, 26 February 2004.
$18 million boost for middle years teaching (Vic)
Victorian Education Minister Lynne Kosky has announced the $18 million second stage of the Schools for Innovation and Excellence program. The program is designed to facilitate and encourage collaboration between schools, so that educators can share their expertise and best practice. This stage of the program will see an addition of 90 school clusters to the existing 70 clusters, founded during the first stage of the program. For more information see Education Times, 26 February 2004.
Expert calls for revival of English to engage with Asia
Australia needs to re-engage with Asia by reforming English literacy, according to Joseph Lo Bianco, author of the 1987 national languages policy and head of Language Australia. He has described English as 'a great language of our region', with official or semi-official status in many Asian nations. He also advocates that Australian schools should teach Asian and other global varieties of the English language. See report in The Australian March 22, 2004.
National review of school music education
The Australian Government has announced that it will commission a national Review of School Music Education to investigate the quality and status of music education in schools. Key organisations from the music and education sectors will soon be invited to join the committee and to participate in the Review. See Ministerial media release.
ACS National Innovation in School Career Programs Award
The Australian Careers Service (ACS) National Innovation in School Careers Programs Award is now open. The Award is for programs run in the 2003 school year. The Award is open to all government, independent, Catholic and other denominational schools in Australia, and to those school clusters offering a coordinated careers program across all cluster members. Nominations close at 5:00pm (ESST) on Friday, March 12 2004. The ACS Award is sponsored by the Minister for Education, Science and Training. Application details are available from the Australian Careers Service.
Australian Rural Education Award
Applications for the 2004 Australian Rural Education Award close on 2 April 2004. Your school may have developed a long term environmental program or a school based enterprise. If your project is addressing the positive qualities of rural education in a practical way, you will be eligible for consideration for the award. Contact The Society for the Provision of Education in Rural Australia (SPERA). SPERA is seeking applications from within and beyond the traditional education systems of school, TAFE, university and adult education. SPERA is interested in hearing from individuals, local government, community service organisations, industry, ethnic or Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander groups.
New study to track Victorian student's progress after they leave school
The Victorian Government has launched a new study to track students' progress five years after they leave school. The study is part of the On Track survey, now in its second year of operation. More than 48,000 students who completed Year 12 in 2003 are being invited to take part in On Track this year. The survey will provide a picture of longer term trends, as well identify the challenges that students face once they leave secondary school. The study will survey a total of 3000 school leavers from 2004 to 2008. See Ministerial Media Statement.
OECD praises Australian vocational and career guidance programs in schools
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in its report Career Guidance and Public Policy: Bridging the Gap, has complimented Australia on its vocational education in schools programmes and career advice services for young Australians. The national career information service, myfuture.edu.au was praised as a world-leading innovation. Myfuture.edu.au is an interactive online career information service which lists details of more than 600 occupations. See Ministerial Media Release, 16 February 2004.
Input to Schooling strategy sought in New Zealand
New Zealand Education Minister Trevor Mallard has released a Schooling Strategy discussion document - Making a Bigger Difference for All Students - and is encouraging feedback between now and the end of May. The discussion document is the first step towards developing a schooling strategy. Once finalised, the Schooling Strategy will set priorities for action over the next five years. See Ministerial Media Statement, 23 February 2004.
Victorian teachers likely to strike over pay
Up to 35,000 Victorian State primary and secondary teachers will strike for 24 hours on Wednesday next week, and are likely to be joined by 16,000 teachers in the Catholic school sector, in a pay dispute supported by the Australian Education Union and the Victorian Independent Education Union. The State Government's demand that teachers cut their annual leave by a week in exchange for a pay rise has been rejected by the AEU. See
The Net works
A successful website created for Vaucluse Public School, New South Wales, has now been used to create a template for the building of websites at other schools. The Windows-based S'Cool WebKit is being offered to technology advisers in district offices of the Department of Education and Training, and is being trialled at four Sydney schools. See report in Inform, December 2003.
Moratorium on new school network reviews in New Zealand
Education Minister Trevor Mallard has announced that a moratorium on new school network reviews would be put in place for the next five years. The exceptions will be where concerns about educational quality are raised as a result of adverse Education Review Office (ERO) reports, or where two or more schools ask to be reviewed, and apply for a change in structure. Reviews potentially involve closures or mergers. See Ministerial Media Statement, 23 February and report by xtramsn, 24 February 2004.
Children in England likely to study non-religious beliefs
Humanism, atheism and other non-religious beliefs would be taught alongside major faiths such as Christianity, under new proposals from Britain's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, which regulates what is taught in schools in England. See report in The Observer, 15 February 2004.
New website in UK encourages international links between schools
Britain's Department for Education and Skills has initiated the creation of a website that will assist British schools to link to others worldwide. The Global Gateway will allow schools to set up video conferences, live Internet links and email. It is hoped that the project will encourage international teacher exchanges.
Major school building development project in England
The British Government has unveiled a multi-billion dollar plan to rebuild or refurbish every secondary school in England within 15 years. The Building Schools for the Future scheme will involve a series of radical designs by some of Britain's top architects. See article in The Guardian Unlimited, 13 February 2004 and background details from Teachernet.
Controversy over evolution and the curriculum in USA
A plan to delete the word 'evolution' from the science curriculum in Georgia, USA, has been rejected. The failed proposal has, however, stirred some legislators to propose new rules on how the state decides what to teach in schools. See report by Associated Press, 9 February 2004, and articles in the Atlanta Journal-Constitition of January 29 and 12 February, 2004. A proposal to introduce the concept of Intelligent Design into the Ohio school curriculum is reported in The Plain Dealer, 11 February 2004.
Crackdown on bad behaviour in WA schools
Education and Training Minister Alan Carpenter has announced a State-wide crackdown to improve student attendance and behaviour in Government schools. The Department of Education and Training will develop a system-wide student 'leave pass' to enable schools and police to better manage truancy. An expanded Behaviour Management and Discipline Strategy, which will see up to 200 primary schools and an additional 30 secondary schools have access to $25.5million worth of financial resources to manage students with behavioural issues, was part of the announcement. See Ministerial media release, 2 February 2004.
Internet-based early literacy program in US gathers praise
A new phonics and computer-based early literacy program in the United States, called Headsprout, monitors every mouse click a student takes, and adjusts lessons based on performance. The product comes from a Seattle-based company of the same name, and is delivered over the Internet. See article in the Philadelphia Inquirer 11 January 2004.
US study links student obesity to disability in later life
An obesity epidemic has caused disability rates to rise sharply in the last two decades among Americans younger than 60, according to a new study by RAND Corporation researchers.
New guidelines in Queensland for schools to manage student use of mobile phones
Guidelines on the appropriate use of mobile phones by students are to be distributed to all Queensland State schools. Schools are advised to ban students from using mobile phones with cameras in change rooms, and to discipline students caught using them to bully others or to cheat in exams. Education Minister Anna Bligh said the guidelines alerted schools to the potential misuse of mobile phones, and to action that could be taken to prevent them becoming a nuisance. See Ministerial media release, 28 April 2004. (registration required)
New financial literacy program in USA
The American Financial Services Association's Education Foundation has released curriculum to help high school students understand personal finance. See report in the Hillsboro Arugus, 27 April 2004 (oregonlive.com)
Primary teachers in Canada to launch body image curriculum
To coincide with International No Diet Day on 6 May, the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), in Canada, is launching Reflections of Me: The ETFO Body Image Project. The project provides a comprehensive, grade 1-8, research-based, body-image curriculum. The package also includes a video and a brochure for parents. See media release through Canada News Wire, 28 April 2004.
WA union concerned Labor plan undermines female teachers
Western Australia's State School Teachers Union is concerned a Federal Opposition plan to increase the number of male teachers could undermine the work of their female counterparts. See report from ABC News Online, 29 April 2004.
Additional teacher PD in New South Wales
The New South Wales Government has allocated $144 million towards improving teachers' professional training and development. Schools will be expected to provide professional learning programs in: support for beginning teachers; use of ICT for teaching and learning; literacy; numeracy; quality teaching; syllabus implementation; career development; welfare; and equity. Rural teachers will receive increased funding to facilitate access to professional learning. A new Professional Learning Policy for Schools has also been developed, with guidelines on how schools must manage and account for the new funding.
Responses to the planned NIQTSL
The Australian Council of Deans of Education has welcomed with 'cautious optimism' the formation of the planned National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership. However, an article in the Education Review April 2004 notes a range of criticisms of the plan. It reports that a spokesman for the New South Wales Minister of Education has criticised the plan for the Institute as 'cobbled together', and that it has also been criticised by the New South Wales Teacher Education Council and the New South Wales Teachers Federation.
Blueprint for e-assessment delivery in Britain
Ken Boston, the Chief Executive of the UK Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, has called for a five-year strategic blueprint for the national delivery of electronic assessment.
Talking About Touching
The Committee for Children in the USA has produced a revised version of its Talking About Touching program. The program is a research-based, personal safety curriculum that teaches skills for sexual abuse prevention, as well as lessons on traffic, fire, and other hazards.
Selling science to the USA (SA)
The Real Science Kits, developed by the Department of Education and Children's Services, have proved to be very popular in the United States. Over 80,000 kits have been sold, and another 100,000 are expected to be exported to that country later this year. The kits include a teacher's book, and cover topics such as Weather and Climate, Forms of Energy, Force and Motion and The Human Body. The commercial success of the kits has allowed the Department to create better priced resources for South Australian Schools. For more information see Xpress, 25 March 2004.
Package released (WA)
The Reflective Teacher: using active learning to improve teaching has been distributed to all Western Australian schools. The package is part of the Quality Teacher Program, which seeks to improve teachers' pedagogical practice through active learning. Teachers will find the package useful in their implementation of the Curriculum Framework and for their professional development. For more information see School Matters, 19 March 2004.
UK teachers act against racism
The National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers in Britain is considering how to defend itself from infiltration by members of 'racist and fascist' organisations. Delegates at the NASUWT teachers' conference voted to explore a rule change to allow it to exclude members of organisations such as the British National Party. Some teachers also spoke of racist behaviour among their pupils, echoing concerns raised at the National Union of Teachers' conference over Easter about children being recruited outside school gates. See BBC report, 13 April 2004. See also article in The Scotsman, 28 April 2004.
New website addresses national skills shortages
The National Skills Shortages Strategy is a new co-operative and comprehensive approach to addressing current and future skill needs of industry, particularly in the traditional trades.
Commonwealth Bank Foundation e-Learning Grants
The Commonwealth Bank Foundation is inviting Australian primary schools to apply for a $5,000 e-learning grant in conjunction with National Literacy and Numeracy Week 2004. Seventy (70) grants are available across Australia. For more information see the Commonwealth Bank website.
Opposition to US school law growing, says poll
American voters are becoming increasingly aware of the No Child Left Behind Act, the centre piece of school legislation in the United States. However, a growing minority of voters are expressing opposition to the law, according to a new poll sponsored by the Public Education Network and Education Week 7 April 2004. (free registration required).
New student competition launched by ACTU
The Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) has launched a national student competition - Investigating Wages and Working Conditions. Students are asked to select a job and investigate the wages and conditions that would apply to first year workers. See details on the ACTU's Worksite for schools.
US rural education journal goes free online
Full text articles from the United States-based Journal of Research in Rural Education (JRRE) are now available online. (from Rural E-News. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Victorian government intends to increase checks on private schools
Victorian Education Minister Lynne Kosky has signalled that the Government may be in favour of increasing the level of accountability required from private schools. This intention comes just before the Victorian Government and the independent school sector are due to begin negotiations on a new funding model. Private schools in Victoria receive between 7 and 20 per cent of their funding from the State Government, and Ms Kosky would prefer to improve their accountability to the State by bringing them under the jurisdiction of freedom of information laws and having an ombudsman consider complaints against them. For more information see the article in the The Age, 6 March 2004.
Victorian teachers endorse more stoppages
Victorian teachers have endorsed a series of half-day stoppages and another statewide strike later this year in support of their pay campaign. The Victorian Independent Education Union and the Australian Education Union organised a joint 24 hour strike and protest march on 3 March, which organisers claim involved more than 22,000 government school teachers and about 9000 Catholic school teachers. See article in The Age 4 March 2004, Ministerial media release 3 March 2004 and announcement from the AEU 4 March 2004.
NZ teachers unimpressed with glowing NCEA report
The Education Review Office (ERO) in New Zealand has underestimated the time and amount of work required to implement the new National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA), according to teachers and principals. The ERO recently stated that most schools had implemented the NCEA and that only a 'low number of schools had reported continuing workload issues'. The three levels of the NCEA have replaced the School Certificate, Sixth Form Certificate and Bursary. For more information see the article in The Press, 4 March 2004.
New campaign to target youth smoking (Vic)
Thirteen Government, Catholic and Independent schools in Victoria will trial new anti-smoking curriculum materials in 2004, before they are introduced into schools next year. A partnership between the Department of Education and Training and the National School Drug Education Centre has produced classroom materials, as well as a professional development programme for teachers, to combat the incidence of smoking among young people. It is estimated that 33 percent of girls and 30 per cent of boys aged 16-17 smoke regularly, and that there are 269,000 smokers aged between twelve and seventeen Australia-wide. For more information see Media release, 22 February 2004.
Standards reflected in conduct policy (WA)
A new staff conduct policy has being released by the Department of Education and Training. The policy encapsulates the values, aspirations and expected conduct of Department personnel, and was formulated after consultation with school staff, unions and district officers. Issues such as fairness and equity, bullying, and ethical conduct in the workplace are addressed, and the avenues and procedures for reporting misconduct are explained. See School Matters, no.2, 20 February 2004.
School crime cut 38 per cent (WA)
Improved security procedures, perimeter fencing, the School Watch Program, better lighting, and electronic security devices have contributed to a drop in school vandalism in Western Australia. School-based crime caused a lost of $7.55 million in 2003, a marked improvement on the $12.11 million it cost in 2002. An improved analysis of specfic security concerns at particular schools has also led to customised measures being devised for those situations. This has led to a better use of resources with the employment of crime-specific deterrents. See School Matters, no.2, 20 February 2004.
Tutorial Credit Scheme introduced by Australian Government
Parents of Year 3 children, who need help to read at the minimum standard expected of children their age, will be given $700 for individual reading lessons. This Australian Government initiative will provide funding of up to $6.85 million to support a new pilot Tutorial Credit Scheme. See Ministerial media release, 19 May 2004.
New interactive resource studies separation of Indigenous children (WA)
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) has developed a learning module around the findings of its inquiry into the separation of Indigenous children from their families. Based on the Bringing Them Home report produced in 1997, this teaching and learning resource describes the historical context in which Indigenous children were separated from their families, and contains the personal stories of those involved. Teaching notes, activities and links to other resources are included in the module. For more information see Western Teacher, 30 April 2004.
Reconciliation Week (SA)
Reconciliation Week will be held between 27 May and 3 June this year. Both dates are historically auspicious, with the former been the anniversary of the 1967 referendum, and the latter the day on which the High Court handed down its decision in the Mabo case. Teachers are encouraged to visit the Department of Education and Children Services website for Reconciliation learning activities. For more information see Extra, 29 April 2004.
College of Teaching for WA teachers a step closer
The Western Australian College of Teaching Bill (2003) has been passed by the Legislative Council this week, and will now proceed to the Legislative Assembly for final amendments. See Ministerial Media Release, 13 May 2004.
Virtual schools, real concerns in USA
Virtual schooling is one of the fastest-growing education trends in the USA. For years an option in higher education, distance learning is quickly spreading to the K-12 arena. See report in Christian Science Monitor, 4 May 2004.
New look for Curriculum Corporation website
Curriculum Corporation has introduced a new-look website offering easy, direct access to a wide range of subject- and issues-based teacher resources, links and news. A menu for educators provides direct access to content areas. Another menu headed 'About Curriculum Corporation' informs clients of the Corporation's capabilities and experience in the education field. A news service, 'This Week', will feature important announcements, showcasing initiatives both from Curriculum Corporation and the wider education community. Readers of Curriculum Leadership are able to access the journal through a prominent link on the new home page.
Changes to secondary school year possible in New Zealand
New Zealand Education Minister Trevor Mallard is considering changes to the secondary school year. He has held talks with the Post Primary Teachers Association, and plans to meet the Secondary School Sports Council and the Secondary Principals Association before making a decision. See report in the Dominion Post, 10 May 2004.
'At risk' education faces budget crunch in New Zealand
Education providers for children at risk of descending into crime or addiction are facing mounting budget deficits and possible closure in Christchurch, New Zealand. Three alternative education providers are facing a combined budget blow-out of more than $100,000 this year. See report in The Press, 3 May 2004 (stuff.co.nz)
Exodus of British principals reaching 'critical proportions'
Britain's National Association of Head Teachers has warned that the number of head teachers leaving the profession is reaching 'critical proportions'. A study by the union revealed that 1,500 vacancies had already been advertised this year, an increase of 25 per cent on the same period last year. See reports from TES, 30 April 2004 and Northern Ireland on the Internet, 4 May 2004.
Teachers 'live in fear' of pupils, say British principals
Pupils who make malicious accusations of physical or sexual abuse against teachers must be expelled from school, a British principals' union has demanded. See report from BBC News, 1 May 2004.
Greater accountablity for private schools in NSW
Casual Teacher Staffing System in NSW
The Casual.Direct Casual Teacher Staffing System is a new, fully automated, casual teacher staffing system, providing a service throughout New South Wales. Statistics are regularly updated in relation to teacher and school registrations, and casual teacher requests from schools.
New leave pass system for NSW schools
The Department of Education and Training in New South Wales has introduced a new pass system for students leaving school grounds during school hours. The system uses a tamper-proof, laminated card with a specific school stamp. Currently it is difficult for police, teachers or truant officers to verify permission notes held by students away from school premises. Students without valid passes will be ordered to return to school, and have their names recorded for follow up action by the school. See report in Inform, February 2004.
U.S. set to ease some provisions of school law
The Education Department in the United States is to relax elements of its 'No Child Left Behind' law that require teachers to have a degree, or to otherwise certify themselves in every subject they teach. See article in the New York Times, 14 March 2004. (free registration required)
Fathers first in NZ schools
Fathers are being encouraged to take a much stronger role in their sons' education, in a radical move at Christchurch Boys' High School and Shirley Boys' High School in New Zealand. The schools, both involved in the Good Man project, run by former prison head Celia Lashlie, want fathers to take the main responsibility for their sons' education. See article in The Press, 12 March 2004 (stuff.co.nz).
Claims on male teachers disputed
Research by Janet Smith at the University of Canberra indicates that while the number of males enrolling in primary teacher education courses has increased, the number of males completing their courses has significantly declined. Her research also suggests that it is unrealistic to expect male teachers to be role models or surrogate fathers. See report in The Age, 14 March 2004.
Australian Government plans male-only teaching scholarships
The Australian Government has introduced legislation to amend the Sex Discrimination Act that would allow the introduction of teacher training scholarships for men only. The Opposition and the Australian Democrats have announced they will not support the plan. See Ministerial Media Statement, 9 March 2004 and doorstop comments, 10 March 2004. See also coverage in The Australian schools section.
Victorians 'get out there' for international education
International education generates more income for the Australian economy than many of its traditional exports. Next week, 15-21 March, Victoria will be celebrating the economic, social and cultural contributions that international education and international students make to that State each year. 'Get Out There', an overseas study fair at the Melbourne Town Hall, on Saturday, 20 March, will be the feature attraction of the week. For more infomation see the article by Anna Malbon in Education Times, 26 February 2004.
ACT Assessment Program: Release of summary of students' results for 2003
The ACT Minister for Education, Katy Gallagher, has released a summary of the results of the Assessment Program conducted with Years 3, 5 and 9 students in 2003. The Program sought to measure the literacy and numeracy performance of ACT students, in the aforementioned year levels, against curriculum profile levels and national benchmarks. Both boys and Indigenous students demonstrated marked improvements in the literacy component of the Program. For more information, and for a summary of the results, see Media Release, 3 March 2004.
Anti-tobacco curriculum more effective than lectures, scare tactics
A Stanford University School of Medicine study has found that teenage smokers, who take part in advocacy-oriented tobacco-education sessions at their schools, are more likely to quit than those who listen to lectures or are exposed to scare tactics. See report from Join Together Online, 5 March 2004.
Canadian curriculum to change for years K-9
The Canadian province of New Brunswick, along with other Atlantic provinces, will introduce changes to its social studies, health and physics curricula this year. The changes mark a move away from a knowlege focused or 'expanding horizons' curriculum, towards one that is more focused on concepts, issues and application of learning. It is anticipated that the curriculum will become more relevant to students lives and their futures. For more information see the article in New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal, 8 March 2004.
US state promotes plan to help standardize migrant student education
Plans to place literacy stations throughout Washington state will provide migrant children whose families move around the United States a chance to access consistent educational software, giving students the means to test and practice hundreds of skills needed for reading. Several Washington school districts have already successfully used the software. Of the 70,431 students currently receiving bilingual instruction in the state, 16.5 percent of these are migrants. These students and their families will be able to access this 'Oasis of Literacy' at participating libraries, churches, health centers and schools. For more information, see report in San Francisco Chronicle, 2 December 2004.
Northern Territory recruitment website winning accolades
The DEET Teacher Recruitment Website has been successful in filling all teaching positions in the Northern Territory since its launch in February. In addition, more that 1400 applicants, both nationally and internationally, have used the website to register their interest in teaching in the Territory. This provides principals with the unparalleled opportunity to select the best teacher applicants when vacancies arise. The website provides prospective applicants with information on the culture, environment and lifestyle of the Territory. The website has impressed other education departments, with particular interest surrounding the online application process. The South Australian Education Department is in discussions with NT DEET regarding the site's features, with a view to adapting some of these for their own website.
Britain's qualifications authority blamed for too many student pass grades
Britain's examinations Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) compromised the integrity of A-levels by failing to act over the growing number of candidates obtaining A-grade passes, an independent report into exam standards has found. The study, set up by the QCA itself, concluded that the failure may be be responsible for universities devising their own tests to help them select the brightest candidates. See reports in the
Invitation to contribute to EQ Australia
EQ Australia magazine invites readers to contribute a brief article (1000-1300 words) to its Autumn 2005 edition. The theme of the edition will be Leadership, and will examine topics such as, How do we define leadership, Effective past leaders, Student leadership, and How to develop leadership qualities in teachers and students. For more information contact Denise Quinn email@example.com as soon as possible. The due date for copy is 7 January 2005.
Education and Training Reforms for the Future (Qld)
Following a promise to provide more support for young people to complete their education and training, the Queensland State Government is moving into the second year of their landmark Education and Training Reforms for the Future. The $900,000 statewide mentoring program targets young people between the ages of 14 and 17 years, who are at high risk of disengaging from learning, and matches them with a mentor. Job Futures will receive the funding over three years to introduce the Community Mentoring Program.
ACT Health Promoting Schools website launched
ACT Minister for Education and Training Ms Katy Gallagher has launched the ACT Health Promoting Schools website. It will provide information about programs such as the 'Walking School Bus' and the 'ACT School Canteen Accreditation Program', which have been established to improve physical activity and nutrition amongst ACT school students.
US poll finds low support for Darwinian theory of evolution
In the USA, a national Gallup poll in November 2004 showed that only 35 percent of those asked believed confidently that Darwin's theory was 'supported by the evidence.' More than one-third of those polled by CBS News later in November said creationism should be taught instead of evolution. See report in the San Francisco Chronicle, 30 November 2004.
International behaviour program to be trialled in WA schools
Seventeen Western Australian schools will participate in the Roots of Empathy pilot program in 2005. Roots of Empathy is a behaviour management program which teaches participants to empathise with the points of view and feelings of others, and to use this understanding to control violent and aggressive behaviour. The program is currently being implemented in Canada and Japan. For more information see Media Statement, 22 November 2004.
Vic independent schools resist funds plan
Independent schools in Victoria intend to resist a State Government plan for a new funding system. The Association of Independent Schools of Victoria believes the State Government will ask private schools to sign a set of funding principles. A spokesperson for Education Minister Lynne Kosky said the Government had been consulting for a year, and would continue to do so. Until an agreement was reached, an extra $17 million in funding for private schools could not be released. See article in The Age, 30 November 2004.
Queensland launches new Smart State maths syllabus
Queensland will adopt a new Years 1 to 10 Mathematics Syllabus next year. The new syllabus has been developed by the Queensland Studies Authority (QSA) and trialled in 27 schools, and will be available to all State and non-State schools next year, with full implementation due in 2008. The new syllabus has a strong focus on how mathematics is used in the real world. It is organised into five sections - Number, Patterns and Algebra, Measurement, Chance and Data, and Space. The mathematics syllabus also complements other Years 1 to 10 key learning area syllabuses, including Science and Technology. Implementation will be supported by professional development for teachers. The new syllabus is designed to get students thinking, reasoning and working mathematically, eg. younger children will be required to use maps and calendars to keep a record, and a project for students in the middle years will ask them to plan an international travel itinerary taking into account costs of travel and accommodation, travel times and time zones.
Global politics heads Year 12 changes in South Australia
In response to student and community feedback, the Senior Secondary Assessment Board of South Australia has announced several major redevelopments to next year's curriculum. The Year 12 politics course will be revised and replaced with Australian and international politics. The new subject will focus on the global as well as the local context. New politics topics at the Year 12 level will include global citizenship, Australian international relations, and politics of the Asia-Pacific Region. Ancient and classical studies will also be merged with history. In Legal Studies students will also be required to attend court cases to link learning into the 'real world'. See article in The Advertiser 26 November, 2004.
SA report recommends more power for principals
A University of South Australia report on social inclusion in government primary schools, commissioned by the South Australian Primary Principals Association, has recommended that principals be given power to remove problem children and to select school staff. Authors Judith Gill and Robert Crotty, from the Centre for Research in Education, Equity and Work, surveyed about 80 per cent of South Australian primary schools for the report. At the school level, large class sizes, restrictions on staff selection and a lack of special education support were seen as the main barriers to social inclusion. See article in The Advertiser, 29 November 2004.
Statement of principles for Victorian schools
Victoria has become the first State to establish a list of values to be taught across all schools. The values are learning for all, the pursuit of excellence, engagement and effort, respect for evidence and openness of mind. The new curriculum, prepared by the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA), originally contained a statement of ten values, including tolerance and understanding, respect, social justice and freedom. This list had been agreed by State and Federal education ministers five years ago, but was withdrawn following controversy. See article in The Age and report on ABC News, 29 November 2004.
Bullies 'cool', US study finds
Contrary to popular opinion, bullies are not social outcasts suffering from low self-esteem, according to psychology professor Jaana Juvonen, the lead author of a study on bullying published last December in Pediatrics. Bullies are popular, respected and 'cool', and do not show signs of depression, social anxiety or loneliness. Intervention programs should focus on creating environments in which abusive behaviour is not tolerated, and on offering effective ways to deal with bullies. See article in the Los Angeles Times, 24 November 2004 (free registration required).
Phase two for Years 11 and 12 schooling review in South Australia
The South Australian Government has completed the first phase of its review into the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE), during which 1600 parents, school staff and business people submitted proposals and comments on the future of the Cerificate. The review also investigated local, national and world trends in youth involvement in work and learning. The second phase of the review will now develop recommendations based on the data gathered. See report in Xpress, 28 October 2004.
Funding preschool programs pays off for society, US study finds
The United States Perry Preschool Study has found that low-income children who attended a high-quality preschool were better off in many ways by age 40, as indicated by their rates of graduation from high schools; employment with higher incomes; and reduced crime rates. This signals to policymakers at the federal and state level that early education pays off. Those states providing funding for pre-kindergarten initiatives now have recognition that this financial support becomes a cost-saving measure for the future. See article in the Salt Lake Tribune, 21 November 2004.
Thousands of NSW school students 'denied English help'
Rising numbers of students in New South Wales require support from English as a Second Language programs, however, a shortage of specialist teachers may leave them with low levels of English language proficiency, according to an
Palestinian schoolgirls killed by Israeli troops
An 11-year-old Palestinian girl, Ghadeer Mkheimar, has died of her injuries a day after being hit by Israeli gunfire in her classroom at a school run by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) in southern Gaza. On 5 October, 13-year-old Iman al-Hams was also shot dead while walking to school in her school uniform. Her body was then fired on repeatedly by the Israeli platoon commander involved, prompting an investigation. See reports in CTV.ca and ITN 13 October 2004.
More laptops for New Zealand teachers
A further extension to the Laptops for Teachers scheme could see 7000 more New Zealand based primary school teachers receiving funding towards purchasing a laptop computer. Trevor Mallard, the New Zealand Minister of Education, reported that all permanent, full-time primary teachers of Years 4-6 students will be eligible for the laptops, following an additional $12 million in government funding towards the scheme. Teachers can register for funding through their school on the New Zealand Ministry of Education website.
Victorian education system to track students through the years
The Victorian Government intends to track the progress of students at all Victorian schools through a new data base. The student-identifier system is intended to build a profile of students throughout their education to track progress and identify problems. Education Minister Lynne Kosky has said that her department is examining the type of information technology platform needed for the system, which is likely to be tested on a group of schools and across selected year levels. See article in The Age, 15 March 2004.
Teacher dress code announced in Western Australia
All teachers in Western Australia's Government schools will be required to adopt appropriate professional dress standards, following an announcement by Education and Training Minister Alan Carpenter. Mr Carpenter said it was the responsibility of principals and teachers to ensure that they projected a professional image of themselves and their school. See Ministerial media statement, 12 March 2004.
Review of services for special needs students in Tasmania
Tasmania's Education Minister Paula Wriedt has announced the start of the review of services for students. The review, first announced in December 2003, is being conducted by Atelier Learning Solutions. See Ministerial media release, 4 March 2004.
Password-generator technology could safeguard school data
Indiana University, in the United States, has implemented a new kind of authentication technology for staff and faculty members who have access to sensitive school data. The technology is already used by banks, health-care organisations, and corporations. See report in E-school News Online, 10 March 2004. (free registration required)
Foreign language classes for 7-year-olds in UK
From the age of seven, British children are to be offered tests in more than 20 foreign languages, as part of a revolutionary approach to the way the subject (a selected foreign language) is taught. See article in The Independent, 11 March 2004.
Career education program struggling in USA
In a bid to ensure career education has greater consistency across the United States, Oregon has implemented new state rules which require students to outline academic goals and complete projects based on their career interests to earn a diploma. The state's Department of Education says the requirements are flexible and open to interpretation, encouraging districts to determine for themselves what kind of activities should be assessed. For more information, see article in The Oregonian 18 November 2004.
NSW teachers, parents call for HSC revamp
Parents and teachers have called for a revamp of the New South Wales Higher School Certificate and School Certificate to make them less stressful for students. The calls, welcomed by the New South Wales Government, followed revelations at a recent education forum of widespread use of anti-depressant drugs among students, particularly those doing the HSC. The president of the New South Wales Teachers Federation, Marie O'Halloran, has suggested that the HSC be spread over seven terms. See report in Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 2004.
New law in NSW covers anti-bullying programs in private schools
Legislation has recently been introduced in New South Wales requiring private schools to report on their anti-bullying programs to the State Government. See article in the Sun-Herald, 21 November 2004, which also comments on allegations of bullying at a Sydney girls' grammar school.
Chalk and talk still prevails in Ireland
Irish children are still being seen and not heard in the classroom, with teachers not allowing them enough time for discussion and speech, a study of primary school pupils has found. Only 2 per cent of class time involves genuine dialogue, the analysis of senior infant classes showed. Teachers on average spoke for almost two-thirds of lesson time. See report in The Sunday Times (Ireland), 21 November 2004.
Victoria's schools funding plan queried
The Victorian Government's plans to introduce a new State funding system for private schools in 2005 have been challenged, in a briefing to schools by the Association of Independent Schools of Victoria (AISV). The briefing claims that almost one in five of the State's richest schools would have funding increased, while one in five of the poorest schools would receive less money. See article in The Age, 22 November 2004.
NSW teachers subject to Internet hate campaigns seek support
A teacher vilified on a student-run website at a Sydney selective school has set up a support group for victims of web abuse by 'flamers', those who use the Internet to publish malicious allegations. The support group, edi (educating the internet), includes other teachers who say they are 'e-casualties' of student-generated Internet abuse. See report in the Sydney Morning Herald, 15 November 2004.
New multi-million dollar sustainable school officially opened in Atwell (WA)
An ecologically sustainable school has been built and opened in Atwell, Western Australia. The school, in a 'green' suburban subdivision, has been built to environmental principles, and incorporates features such as grey water recycling and water-efficient landscaping. Low allergen floorcoverings have been substituted for carpets, and bore water will be used for irrigation, in the $8.4 million dollar premises. For more information see Media Statement, 5 November 2004.
UN 'will miss education target'
UNESCO's 2005 Education for All Global Monitoring Report indicates that the United Nations' target of universal primary education by 2015 is unlikely to be reached. More children are going to school, but many are dropping out before finishing primary education. Many more children are leaving without having learned even basic literacy and numeracy skills. The report also reveals a continuing gender inequality in education. Two thirds of children who do not attend school are girls. Two thirds of the 800 million illiterate people around the world are women. School attendance is increasing, but not fast enough, the report found. Around the world, over 100 million children do not go to school. Moreover, an improvement in school attendance has not, in mainly developing countries, been matched by an increase in teachers or in education funding. See BBC News report, 9 November 2004.
Review of Victorian Physical Education classes
Concern over a proposed reclassification of physical education in the Victorian school curriculum has led to plans by the State Government to enlist a panel of experts, including prominent sporting identities, to give advice on boosting the role of Physical Education. Education Minister Lynne Kosky has indicated that she is likely to support the proposed changes. See the article in The Age, 9 November 2004.
Classroom attack on gambling problems
The Australian Government is planning to use secondary school mathematics classes to stop children being caught in an explosion of problem gambling. Federal Community Services Minister Kay Patterson wants to teach secondary students about the odds of becoming a betting loser. See News.com.au report, 28 October 2004.
Primary teachers and principals achieve settlement (NZ)
NZEI RouRou reports that principals and primary teachers have reached agreement with the New Zealand Ministry of Education on pay, entitlements and conditions of employment. Primary school teacher numbers will be increased by 800, enabling full-time teachers to receive up to 10 hours of teacher release a term. Principals will receive pay increases of 2.5 per cent and 3 per cent in 2005 and 2006 respectively. For more information see NZEI RouRou, 11 October 2004.
Xpress reports that the National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTA) will be held in February 2005, and not in October of this year (2004) as originally scheduled. National recipients of the awards will be derived from the State-based winners for the final time this year. The awards will operate, solely, on a national level from 2005. For more information see Xpress, 14 October 2004.
World wide web of history (WA)
The University of Western Australia is currently conducting the Historical Encylopedia of Western Australia project, which will see stories from Western Australia's history published online. Teachers and students in Western Australia are encouraged to submit factual stories of their local area, including people, events and 'things'. For more information see School Matters, 16 October 2004, and the project's website.
New look and feel for The Learning Federation website
The Learning Federation has produced a fresh, new look to their website. An improved search engine and site map allow users to more easily access information. A new section called Learning Object Showcase features new ways in which teachers are using TLF's digital resources to support student learning.
Pay boost for regional teachers (WA)
Western Australian teaching and support staff who work in regional and remote areas of that State may be eligible to 'salary package' their Government Employees Housing Authority rent, or home loan interest, after a ruling by the Australian Taxation Office. Eligible staff will be contacted by the Department of Education and Training. It is estimated that about 8000 staff may qualify. For more information see Media Statement, 22 October 2004.
Exhibition by ACT Indigenous students
On Track is the title of an exhibition of Year 9 Indigenous students' work, which will be hosted in ACT Legislative Assembly. The exhibition will display work by Indigenous students, such as essays, craft, art and technology. On Track will be open to the public from 27-29 October 2004. For more information see Media Release, 27 October 2004.
Computer games 'deserve a place in class'
Computer games should be taught in schools because they are good for children's development, according to the results of research at the Institute of Education at London University. The researchers also found that girls were often excluded from the male-dominated world of 'gaming'. A related project has looked at how games can be integrated into media education, and concluded that writing games should be a core part of studying them. See report from BBC News and the article in Times Educational Supplement, 26 October 2004.
Connecting the world and unlocking the 'deep' web through GLOBE
Organisations from Australia, Canada, Europe, Japan and the United States have announced a global alliance to make shared online learning resources available to educators and students around the world. The Global Learning Objects Brokered Exchange (GLOBE) alliance has been established between the ARIADNE Foundation in Europe, Education Network Australia (EdNA Online), eduSourceCanada, Multimedia Educational Resources for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) in the United States, and the National Institute of Multimedia Education (NIME) in Japan. The first steps in the alliance are to develop use cases, specifications, business rules and technologies which will enable searches across the repositories that the partners involved have developed over the last 5 years. Within twelve months, users will be able to access learning resources across countries and regions. The network will use federated search technologies to search across multiple databases and libraries.
$1million funding boost for computer literacy (WA)
'First Click' is a Western Australian initiative which helps members of disadvantaged groups learn basic computer literacy. The program, which has been in existence since 2001, has helped more than 16,000 people, and it will receive a further $1million, which will be spread across community organisations in Western Australia. Improving people's computer literacy enables them to find employment, keep in contact with others via email, and help their children with school work. For more information, see Media Statement, 18 October 2004.
Charter schools perform worse than public schools in the USA
Students at charter schools in the USA have performed worse than their public school counterparts, according to US Federal Government reports in August. Charter schools are run independently on either a commercial or not-for-profit basis. Their development has been strongly encouraged by the key No Child Left Behind Act, which has given them substantial autonomy in terms of industrial relations and reduced monitoring by state governments. Problems noted in the reports include financial irregularities and removal of struggling students to bolster academic test results. See report, Charter schools left behind inthe US, in Teacher October 2004.
Victorian secondary principals propose new school funding system for intrastructure
The Australian Secondary Principals' Association (ASPA) has led discussion surrounding a bid to bypass state governments, giving infrastructure funding directly to schools through parent and teacher bodies. The ASPA, a representative for approximately 2000 secondary principals in Australia, predict that this shift could reduce back-logs in areas such as capital works, and allow greater consistency in the way school programs are delivered. Victorian Education Minister Lynne Kosky has disagreed with the proposal, sighting schools' present flexibility to administer resources without interference. The contentious discussion follows a national survey by ASPA, which revealed that dealing with education departments was one of the major causes of stress for Australian principals.
Victorian school zones enforced on days off
Safety speed zones surrounding schools still apply on pupil-free days, with Victorian motorists risking fines for exceeding the 40 km/h limits in school zones. The clarification comes after a Sydney newspaper reported that more than 3200 New South Wales motorists had been booked this year for speeding in school zones on pupil-free days. Victorian schools schedule four pupil-free days each year for staff curriculum planning, but due to the fact that these days fall outside of official school holidays, they are still regarded as 'school days' by the Victorian Police. Under Victoria's new school-zone laws, introduced last October, many school zones are now permanent 40 km/h areas, regardless of time or day of the week. Victorian zones are being patrolled by police radar units and mobile speed cameras.
WA teacher vacancies continue to be filled
Western Australia's teaching scholarships, and other incentives and campaigns to recruit teachers, are improving the teacher recruitment and retention rates in that state. Due to a reduction in class sizes last year, an additional 350 new positions had to be filled in early 2003. By February 2003, 1,413 new teachers, including 520 graduates, were appointed to Western Australian schools. While the number of retirements will increase in the short term, its consequences for staffing levels will only become significant by 2010. See Education and Training Minister's Media Statement, 9 October 2003.
Minister appoints Queensland's first Science Education Ambassador
Australian scientist, Professor Peter Fensham, has been appointed Queensland's Science Education Ambassador. Professor Fensham is a recognised expert in science eduation, and a member of the Science Expert Group on the OECD Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA). Professor Fensham will also be a member of the Queensland government taskforce which will oversee the government's reforms to science education. For further information on the science education taskforce, see Ministerial Media Statements, 15 October 2003.
Historic Smart State laws passed by State Parliament to ensure learning or earning (QLD)
The Youth Participation in Education and Training Act, and the Training Reform Act, were passed by the Queensland Parliament on 9 October 2003. These statutes will give effect to the government's policy contained in Education and Training Reforms for the Future. The laws, which come into effect progressively between 2004-2006, will eventually ensure that every young person below the age of 17 is either in school, training or employment. For more information on the compulsory school requirement and the compliance regime contained in the legislation, see Ministerial Media Statements, 9 October 2003.
Leadership opportunity in SA
Staff in South Australia's Department of Education and Community Services (DECS) will have the opportunity to gain a Professional Doctorate in Education (Leadership), under a new agreement reached with the University of South Australia. Up to nine department staff would be awarded a scholarship to undertake the degree. Future scholarship holders are expected to play a leadership role in the development of DECS as a learning organisation. See See
Aboriginal language teaching in SA
The development of Aboriginal languages in South Australian schools has been enhanced through the introduction of a new Australian Indigenous Languages
NZ principals call for school holiday review
A survey conducted by the Post Primary Teachers Association of New Zealand has found that principals want the timing and number of school holidays reviewed. There is also support for a return to three terms a year rather than the current four terms. Surveyed teachers also mentioned that their two-week breaks between terms did not give them long enough time to recover, and that there were no days off during the third term. See article in The Dominion Post (Stuff.co.nz).
New report cards sent to Victorian parents
In Victoria, new report cards showing how individual students have fared in recent literacy and numeracy tests are being sent to parents of students in Years 3, 5 and 7. The results are from the state-wide Achievement Improvement Monitor (AIM) tests conducted in August. The AIM Parent Reports will show how students compare to national benchmarks in reading, writing and mathematics, as well the Victorian average score and expected levels of achievement. See media release from the Victorian Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky.
North Queensland state school recognised at major Indigenous business awards
Western Cape College in Queensland has received two awards for its Hospitality R Us program at the Queensland Government Reconciliation Awards for Business. The program engages Indigenous students in the hospitality industry. The school is also involved in a partnership with mining company Comalco, which won an award in the large business category for the company's pledge to help train, and ultimately employ, every Indigenous Western Cape College student who completes Year 10. See Ministerial Media Statements, 1 October 2003.
South Africa's Cabinet approves new education policy
South Africa's Cabinet has approved a National Curriculum Statement for Grades 10-12, which will be introduced during the period 2006-2008 as a strategic response to the country's skills deficit. See article in the BuaNews (Pretoria), accessed via allAfrica.com.
Healthy living prize (WA)
Health and physical education programs in schools and communities will be recognised through the Healthy Active Lifestyle Awards of the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation. The awards will be available to teachers, schools and community groups in seven categories, with each category having a primary school, district high school and secondary school division. Entries close 27 October 2003. For more information, see School Matters, 15 August 2003.
Principals win 8% pay increase (NZ)
NZEI Te Riu Roa has negotiated an 8 per cent increase in the salaries of primary principals. The negotiations about the Primary Principals' Collective Agreement will also allow the union to address the issues of principal professional development and appointment with the Ministry of Education and the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA). For more information, see NZEI Rou Rou, 8 August 2003.
New leader for vocational education and training quality body in WA
The Western Australian Education and Training Minister, Alan Carpenter, recently announced that the former Director General of the Department of Training, Mr Ian Hill, would chair the State's Training Accreditation Council (TAC). The council is responsible for the quality of vocational education and training in Western Australia. See media release.
Fewer Australians starting university
Higher education statistics released by the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST) have shown that the number of Australians commencing undergraduate university courses has dropped for the second consecutive year. See commentary by Western Australian Minister for Education and Training, Alan Carpenter.
Curriculum Corporation web survey
Curriculum Corporation is currently undertaking a review of some aspects of its web site, with the view to better meeting the needs of educational professionals. We would value 5 minutes of your time to fill in a
Training scholarships (SA)
The South Australian Government will make available twenty-four scholarships to child care centres, to assist child care staff to obtain the minimum qualifications for their positions. This first round of scholarships will be aimed at rural child care centres, where the staff are often under qualified for their positions. The scholarships will financially assist staff to obtain their qualification, while ensuring that the work of the centres is not adversely affected. For more information, see Xpress, 21 August, 2003.
Student suspensions fall in WA
Suspension rates in Western Australia's Government schools have fallen by nearly 16 per cent, since the State Government implemented its Behaviour Management and Discipline policy in 2001. See media release 25 August 2003 and article in School Matters, 29 August 2003, p.3.
Bringing the nation together
The Department of Indigenous Affairs in Western Australia is to launch a competition in which students are asked to create a reconciliation activity for the local community. The Deparment of Education is a partner in the initiative. The projects may be based in the school or community, and may be in a range of media.
Pilot scheme in NSW allows teachers permanent transfers
The pilot Local Transfer Scheme allows teachers in the Shellharbour, Sutherland and Tweed Heads/Ballina districts to transfer positions permanently with other teachers in the same districts, and at the same position level. It also open to executive staff other than principals. It will be offered again in 2004.
ACSSO petitions for 'Behind the News'
The Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO) is promoting a petition which calls for the retention of the education programme 'Behind the News' produced by the Australian Broadcasting Commission (ABC), and opposes reductions to the ABC educational programming budget. Details are available on the ACSSO website.
Western Australian College of Teaching
Western Australian teachers are set to have their own professional body, following the introduction of the Western Australian College of Teaching Bill 2003 in the Western Australian Parliament. A membership of between 30,000 to 40,000 teachers is expected. The process will take approximately 18 months. See media release
Preparing for School trial in Queensland
In 2004 the Queensland Government will continue its $18 million, three-year trial of a preparatory schooling year. Next year the trial will involve 64 schools across the state, and more than 1200 preschool children. It will include Catholic and Independent schools, including the Aboriginal and Islander Independent Community School. The trial will help the Government decide whether to raise the school starting age by at least six months to bring Queensland in line with other States of Australia. Media release available from Ministerial Media Statements
New research on teacher attrition
New research in Western Australia by two PhD students challenges prevailing views of teacher attrition. Elaine Sharplin, at the University of Western Australia, has found that the main reasons teachers leave rural and remote schools in Western Australia are due to school-based factors such as pressure to teach outside their area of expertise, lack of support from school leaders and colleagues, and insufficient information about the teaching and learning plans used by previous teachers. Megan Ewing, at Edith Cowan University, has found that while 50 per cent of teachers leave their initial employment situation within the first five years, the figure includes those who move into another field of teaching, and those who intend to return to teaching. See report in The Australian, 11 October 2004.
Shift in PE for Victorian schools
Teachers, parents and prominent sporting figures are resisting changes to the Victorian curriculum that they fear will downgrade physical education in schools. Physical education is to be classified as a 'social and personal' skill rather than a traditional discipline. The State Government has said that the changes will not devalue or reduce the teaching of PE in government schools. See report in The Age, 13 October 2004.
School scheme tackles childhood obesity (NZ)
A New Zealand Government initiative will see a focus on increasing physical activity for primary school children, particularly targeting growing numbers of obese and unhealthy children. The goal, proposed for achievement by 2006, is that every child will participate in at least one hour of high-quality exercise run by a specialist teacher each week. The funding for this initiative comes from the Education Ministry and Sport and Recreation New Zealand (SPARC). Already adopted by a number of primary schools in New Zealand, the programme endeavours to decrease the high levels of obesity in children - almost a third are currently overweight or obese. The physical activity will benefit children's health, as well as having a positive impact on their intellectual development. SPARC News 5 October 2004.
Announcing the Australian Government Quality Teacher Programme (AGQTP): new approach for 2003 and beyond
The Australian Government has announced that it will be refining the AGQTP, as it looks to fund initiatives to address the issue of quality teaching in the coming years. As part of this process, the Department of Education, Science and Training will consult with the programme's various constituent groups. AGQTP funds the Teachers for the 21st Century initiative, an intiative which has concentrated on increasing teacher professional development in the areas of numeracy, literacy, mathematics, science, information technology and vocational education in schools. The repositioning of AGQPT will allow it to better address the issues raised by the Australian Government Review of Teaching and Teacher Education, and the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). For more information see AGQTP News number 3, 2003.
More protection of Queensland schools against intruders
Queensland schools are to receive further support against violent or abusive intruders, who could face fines up to $15,000 or three years' jail under new laws to be introduced in State Parliament. See Sunday Mail, 26 October 2003.
End of Year Celebration Kit (NSW)
The End of Year Celebration Kit is available on the New South Wales Department of Education and Training website. The kit is aimed at informing young people and parents about responsible behaviour at end of year activities. The kit contains information on drug and alcohol related issues, as well as a help card with emergency telephone numbers.
Students benefit from covered assembly areas (WA)
The Western Australian Government's $8 million Covered Assembly program will upgrade and cover school assembly facilities over a period of four years. In addition to hosting school assemblies, these facilities are also used for concerts, practice sessions, lunches and outdoor classes. Twelve schools have already benefited from the program, and facilities at six schools will be renovated in the current financial year. Schools are selected according to criteria which include school size, design, climatic conditions and existing covered space. See Education and Training Minister's Media Statement, 22 October 2003.
Aspiring teachers vie for govt scholarships
The Queensland Education Minister, Anna Bligh, is urging Year 12 students to consider careers in teaching, and to apply for Queensland Government teacher education scholarships. Five Bid O'Sullivan Scholarships and 15 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Scholarships are available for 2004. The Bid O'Sullivan scholarships are awarded to Year 12 rural and remote students to study in the Bachelor of Education Program at the University of Queensland. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Year 12 students, postgraduate students and Education Queensland Employees are eligible to apply for the ATSI Scholarships. Applications close 18 November 2003. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 23 October 2003. Application packages are available on the Education Queensland website.
Arts, Foreign Language at Risk of Becoming 'Lost Curriculum' in US
In the United States, arts and foreign language instruction have been marginalized, and may be completely eliminated from the public schools' core curriculum, according to a new report by the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE). A growing number of schools appear to be narrowing their curriculum to only include subjects emphasised in the accountability measures set by the many State jurisdictions. The implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) may also result in a narrowing of the curriculum. See US Newswire, 21 October 2003.
Queensland students taste real world business via computer simulation
A cooperative venture between Queensland University of Technology (Business Faculty), Australian Business Week and St Joseph's College is allowing the latter's Year 10 students to "run" a 200-bed hotel using a "$5 million budget" via computer simulations. As part of Australian Business Week, awards will be granted to the most successful and entrepreneurial of the five St Joseph's College teams.
School priorities right: survey (WA)
The results of the 2003 Youth Survey in Western Australia have been released by the Youth Minister, Sheila McHale. Young people between the ages of 12 and 25 were surveyed about services, their educational experiences, sense of optimism, voting behaviour, income levels, recreational pursuits and values. The results demonstrated that 94 per cent of young Western Australians believed that their education had equipped them with the necessary skills and attributes to make a positive contribution to society, and that they were optimistic with regards to their employment prospects. For more information see School Matters, 14 September 2003.
Sport keeps boys out of trouble
A study conducted by the Australian Institute of Criminology and funded by the Australian Sports Commission has found that youth, who participate in sport, are less likely to be involved in anti-social behaviour. The study, involving 175 organisations and young people bewteen the ages of 10 and 24, also concluded that physical activity reduced the level of boredom and depression amongst young people, and contributed positively to their self-esteem and cognitive abilities. For more information see School Matters, 14 September 2003.
WA College of Teaching one step closer to reality
Western Teacher reports that the draft bill to create the Western Australian College of teaching will be debated in the Spring Session of the Western Australian Parliament. When passed, the new legislation will create a body which will be responsible for teacher training and standards, and all Western Australian teachers will be required to be registered with it. For more information see Western Teacher, 29 August 2003.
Suspensions decline (WA)
School Matters reports that, in Western Australia, the number of student suspensions from school has declined by 34 per cent since 1997, and by 16 per cent between 2001-2002. The credit for this decrease has been attributed to the Behaviour Management and Discipline Strategy which, aimed at Year 8 and 9 students with behavioural problems, allows schools to fund support staff for students experiencing behavioural difficulties. For more information see School Matters, 29 August 2003.
Multi-million dollar program to improve Queensland schools
Queensland state schools have been invited to apply for funds under a new multi-million dollar school renewal program announced by Education Minister Anna Bligh. About 100 special, primary and secondary state schools are expected to benefit. Applications should reflect contemporary education directions, such as the Government's reforms across all levels of schooling, and the integration of information and communication technologies (ICTs) into the curriculum. See Ministerial Media Statements, 17 Septemebr 2003.
Aboriginal education review in New South Wales
The New South Wales Government has commissioned a review of the effectiveness of education and training for Aboriginal students in New South Wales. The review will involve mapping current activity and working in partnership with Aboriginal communities, to guide the development of a comprehensive state-wide approach to improving Aboriginal education. It will also examine current approaches to issues of attendance, retention rates and academic performance of Aboriginal students. See announcement from Department of Education and Training.
Free books for primary students in western and northern NSW
Around 6,000 primary school children in the western and northern areas of New South Wales will be provided with nine free books over the next three school terms. The project is being managed on behalf of the Australian Government by the Alan Duff Charitable Foundation for Books in Homes Australia. The students will be provided with an extensive range of high quality books. The complexity of the books varies, so they are suitable for children of different reading abilities, including advanced readers. The Project has been successfully trialled in selected schools in the Northern Territory and Queensland. See media release.
ASG National Excellence in Teaching Awards
The Australian Scholarships Group (ASG) National Excellence in Teaching Awards (NEiTAs) provide the community with the opportunity to encourage, recognise, honour and reward the work of excellent, dedicated, talented, innovative and inspiring teachers. The Awards are the only national awards for teachers in Australia based on nomination by parents and students. NEiTA is a community initiative of the Australian Scholarships Group, which is the largest independent provider of educational assistance and support services in Australia and New Zealand. Nominations for the 2003-2004 awards close on 31 October 2003.
Year 9 Literacy and Numeracy Test Canvassed in Queensland
Parents and educators are invited to comment on plans for Queensland's first high school literacy and numeracy test, to complement the current testing program for primary school students. A consultation paper released by the Queensland Studies Authority canvassed four options for a Year 9 test: school-based assessment involving teacher judgment and moderation; standardised tests of literacy and numeracy; combination of school-based assessment and standardised tests; and strengthening the school based assessment already available.
Kids' Science State initiative in WA
Western Australia's Minister for Science and Premier Geoff Gallop has launched the Kids' Science State project, aimed at achieving major advances in the State's Science education. The Rio Tinto WA Future Fund will provide the Scitech Discovery Centre with almost $1.6million over five years. Services will include a travelling Science Roadshow, State-wide professional development for teachers, Do It Yourself Science Kits for schools, new science exhibits, and online science activities for teachers, children and parents. See media release.
Children's health study in WA
More than 3,000 students across Western Australia will take part in the Western Australian Child and Adolescent Physical Activity and Nutritional Survey 2003, launched by Education and Training Minister Alan Carpenter. The results of the survey are expected in June 2004. See media release.
School Excellence Initiative in ACT
The ACT Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Ms Katy Gallagher, has announced the first steps in implementing the School Excellence Initiative with the release of School Excellence Initiative - Achieving Excellence in ACT Government Schools. A corner stone of the Initiative is a rejuvenated school development
New assistance for rural and remote students in Queensland
Queensland Education Minister Anna Bligh has launched a new action plan for rural and remote students. Key initiatives for 2003-04 will include: extending the current bypassing trial for 12 months; trialling virtual schooling technology to expand the curriculum for secondary students in bypassed schools; and providing School of Distance Education support to students who attend remote schools with highly modified curriculums. There will also be a $500 subsidy for geographically isolated distance education families to access broadband Internet services, as well as a trial to enable geographically isolated students to access Years 11 and 12 through the Charters Towers School of Distance Education. For more details tel: 07 3235 4593.
Curriculum renewal in ACT schools
The ACT Minister for Education, Youth and Family Services, Ms. Katy Gallagher, has announced the formation of a Curriculum Renewal Taskforce and
Sketchy grades for cyber schools in USA
Cyber schools, where students complete all coursework online using home computers, have enjoyed rapid recruitment of students in the USA. However, test results for 2003 show students at many cyber schools are not meeting state standards, or matching their peers who attend 'brick-and-mortar' schools. In the state of Pennsylvania, students who attended the state's six cyber schools scored below the state average in a majority of proficiency tests, according to 2003 test results. See article in Wired,
Best staff for worst schools: Latham
The Leader of the Federal Opposition, Mark Latham, has announced new plans to deal with educational outcomes and bullying in struggling schools. Good teachers will be given incentives to teach in struggling schools, and, as is the case in New South Wales' juvenile justice programs, bullies will be required to face their victims in acts of restorative justice. For more information see the articles in The Age, 28 March 2004 and in The Australian, 26 March 2004, as well as the media release by Dr Brendan Nelson, Minister for Education, Science and Training.
New mental health support project for young people
SANE Australia has linked with secondary schools across the country to launch www.itsallright.org, a new website for young people with a parent or friend affected by mental illness. Through a story-based format, the site provides information and advice, as well as referral to support agencies.
Children's progress 'hit by TV'
Young children who watch too much television have impaired language development, British research suggests. A review of studies on the subject for the National Literacy Trust says children aged two to five may benefit from good-quality, educational TV, particularly when programmes are watched and discussed with an adult. See BBC News report, 15 March 2004.
UK universities warn of disaster as students shun sciences
Few school leavers in Britain are signing up for university science courses. While subjects such as history and English have filled up almost immediately, with large numbers of well-qualified applicants turned away, universities are reporting the number seeking places in chemistry, physics and engineering courses, could be the lowest ever. See article in The Independent 22 August 2004.
Turnaround for young people (ACT)
Young people, between the ages of 12 to 18 who are accessing a range of government services, will be eligible for the new Turnaround program in the ACT. Turnaround will better co-ordinate the range of services young people access, which will ensure that they have a better opportunity to improve relationships with family, their health and wellbeing, and educational achievement. For more information see Media Release, 2 June 2004.
Literary Awards open (SA)
South Australian students are encouraged to enter the The Max Fatchen Literary Awards, which are open to students from R-12. The awards are in their 13th year, and this year's theme is Food, Glorious Food. Entries close on 6 August 2004. For more information see Xpress, 27 May 2004, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Change needed before Institute gets union support (NSW)
The New South Wales Teachers Federation has signalled that it may not support the Government's plan for the New South Wales Institute of Teachers in its current form. The bill to create the Institute was introduced into the New South Wales parliament on 12 May, and the union is concerned about aspects of the legislation relating to the composition of the proposed Board of Governance, the role of the Quality Teaching Council and the accreditation process, as well as the apparent absence of an appeal process. For more information see Education, 31 May 2004.
Maths institute grows exponentially (Vic)
The 5 day Technology and Learning Institute, run by the Anywhere Learning Foundation, will be held at St Mary's College, University of Melbourne, and begins on 8 July. In its fourth year, the Institute conducts professional development courses in Mathematics, Science, English and History, with the aim of helping teachers to use technology in their classes. For more information see the Education Communities website, and Education Times, 3 June 2004.
Bus safety program a ticket to ride (Vic)
The Victorian Government has launched the Be Aware, Drive with Care program, which will see all Victorian government owned and contracted school buses fitted with flashing lights, to alert other motorists of school students alighting and boarding those vehicles. It's hoped that the initiative, and an associated information campiagn, will make travel to and from school safer for the 73,000 students who use government funded school buses in Victoria. For more information, see Education Times, 3 June 2004.
Riverbend Readers' Challenge (QLD)
Riverbend Books, the Fred Hollows Foundation and the Ian Thorpe Fountain for Youth Trust are sponsoring a reading challenge for Queensland school students. Children aged 5-15 are encouraged to enter the challenge, which will see them read 10 books during terms 2 and 3 of this year. The entry fee is $5, and all proceeds will go to funding literacy programs for Aboriginal children living in remote communities. For more information, see Riverbend Readers' Challenge, or email email@example.com.
Email rollout blocked in New South Wales
The New South Wales Teachers Federation (NSWTF) has banned the roll-out of email addresses to all students and teachers in NSW public schools. Technology infrastructure in schools is not adequate to implement this project, according to the NSWTF. See report in Educare News, May 2004 and the union's earlier media statement.
Launch of the National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership
On 3 June 2004, the National Institute of Quality Teaching and School Leadership (NIQTSL) was launched by the Hon. Dr Brendan Nelson MP, Minister for Education, Science and Training. The Australian Government has provided $10 million towards the establishment and operation of the Institute, which will be based in Canberra at the Australian National University. Media release.
Innovation in education through Notschool.net pilot in NZ
From July, 100 students in Auckland and Wellington, who are not engaging or achieving well in mainstream education, will be involved in a $2.5 million, two-year Notschool.net pilot programme. Notschool.net is an exciting approach to learning, with a track record of improving outcomes for significantly disadvantaged students, according to Education Minister Trevor Mallard. Ministerial Media Statement, 9 June 2004.
Reading and writing receive more help in NZ
New Zealand students' literacy and numeracy skills are to be supported through the development of a new version of the asTTle (Assessment Tools for Teaching and Learning), Education Minister Trevor Mallard has announced. Ministerial Media Statement, 9 June 2004.
Showcase awards spotlight outstanding State school programs in Queensland
A wilderness trek, a German immersion program and highly trained dogs working with students with disabilities are among 71 innovative school programs honoured in an annual awards program.
Towards a Tasmanian Year 12 Completion Certificate
The Tasmanian Government is seeking feedback on the establishment of a new Year 12 completion certificate. The Tasmanian Qualifications Authority had released a discussion paper proposing a Year 12 Completion Certificate, which students would receive on completing year 12, provided they satisfied a minimum standard.
WorkCover warns against bullying of staff by principals in Victoria
The Victorian Education Department has been warned to take action, or risk penalties, over alleged bullying by school principals of staff. WorkCover has issued an improvement notice against the Department's northern regional office, following bullying and harassment problems at two schools. See report in The Age, 10 June 2004.
Program receives thumbs up (WA)
The Ribbons of Blue program has received a positive response in an evaluation conducted by the Department of Environment (WA). Ribbons of Blue is a program which promotes community awareness about water quality, and the importance of waterways, groundwater and wetland areas. The program received a positive response from the wider community and schools. Teachers were of the view that the program increased students' environmental awareness, their links with their communities, and their mathematical and writing skills. Students included problem solving and their 'usefulness' to the community as their biggest gains from the program. For more information see School Matters, 14 May 2004.
All students deserve a chance: Minister
The Curriculum Council (WA) will act to prevent school students from claiming 'private candidate' status when sitting the exam for the Western Australian Certificate of Education. It has been alleged that some schools have used that status as a way to improve their overall results. The Education Minister, Alan Carpenter, has instructed the Curriculum Council to take action, warning that school students claiming the status were doing themselves a disservice, as private candidates were not entitled to the same benefits or assessment procedures as school candidates. For more information see Media Statement, 28 May 2004.
Key conference for Global Education: focusing on key issues shaping the world
'New teaching challenges: knowledge and values for a better world' is the theme for the World Vision Education Conference for 2004. Hon. Justice Marcus Einfield, of the Federal Court, is the conference's keynote speaker. Justice Einfeld's address is entitled New World Order: the Human Dimension. The conference, to held on Wednesday, 28 July at the Melbourne Convention Centre, will be chaired by Terry Laidler. For more information see World Vision's 2004 Global Education Conference.
US Education Department Awards Contract for New ERIC
The U.S. Deptartment of Education has awarded a contract to develop and operate a new system for ERIC, the world's largest education database. The new ERIC database will use the latest search and retrieval methods to cull education literature, and give high-quality access to educators, researchers and the general public. See article in Information Today, 29 March 2004.
New Zealand Government spotlights boys' lagging achievement
Boys' academic underachievement in New Zealand secondary schools will be targeted by Education Minister Trevor Mallard, who is setting up an expert panel to review the issue. See Ministerial media release 26 March and
Teaching in the Northern Territory
The Northern Territory Government has set up a Teaching in the Territory website, which includes stories from teachers in the Territory, and current teaching vacancies and information for applicants.
More New Zealand schools to gain broadband access
High speed internet access will be available to a further 423 schools, as a result of seven further contracts signed this week between broadband provider Telecom and the New Zealand Ministry of Education. By early next year, broadband coverage is expected to extend to 2700 schools and 750,000 students nationwide. Broadband is seen as a major support to the effectiveness of teaching, as it by provides access to interactive and multi-media learning resources, as well as video conferencing. See Ministry of Education media release (Scoop.co.nz), 22 March 2004.
Deal on male teaching scholarships
The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission has granted the Catholic Education Office (CEO) a temporary exemption under the Sex Discrimination Act, which will allow it to offer 12 male-only scholarships to university students. The terms of the exemption require the CEO to offer further gender-specific scholarships to 12 females. See articles in The Age and The Australian, 20 March 2004.
Olympic fever paves way for M2006 school participation (Vic)
The Commonwealth Games will be held in Melbourne in March 2006. Victorian schools are being encouraged by the Minister for Education, Lynne Kosky, to begin thinking about their participation in the event, both in and outside of the classroom. A letter from the Minister has been sent to schools asking them to think of ways to introduce the Commonwealth Games into classrooms during 2005-2006. Students will also be invited to participate in the Opening and Closing ceremonies of the event. For more information see Media Release, 5 August 2004.
New remote community school officially opens (WA)
Western Australian Minister for Education and Training Alan Carpenter has officially opened the Yulga Jinna Remote Community School. The $1million dollar school has replaced a one classroom school that was serviced by the School of the Air. The community will have a permanent teacher, and has entered into an accord with the school so that its expectations, culture, values and traditions are reflected in the school's curriculum. For more information see Media Statement, 4 August 2004.
$6.3m gene centre a boon to science education (Vic)
The Gene Technology Access Centre was has been officially opened by the Victorian Government. The new centre is located at University High School, and will allow secondary science students to work alongside postgraduate demonstrators, who are also conducting research into gene technology, genetics and biology. For more information see Media Release, 21 July 2004.
New measures to lift performance of Western Australian public education (WA)
Western Australian principals and new teachers in metropolitan areas will be appointed for five year terms from 2005. The appointments will be renewable for principals after their expiry of the first term, but they can expect to be moved to another school after their second appointment. The authority to employ school staff will also be devolved to school principals, as the State moves away from a centralised process of hiring teachers. Teachers who have existing permanent appointments at schools will not be affected by the reforms, which will be phased in over a period of three years. For more information see Media Statement, 8 July 2004.
School Based Management review released (ACT)
A review of the ACT's School Based Management (SBM) system has found that it has operated effectively and in the interests of schools and students. The views of school principals, registrars and board chairs were sought in the review, which made recommendations in the areas of systems and monitoring; training and development; contracted services to schools; tools to assist schools; and specialist support. For more information see Media Release, 13 July 2004.
Government welcomes report (ACT)
The ACT Government has welcomed the release of In their own words...experiences of ACT children and young people in care. The report, which documents the stories, expereinces and observations of 18 young people in care in the ACT, was compiled by the CREATE foundation, and makes 53 recommendations for changes to 'out of home care' in the ACT. For more information see the Minister's Media Release, 5 July 2004 and CREATE's Press Release, 5 July 2004.
Blair faces backlash on 'foundation schools' in UK
Britain's National Union of Teachers is opposing plans for a dramatic increase in the number of business-sponsored city academies, which will give more school principals greater control over teachers' pay and conditions. See report 5 July 2004 in the Guardian.
NSW state school outings face teacher ban
Teachers in public schools may refuse to take school excursions, and run after-school activities or sporting events that are not part of the curriculum, as part of their campaign against State Government moves to give principals more power. See article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 5 July 2004.
Language study tours
Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowships are a Commonwealth Government study programme that helps language teachers develop their linguistic proficiency by obtaining in-country, cultural experience. Fellowship holders will be able to study in Chile, China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy or Japan during January 2005, and have many of their expenses covered by the Fellowship. Applications for 2005 close 2 July 2004. For more information, see School Matters, 11 June 2004, and visit the Department of Education, Science and Training website.
WA teachers first to FLOTE online
FLOTE (Facilitating the Learning of Languages Other Than English) is an online learning resource for teachers of Languages Other than English (LOTE), which was funded by the Commonwealth Government and developed by Murdoch University in 2002. The online course has allowed Western Australian teachers to improve their professional learning, or train as language specialists, without having to find the time in their busy schedules, or sacrifice holidays, to physically attend courses. For more information see School Matters, 11 June 2004.
Government schools improve for third year running (WA)
The amount of suspensions and exclusions from Western Australian schools has declined by 34.5 per cent since 1997. The decrease in suspensions has been accompanied by a decrease in the total number of days for which students were suspended from schools. The Government attributes this trend to its Behaviour Management and Discipline Strategy, which will be extended during 2004-2005 to include 200 primary schools and 30 additional secondary schools. For more information see Media Statement, 29 June 2004.
Attack launched on child poverty (NZ)
NZEI RouRou reports that the New Zealand Government's Working for Families policy will see more assistance for low and middle income families. Part of this assistance will come through subsidies for pre-school and after-school care, which will take effect in October 2004. For more information see NZEI RouRou, 1 June 2004.
Schools in US city to use new math methods
In the USA, the new Investigations in Number, Data and Space curriculum is being used in the town of Rochester. The program encourages primary students to solve problems themselves instead of simply absorbing and practising procedures. See report in the Deomocrat and Chronicle 20 June 2004.
New offer gives ACT teachers the edge
The ACT Education Minister has urged teachers to accept the latest pay offer from the government. The new offer will see increases in teachers' salaries of between 15.5 per cent and 18.87 per cent. The ACT Government's overall salary package also includes more support for beginning teachers, teacher scholarships and an increase in professional development funds. For more information see Media Release, 23 June 2006.
WA surging ahead in skills training
The National Centre for Vocational Education Research (NCVER) report, Apprentices and Trainees March quarter 2004, showed that the number of apprentices and trainees in Western Australia has increased by almost 40 per cent since 2001. The figure grew from 18,800 in March 2001 to 26,200 in March of this year. For more information see Media Statement, 18 June 2004.
NSW teachers strikes
NSW teachers have called off threatened industrial action, following Treasurer Michael Egan's decision to fully fund their 12 per cent pay rise in this week's State budget, rather than drawing on general Education Department funding. See report in The Australian, 24 June 2004.
ACDE Excellence in Education Journalism Awards
The Australian Council of Deans of Education (ACDE) has made annual awards to Australian journalists for Excellence in Education Journalism since 1996. The awards are open to all journalists in the print and electronic media. In 2004, the awards are again proudly sponsored by the Department of Education, Science and Training. Entries close Friday, 20 August 2004.
Minister vows to fix curriculum woes in Ontario, Canada
Ontario's Education Minister is promising to fix problems with the curriculum in the state's high schools, in an effort to lower the dropout rate. The government says there's overwhelming evidence that students in the applied programs are having trouble with the curriculum introduced in 1999. A study shows up to 48,000 Ontario students, or about 30 per cent, will not have enough credits to graduate. Ottowa Citizen, 8 June 2004.
Created in 1996, the United Nations Cyberschoolbus may be new to many Australian and New Zealand readers. It is the online education component of the Global Teaching and Learning Project, that produces high quality teaching materials both online and in print, and activities designed for educational use at primary, intermediate and secondary school levels and for training teachers. The UN Cyberschoolbus captures the growing potential of the Internet as an educational tool and provides an effective medium with which to disseminate information and resources about international affairs, as well as bring together diverse communities of students and educators from around the world.
WELLspring: health, resilience and well-being for younger primary students
WELLspring is an initiative designed to meet the needs and interests of primary schools for information on health, resilience and well-being for younger students. It is a joint project of the Australian Principals Associations Professional Development Council (APAPDC) and the Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA).
Principals welcome equity moves (Vic)
Victorian principals have welcomed new equity funding proposals advanced by Professor Richard Teese of the University of Melbourne. The proposals, which recommend funding individual students and targetting 'multiple causes of disadvantage', will allow principals more flexibility than the current equity funding model. For more information see Education Times, 29 July 2004.
Record turnout as principal for a day goes national (Vic)
Principal for a Day builds relationships between schools and the general community, by hosting community and business leaders as 'principals' in State schools. When the Principal for a Day program started in Victoria in 2001, it attracted 20 business and community leaders. The number of participants this year has risen to 140, and the program is now implemented in New South Wales, ACT and Queensland. The program allows leaders in the community to become more informed about schools education, and makes valuable links for individual schools in the business sector. For more information see Media Release, 18 August 2004.
Teachers urged to register as private tutors
Teachers are being urged to register as private tutors to earn extra money after hours under the Australian Government's plan to offer parents a $700 tutorial grant for struggling children. The New South Wales Government is also in discussions to set up after-hours homework classes in schools. See report in The Australian, 10 August 2004.
National Science Week 2004
National Science Week, August 14 to 22 2004, is featuring more than 2000 activities, events, contests and happenings in all States and Territories. This celebration of science provides opportunities to delve into how things work, explore the universe and even to glimpse the future.
National Literacy and Numeracy Week
National Literacy and Numeracy Week, 30 August-5 September 2004, is an Australian Government initiative conducted in conjunction with the States and Territories to celebrate the fine work being done in schools and communities throughout the country to improve literacy and numeracy skills. National Literacy and Numeracy Week celebrates and acknowledges the progress Australia's schools, teachers, parents, families and the community have made towards raising the literacy and numeracy levels of all Australians.
Australian Government allocates $1.8 million to primary science education
The Australian Government is investing almost $2 million to strengthen the skills of, and provide better tools for, primary school teachers hoping to increase their students' exposure to science. The Australian Academy of Science will develop new teaching materials that will enable primary teachers to present scientific concepts in an engaging and interesting way. State and Territory education authorities and teacher professional associations will assist in the development of the Project. See MInisterial Media Release, 4 August 2004.
Victorian principals boycott staff survey
Hundreds of principals have refused to issue a new Victorian Government survey asking teachers to judge how well their principal has performed. See report in The Age, 5 August 2004.
ACT and Victorian schools implement Kahootz multimedia software
Kahootz is a software package developed by the Australian Children's Television Foundation, and it has recently being introduce into ACT and Victorian schools. Kahootz is a set of 3D multimedia tools, combining a CD-ROM and an active online community. Kahootz students and teachers can publish their work, exchange and share information, and collaborate with other schools in the Kahootz around the world. Kahootz allows students and teachers to be designers, inventors and storytellers, by using a set of 3D effect tools that enables students to develop their own 3D multimedia creations. See ACT Ministerial Media Release, 22 July 2004 and Victorian Government Media Release, 10 August 2004.
New science portal includes teacher PD material
A new school science website contains professional development material for teachers, as well as classroom resources for students. ScienceLynx, run by Curriculum Corporation, has been funded as a science web portal for an initial three year period.
School leadership visits show good practice in Indigenous education
The Principal Visitation program is designed to give school leaders the opportunity to see first-hand examples of good practice in Indigenous education within their home State or Territory. Members of principals' associations affiliated to the Australian Principals Associations Professional Development Council (APAPDC) are eligible to participate, with preference given to those whose schools are part of the Dare to Lead Coalition.
Scholarships for Career Teachers/Advisers
The Commonwealth Minister for Education, Science and Training, Dr Brendan Nelson, has announced funding for 54 scholarships for School Career Advisers to participate in study or industry placements. The scholarships are open to teachers who are currently employed by their school or college and who are working as, or have worked within the past 24 months, as Career Teachers/Advisers. Applications close October 29, 2004. For further information contact Curriculum Corporation. Application forms will be available online from the Department of Education, Science and Training.
The Critics' Choice 2004 (NSW)
The Critics' Choice is a New South Wales curriculum initiative, complete with lesson plans and online video clips, which encourages students to engage with the anti-smoking message. In a classroom excercise, students critique anti-smoking advertisements from around the world, and they are asked to choose the one they found most effective, and to give their reasons for its effectiveness. This exercise helps them to deconstruct advertisements, and discover the marketing approaches to which they may be most prone. Students may also enter their evaluation in a competition, which closes on 13 October 2004. For more information see the Department of Education and Training website.
NSW State Literacy Strategy Evaluation
The State Literacy Strategy Evaluation evaluates the State Literacy Strategy which was implemented in New South Wales Schools between 1997 and 2003. The document contains the results of the evaluation, and makes recommendations for literacy initiatives in the forthcoming five year period. For more information see Department of Education and Training website
East Gippsland site chosen for rural learning centre (Vic)
Year 9 Victorian students will benefit from a new rural learning centre which will be built near the mouth of the Snowy River at Marlo. The new centre will be able to house sixty students for nine week periods, and will play a key role in broadening students' experiences beyond the classroom. It's anticipated that students will learn how to work collaboratively, develop leadership skills, and engage with rural and environmental concerns. For more information see Media Release, 27 July 2004.
Outstanding teachers and TAFEWA lecturers in the running to win $25,000 (WA)
Nominations for the last round of the Premier's Teacher of the Year Award will close on Friday, 27 August. Eighteen primary and secondary teachers, and eight TAFE Lecturers were each awarded $1000 after winning the previous round of nominations. All round winners are eligible to win the $25,000 Premier's Teacher of the Year Award. For more information and nomination details see Media Statement and Premier's Teacher of the Year Award 2004.
ACT government schools cut water use
ACT schools have reduced their water consumption since the introduction of water restrictions in December 2002. Schools were able to reduce their consumption by as much as 50 per cent, when water restrictions were at their most severe during Stage Three restrictions. With the assistance of the Department of Education and Training, schools have reduced their water use by limiting the total amount of water reliant areas in the school, sharing local sportsgrounds, and introducing ways to reduce water flow rates as part of their school maintenance programs. For more information, see Media Release, 31 July 2004.
Australian Government Rural and Remote Health Professional Scholarship Scheme
Considerable barriers, both physical and financial, exist for rural and remote health professionals who wish to continue their professional development. This Postgraduate Scholarship Scheme, an Australian Government initiative, provides funding for eligible members of the rural and remote health professional workforce to support the maintenance and upgrading of skills and knowledge relevant to the needs of their local community. Applications close 17 September 2004. More details are available from SARRAH.
ACDE Excellence in Education Awards
The 2004 ACDE Excellence in Education Journalism Awards close on 20 August. The awards are open to all journalists in the print and electronic media, and entry is free. The awards recognise quality journalism in any of the educational sectors. More details and an application form are available via the Australian Council of Deans of Education.
Connected Learning: the power of ICT in the Curriculum (WA)
Connected Learning: the power of ICT in the Curriculum is a conference for K-12 Western Australian school teachers who want to explore new ways and ideas for using ICT in their classrooms. The Keynote speaker is Jamie Mackenzie, a leading thinker on the use of ICT in schools, and its capacity to change teaching and learning into a more student centred experience. The conference is sponsored by the Curriculum and Information Communication Technology (ICT) Directorates, Department of Education and Training Western Australia. It will be held at the Perth Convention Exhibition Centre from 23-24 Septemberr 2004. For more information see Connected Learning: the power of ICT in the curriculum.
Science by email for teachers
Science by Email is a free electronic newsletter for primary and secondary science teachers circulated by the CSIRO. The newsletter keeps science teachers up to date with their subject area, and contains practical suggestions for experiments. For more information see Education Views, 18 June 2004, and Science by Email.
Victorian students staying on track: Kosky
The On Track initiative tracks students for a five year period after their completion of Year 12. It is designed to gather data on a school-by-school basis, which provides a profile of the kind of education, training and job options students are likely to explore after secondary school. Education Minister Lynne Kosky released the results of the survey conducted after the first year of the initiative, which show that 70 per cent of students are continuing in education and training, 6 per cent are in an apprenticeship and 24 per cent are either in employment or looking for work. The most troubling statistic, according to Kosky, is that the proportion of rural students who have deferred further study is almost double that of metropolitan students. For more information see Media Release, 26 July 2004.
Minister launches school excellence website for teachers (ACT)
The School Excellence Initiative website has been launched by the ACT Minister for Education, Katy Gallagher. The website is the online presence of the School Excellence Initiative, and provides teachers and schools with the tools to assess their programs, as well as examples of best practice. For more information see Media Release, 26 July 2004, and visit the School Excellence Initiative website.
Figures support rorting concern (WA)
The Western Australian Minister for Education, Alan Carpenter, has observed that there has been a decline in the number of school-aged students applying to sit the Tertiary Entrance Examinations (TEE) as private candidates in 2004. The number of school-aged private candidates has dropped from 1,183 in 2003 to 236 in 2004. Earlier this year, a private school was found to have encouraged some of its students to sit the exam as private candidates in order to protect its academic reputation. For more informations see Media Statement, 26 July 2004.
Victorian teachers and principals at underperforming schools face dismissal
A number of Victorian principals have been asked to leave or to dismiss some of their staff as part of a State Government plan to improve performance in struggling schools. See report in The Age 3 July 2004.
Exam anonymity aids assessment (WA)
The use of pin numbers in place of student names on English examination papers has been proposed by the Post-Compulsory Assessment and Performance Project. This move would allow for anonymity, assisting in the objective marking of examinations and the provision of quality feedback. Several Western Australian secondary schools have trialled this strategy for the mid-semester exams, coupled with the use of an external marker. For further information email firstname.lastname@example.org
Director-General launches 2004-2008 Strategic Plan (Qld)
On 31 August 2004, the Director-General hosted an information session at Education House, highlighting the Department's new 2004-2008 Strategic Plan. The Plan describes the steps that the Department will take over the next four years to fulfil its vision of ensuring that all students have access to a high quality education sector in Queensland. For more information relating to the Education Strategic Plan, email email@example.com
New management system at cutting edge of technology (Qld)
A new statewide school information management system is being developed which will link Queensland's 1292 State schools, and more effectively manage student administration and school finances. Tenders are being encouraged from the information technology sector to design, implement and operate the new multi-million dollar information management system. The tender can be downloaded from the Queensland Government Marketplacewebsite.
$50 million facelift for Victoria's Schools (Vic)
Victorian schools' maintenance budgets will be boosted by at least 22 per cent, as a result of a $50 million allocation for asphalting, roofing, electrical and plumbing works from the Victorian Government. An audit of school maintenance will also be conducted in June 2005, which will be followed by the introduction of a new 'compliance and accountability' system regarding school maintenance. For more information see Media Release, 10 September 2004.
Managing director appointed (WA)
Jeff Gunningham has been appointed managing director of overseas operations for TAFEWA, and international education in State schools. Gunningham has previously been Chief Executive Officer of Central Gippsland Inistitute of TAFE in Victoria, before working in TAFEWA. For more information see Media Statement from Alan Carpenter, 10 September 2004.
Diabetes in the School
Diabetes Australia has launched an information pack to help schools better manage students with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes in the School is designed for teachers and staff, and provides information about the disease, such as how to manage diabetes during hypos, dealing with sick days at school, monitoring diet, preparing for school excursions, exercising at school and the effects of drugs and alcohol. The pack is easy to use and includes a flip chart, poster, a medical alert card and a note for parents. It provides clear instructions on how to avoid problems and how to treat any diabetes emergencies in the school. Packs can be requested from Diabetes Australian NSW on 1300 136 588.
Essential Learnings for All in Tasmania
The Essential Learnings for All initiative in Tasmania now has a website that will serve as the key reference point for all documents. Regular email advice will be provided to all principals and managers on updates to the site. Essential Learnings for All is a package of sweeping changes designed to give local school communities more authority, more
Laptop rollout for teachers in Northern Territory
Remote teachers will be among the first to benefit from the current rollout of laptop computers in the Northern Territory. Education Minister Syd Stirling has announced that all 2200 classroom teachers in government schools will receive the new equipment over the next few weeks. The $4.8 million project will also provide teacher training and helpdesk services. See report in inForm (NT DEET) August 2004.
Changes to school staffing policy in Western Australia
From next year, all government school principals in Western Australia will be able to select their own staff. Appointments for teachers in all city schools, and for all principals, will be for renewable five-year terms. Local selection has already been operating in 128 Government schools across the State; the remaining 650 schools have been staffed through a centralised process. See media statement by Education Minister Alan Carpenter 8 July 2004, and School Matters 20 August 2004.
Grants for financial literacy
Next year secondary schools with students in Years 7-10 have the opportunity to receive $3,500 grants for financial literacy from the Commonwealth Bank Foundation. The grants are intended to develop financial skills and awareness. The grant program has been developed by Business Educators Australasia and the Commonwealth Bank Foundation. Applications close 17 September 2004.
Time for a rural teaching seachange (Vic)
Government schools in rural and regional Victoria will receive up to $20,000 to employ relief teachers and pay for staff training courses under the Rural Retraining Program which begins in 2005. The program is aimed at attracting more teachers to country schools, and training country teachers to teach in difficult to staff subjects. For more information see Media Release, 20 August 2004.
ACT Assessment Program (ACTAP) 2003: writing benchmark results
The ACT Minister for Education, Katy Gallagher, has released the results of the ACTAP Years 3 and 5 writing benchmark evaluation. The results indicate that students in both Year levels had improved on the 2002 performance, with 94 per cent of Year 3 and 93 per cent of Year 5 students attaining the writing benchmark for their Year level. The data also revealed that the achievement gap between male and female students was narrowing, and that the overall performance of Indigenous students was higher than in 2002. For more information, see Media Release, 24 August 2004.
Strengthening opportunities for all young people in the ACT
The ACT Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Katy Gallagher, has announced the release of Strengthening Opportunities for all Young People in the ACT, a coordinated set of plans which will influence government policy and the provision of services for ACT young people over the next four years. The documents include: The Young People's Plan; Blueprint for Young People at Risk; ACT Government Commitment to Young People; and The Action Plan for Young People. Educators will find the ACT Government Commitment to Young People 2004-2008, which deals with education and training for young people, of immediate relevance. For more information see Media Release, 11 August 2004.
ACER values study reports parents' comparisons of state and private schools
Parents, increasingly, prefer private over state schools, for reasons of discipline, tradition, moral values and quality school uniforms, according to a national study by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The report has investigated the views of over 600 parents with children in secondary schools. About 34% of government school parents would transfer their children to private schools if not for the cost. Their reasons include a desire for smaller class sizes and better teaching. However, report author Adrian Beavis has noted that government schools average smaller classes and pay closer attention to teacher quality. See article in The Age, 9 August 2004.
Fixing our schools: $65 million to clear maintenance backlog (WA)
The Western Australian Government will allocate $65 million to school maintenence over the next four years. There is currently a backlog of repairs waiting to be carried out on the 800 State schools in Western Australia, and it's anticipated that the funding allocation will address all of those maintenance requirements. For more information see Media Statement, 8 August 2004.
Cost-cutting proposed for NSW schools
The New South Wales Government has said it will offer school principals the option of having 'basic' rather than a 'full' cleaning to save money. Changes to the Government's schools cleaning contract are due to take effect next year. Representatives from the NSW Department of Commerce have travelled around the state in recent weeks to explain the proposal to potential tenderers, community representatives and schools. Some have suggested that, under the reduced cleaning coverage, parents could assist with school cleaning. See report in The Australian, August 11 2004.
ACT Launch of Online Curriculum Content for Schools
The ACT Government is to introduce a CD ROM of digital curriculum content, developed by The Le@rning Federation, for use in all ACT schools. It is one of the first jurisdictions in Australia to launch new digital curriculum content developed by The Le@rning Federation, which is an initiative of the Australian, New Zealand, and State and Territory governments.
$3.2 million for gifted and talented education
The Australian Government has announced a $3.2 million package to assist teacher educators and classroom teachers to support gifted and talented education. This initiative follows the Senate Committee Report, The Education of Gifted Children. See Ministerial media release, 5 August 2004.
Australian Government plan for early childhood education
Access to preschool for all children, a common national preschool curriculum and home visits by community nurses to all new parents will be promoted in the Australian Government's plan to maximise childhood opportunities. See report in the Sydney Morning Herald, 6 August 2004.
education.au and New Zealand Ministry of Education sign Memorandum of Understanding
education.au limited, a national, not-for-profit Information and Communications Technology (ICT) agency, owned by the Ministers for Education and Training in Australia, has announced a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the New Zealand Ministry of Education (www.minedu.govt.nz). The aims of the MoU are to work collaboratively on projects of key benefit to both organisations and their education and training communities, to maximise the benefits of Information Communication Technologies in education and training, and to foster and support the development of a network between New Zealand and Australian school systems. For more information email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
England's school calendar to be split into six terms
England's school calendar is to be split into six terms from next September, after unanimous endorsement of the change by leaders of England's 150 local education authorities. The move will allow students to receive key academic results before they seek places in tertiary courses. See article in the Independent: Education.
Junior Landcare Grants Program
Landcare Australia and Mitre 10 have recently developed the Mitre 10 Junior Landcare Grants Program. This program provides funds for schools and youth groups across Australia wishing to participate in environmental projects. Through the Mitre 10 Junior Landcare Grants Program, any school or organisation that would like to involve their students in landcare projects, in conjunction with local landcare groups, can apply for grants to assist them with the cost of their projects.
Diabetes school pack
Diabetes Australia has produced a Diabetes in the School package to help teachers and staff to feel more comfortable about having a child with Type 1 diabetes in their care and to ensure that the student with diabetes feels safe at school. It also provides reassurance for parents of the child or teenager with diabetes.
New initiative to boost employment opportunities for young people (WA)
The School Apprenticeship Link program, which will see Year 11 students take up apprenticeships while still at school, will be trialled in five Western Australian education districts in 2005. With the changing needs of industry and the requirement for young people to stay at school longer, there is a need for a better relationship between the educational engagement of young people and their employment futures. The apprenticeships will be available in the areas of building and construction, automotive, metals engineering, and food. For more information see Media Statement, 26 August 2004.
Students' Parliament tackles the big issues (Vic)
The Victorian Legislative Assembly is currently hosting the Students' Parliament. The forum, attended by 100 students from across the school sectors, gives young people a political voice, and will consider issues such as drugs in sport, whaling and surveillance cameras in public spaces. For more information see Media Release, 1 September 2004.
Victorian private schools to face new accountability measures
Victorian Education Minister Lynne Kosky has proposed major changes to the registration requirements for private schools, which are now expected to face the same curriculum and performance standards as government schools. An independent body is to control private school registration. See
Online mapping of ICT skills in revised Years 7-10 syllabuses (NSW)
The Board of Studies (NSW) has made the ICT skills contained in the Years 7-10 compulsory courses available on its website. The ICT skills are mandatory in Stages 4 and 5 syllabuses, and this 'online mapping' is intended to assist teachers in planning units of work, by clearly denoting the ICT skills that students need to achieve. For more information see Board Bulletin, vol.13, no. 2, May 2003.
Carpenter dumps pupil free days (WA)
Western Australian Education Minister Alan Carpenter has moved the three professional development days, which teachers had during school term, to the end of the year. When added to the two professional development days already allotted at the end of the year, this decision will lengthen school holidays for students by a week, thereby eliminating the need for parents to hastily find and pay for childcare in an ad hoc fashion during school terms. For more information see Media Statement, 20 May 2004.
Literacy coupon plan finds critics
State governments have challenged the Australian Government's plans to ban parents, whose children's schools do not report results against national benchmarks, from getting $700 worth of literacy vouchers for Year 3 students. See reports, 20 May 2004, in The Australian and The Age.
Input sought for curriculum reform (Vic)
The Victorian Minister for Education, Lynne Kosky, released the VCAA (Victorian Curriculum Assessment Authority) Curriculum Reform Consultation Paper at an invitational seminar on curriculum reform. The VCAA has been charged with developing an 'essential learning' curriculum framework for Prep to Year 10, which, while emphasing literacy and numeracy outcomes, will seek to retain the 'core discipline concepts' and aim to increase students' 'depth of understanding' of the core subjects. For more information see Education Times, 22 April 2004.
Environment Day awards open (VIC)
Schools are encouraged to submit their nominations for the United Nations of Australia National World Environment Day Awards. Projects developed over the past year in primary and secondary schools, which examine and promote environmental issues at the local level, may be eligible for the Global 500 Education Award. Nominations close 12 May 2004. For more information see Education Times, 22 April 2004.
Partnering agreement reaches out to out-of-home students (VIC)
Bridget Mcmanus reports, in Education Times, that the Parnering Agreement between the Department of Education and Training (Vic) and the Department of Human Services, which attempts to improve the educational outcomes of children in care, will begin in June 2004. By that time, the 4000 or so students in care will have a personalised education plan. Children in care have particular emotional and behavioural problems which mitigate against educational achievement. The Partnering Agreement will seek to overcome or lessen the effects of these problems on their education. For more information see Education Times, 22 April 2004.
Children 'must learn about death'
British schools are being asked to teach pupils more about death to help them cope with the loss of a family member. A child is bereaved of a parent every 30 minutes in Britain, leaving 70 per cent of schools to deal with related problems at any time. See report from BBC News, 4 May 2004.
Religious Education framework published in UK
Atheism and other secular philosophies can be taught to children aged over six if schools decide it is appropriate, according to recently published national religious education guidelines. The framework has no legal force but is intended as a guide for local education authorities in England, which have to draw up study programmes for their local schools. It has been backed by the major Christian denominations, the Muslim Council of Britain and the Board of Deputies of British Jews. See article in The Scotsman, 26 April 2004.
Use of antidepressant drugs by children grows in Australia and USA
Use of antidepressants by Australian children and adolescents soared during 2003, with an increasing number of doctors prescribing drugs that Australian health authorities explicitly warn should not be given to children. Meanwhile the prescription of antidepressant drugs to preschoolers is growing rapidly in the United States. According to one estimate, twice as many preschoolers are being prescribed antidepressants today than just five years ago. The development is touching off a new controversy over whether doctors should be prescribing mood-altering drugs to toddlers at all. See reports in The Age April 26 and the Christian Science Monitor April 8, 2004.
New humanities advocacy group
The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASSM) is new advocacy group representing the interests of researchers and educators in the humanities, arts and social sciences. It is due to be launched in June this year.
New arts initiative in South Australia
ARTSsmart is a strategy for arts education in South Australian schools, 2003 to 2006. It is the first strategy for arts education in the state and is designed to cater for children and young people from birth to Year 12. ARTSsmart was developed by a taskforce comprising representatives from DECS, Arts SA and the arts industry, in consultation with arts educators and practitioners across the State.
Draft Education and the Arts strategy released
The Australia Council has released a draft National Education and the Arts strategy, aimed at fostering an environment in which the arts are an integral part of every Australian child's education. The draft Strategy, the first of its kind for Australia, has been developed in consultation with the National Education and the Arts Network (NEAN). The Australia Council is seeking input, due by 7 May 2004. A series of capital cities forums are being held. The Strategy will be implemented in partnership with the Australian, state and territory governments. See further details from the Australia Council.
New Minister for DECs (SA)
Hon. Dr Jane Lomax-Smith was appointed Minister for Education and Children's Services in on 5 March. Elected to the South Australian Parliament in 2002, Dr Lomax-Smith has formely held the portfolios of Science and Information Economy, Employment, Training and Further Education, and Small Business. Dr Lomax-Smith replaces Hon. Trish White, who has been appointed Minister for Transport, Urban Development and Planning, and Science and Information Economy. For more information see Xpress, 25 March 2004.
Leaving age change 'inevitable' (WA)
The consultation process to consider changes to the school leaving age in Western Australia will begin in Albany in April. Alan Carpenter, the Western Australian Education Minister, announced an intention to raise the school leaving age in 2002, and will now support that intention with a $1 million dollar community consultation strategy. As well as being able to forward written submissions, members of the community will have an opportunity to raise their concerns and views at forums across the State. Those wanting to make written submissions are invited to obtain a 'written submission package' by visiting the Minister's website, or the Department of Education and Training website. For more information see School Matters, 2 April 2004.
Internet rollout continues in schools (WA)
Western Australian schools are having their Internet access upgraded to broadband, to allow for speedier and better Internet service. Thus far, 270 schools have been upgraded, with a further 150 shortly due to receive the new service. The new connection would mean that some schools, with modem activated services, will no longer need to cache websites for student use, as browsing the Internet will no longer be as time consuming for students. Firewalls, virus checks and better filters are also part of the broadband upgrade. For more information see School Matters, 2 April 2004.
Major longitudinal study in the USA on the impact of environment on children
The United States Government is organising the largest study of U.S. children ever undertaken. The study will track 100,000 childern during prenatal development to age 21, to increase understanding of how the environment affects children's health. The National Children's Study, ordered by Congress in 2000, is set to begin in 2006, and is expected to cost of $2.7 billion. See report by Associated Press (msnbc.msn.com), 6 April 2004.
Tories would shrink Britain's school curriculum
Britain's Conservative Party have pledged to reduce the size of the national curriculum as art of an overhaul of the education system. See report from ePolitix.com, 11 April 2004.
ERIC Clearinghouses close in USA
The US Department of Education has closed the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC). The 38 year-old system, which serves researchers and policy makers, consists of 16 subject-based clearinghouses, or information distribution centres, and has archived more than a million reports, studies, and other education-related documents. ERIC is to be replaced with a more centralized system that operates similarly to popular, commercial Internet search engines such as Yahoo or Google. During the transition, users can still get the documents in the ERIC system through its central database. See report, 14 January 2004, in Education Week (free via registration)
Young Greenies in national win (Qld)
The 2004 Hands on for Habitat national award, coordinated by the Federal Department of Environment and Heritage and sponsored by Totally Wild, went to Years 1 and 2 students attending Queensland's Thornlie Primary School. The competition aims to raise awareness of the growing number of native fauna on the endangered wildlife list. The winning students focused on the bilby and its habitat for their entry, designing an eye-catching and informative poster. Thornlie Primary School is now enjoying a $4000 environmental makeover as part of their prize. The school plans to return the native bushland on the school site back to its original state, with the removal of weeds and debris.
Science, maths on new funding agenda (WA)
Perth's four major universities have received a grant of $800,000 from the State Government. This grant aims to encourage science and mathematics undergraduates to participate in the peer support mentor program, which is run in conjuction with Western Australian government schools. It is anticipated that mentoring in these subject areas may boost student interest in science based disciplines, perhaps leading students to consider a related career. Secondary schools interested in the peer support mentor program can contact Ian Carroll on 08 9264 5012 or email email@example.com.
New anti-bullying project underway (Vic)
A study into bullying in Victorian Government schools is expected to will review anti-bullying policies and practices in schools, contribute to the Education Department's revision of its policies on bullying, and establish best practice for schools in their addressing of the issue. For more information see Media Release, 13 September 2004.
New Master of School Leadership course at Univerity of Melbourne
The Master of School Leadership degree offered by the University of Melbourne has recently been launched in response to changing priorities in the school sector, including the Blueprint for Government Schools initiative of the Victorian Government. The course is intended to provide critical exploration of different conceptual frameworks and policy understandings, and to shape work practices that are informed by current research.
It's not OK to be away resources pack
The Managing Attendance Parent Pack (MAPP) has been produced by a range of schools in the Mornington Peninsula network of schools in Victoria, including Eastbourne Primary School and Mornington Secondary College. The package aims to give parents and caregivers support, advice and access to schools and community groups, to enlist their help in dealing with student absenteeism.
Call to ban advertising of junk food in Britain
British teachers have called for a clampdown on 'pernicious' junk food advertising aimed at children. The National Union of Teachers says poor diet is causing obesity and ill-health among youngsters - and it wants tighter controls on food advertising. The call follows a government decision to revise nutritional standards for school meals in England. See report on BBC News 7 September 2004.
British teachers 'not happy' with parents
Most British teachers think parents are not involved enough with their children's education and expect too much of schools, according to a survey by Reader's Digest. The survey found that 92% of teachers felt parents should tell their children to do more study; 80% would like the clear right to refuse to teach the most disruptive pupils; and many thought that parents' poor behaviour had a knock-on effect in the classroom. Three out of four said they resented spending time ensuring homework was completed, claiming it was families' responsibility. See report by BBC News 7 September 2004.
China incorporates sexual knowledge into school curriculum
China has incorporated sexual and reproduction knowledge into the formal school curriculum, oultined in the recently published Population and Development Country Report. China's 323 million young people aged 10 to 24 have experienced an earlier age of sexual and psychological maturity, and young people are now more open toward sex and their sexual ethics are changing. Premarital pregnancies and induced abortions among the young people have been increasing. See report on Xinhuanet 7 September 2004.
Collective employment agreement reached for secondary teachers in NZ
The New Zealand Government has agreed to a three year employment agreement with secondary teachers. The agreement provides for more support and professional development for all teachers and especially beginning teachers; the development of career pathways for classroom teachers, and new advanced practice-based qualifications. See Ministerial media release 31 August 2004.
Funding of $9.7 billion announced for public education and training in NSW Budget
The New South Wales Minister for Education and Training, Dr Andrew Refshauge, has announced a 8.1 per cent increase in the Education and Training allocation for 2004/2005. Much of the increase will fund a pay rise for New South Wales teachers, but class reduction initiatives, capital works and Aboriginal education strategies were also given priority in the Education and Training budget. For more information see Media Release, 22 June 2004.
National recognition (SA)
The Department of Education and Children's Services, South Australia, has won the 2004 Rider Hunt Terotech FM Industry Award for its adherence to ecologically sustainable development principles in the design of the Playford Primary School, Mawson Lakes School and the Australian Science and Mathematics School. For more information see Xpress, 10 June 2004.
Schools plan $$ for student needs (ACT)
ACT Government schools are using a 3.2 million dollar surplus in their discretionary funding to purchase new school buses, smartboards and ICT equipment. The Education Minister, Katy Gallagher, became aware of the surplus in accumulated funds last year, and asked schools to nominate spending requirements. For more information see Media Release, 19 June 2004.
Fears over unqualified teachers in UK
Britain's National Union of Teachers is writing to every school in England and Wales, asking them to use only qualified teachers to take whole classes. This is part of the NUT's campaign against an agreement to cut teachers' workload, signed by the government and most other teacher unions. See report from the BBC Online, 14 June 2004.
The ACT Children's Plan launched
The ACT Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Katy Gallagher MLA, has launched The ACT Children's Plan. The Plan sets out 33 actions, to be completed over the next five years, which are aimed at providing practical support for children and families. Many of the actions are focused on early intervention for children in the first few years of life. The Plan also acknowledges that vulnerable families and children need additional help. See media statement, 15 June 2004.
2005 Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowships
The Endeavour Language Teacher Fellowships are an Australian Government initiative for language teachers, currently working in Australian schools, to improve their language and cultural skills through an intensive, short-term, in-country study programme. For 2005, Fellowships are being offered to Chile, China, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Japan. Primary and secondary school teachers of Spanish, Chinese, French, German, Greek, Italian and Japanese are invited to apply. Applications opened on Saturday, 5 June 2004, and close on Friday, 2 July 2004.
New tennis school in Victoria
The Victorian Government is building a unique $1 million school, which will cater specifically to up and coming, elite tennis players. The Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky, has announced that a new tennis school for Years 5 to 9 will be built at Box Hill Senior Secondary College. See
Three school violence probes in WA
Violence in Western Australian schools is the subject of three WorkSafe investigations, with schools joining hospitals and healthcare clinics as some of the most dangerous places to work in terms of violence and abuse. WorkSafe has issued 33 notices to schools and TAFE colleges this year, including Calista Primary School and Endeavour Primary School. See report in The West Australian, 28 May 2004.
Commonwealth history PD opportunity (SA)
A professional development program for teachers of History, funded by the Department of Education Science and Training, is currently underway in South Australia. The program, which began in March and is due to be completed in May, is centred around the National Centre for History Education website, and will guide primary and secondary teachers through the new curriculum and professional development materials. For more information see Xtra, 11 March 2004.
Kit to improve farm safety (WA)
It is estimated that, Australia-wide, farm accidents claim the lives of 30 children each year, and about 600 require hospitalisation for injuries resulting from farm accidents over that seem period. The Western Australian Government has released the Family Farm Safety Kit, which is to be used in primary schools across that State. The kit includes teaching materials and teacher's notes to aid schools in combating the incidence of farm accidents in their communities. For more information see School Matters, 3 March 2004, and visit the Consumer and Employment Protection website.
Challenge for young readers (SA)
The Premier's Reading Challenge is aimed at encouraging Reception to Year 9 students to read 12 books between the first term of the school year and 10 September. Students who successfully fulfill this requirement will be awarded a certificate signed by the Premier, Mike Rann. Schools who have an 'outstanding participation rate' will receive books for their libraries. For more information see Xpress, 11 March 2004, and the Premier's Reading Challenge website.
Teachers log on to Markers Online (NSW)
A new Markers Online service allows teachers in New South Wales to apply for Higher School Certificate and School Certificate marking online. The site, Markers Online is part of the Board of Studies' website, and peforms the role of a database, allowing teachers to apply online and check their details, then maintaining a permanent, online record for future reference. Principals will also be able to check the database to see which of their teachers have applied for marking work, so that they can better manage teachers' workloads during marking periods. For more information see Board Bulletin, vol. 13, no. 2, May 2004.
Campaign targets work experience safety (Vic)
WorkCover (Vic), in collaboration with the Department of Education and Training, has developed Look Out for No.1, a resource to increase the workplace health and safety awareness of work experience students. The resource includes a CD-ROM, student workbook and a teacher's guide, and will be distributed to schools. For more information see Education Times, May 6 2004.
Program to improve social skills of young children to be trialled in WA
The Western Australian Government will provide $140,000 to trial an international program aimed at improving the behaviour of young children, as part of its Children First initiative. State Education Minister Alan Carpenter described Roots of Empathy as an innovative classroom-based program, focusing on the development of children's social and emotional capabilities, and giving them the capacity to understand their feelings and the feelings of others. The successful Canadian program will be trialled in Western Australian Government schools next year. See Ministerial media statement, 14 May 2004.
Queensland Government to improve nutrition and fitness of students
The Queensland Government is spending $6.3 million over four years on initiatives to improve the nutrition and fitness of students. Schools are invited to
Stand Out! - Association of Women Educators' National Conference
The 2004 conference is centred around the theme of 'women understanding their role in the global, professional and personal spheres of life'. Anne Summers and Carmen Lawrence will be the keynote speakers, in a three-day conference which will host seminars and workshops on issues affecting women. The conference will be held from 29 September to 1 October 2004. For more information visit the Australian Women Educators website, and see Western Teacher, 30 April 2004.
Boosting technology (SA)
The South Australian Government has awarded scholarships to twelve to teachers to enable them to undertake postgraduate studies in online learning. Twenty-four schools have also received grants to examine the effects of ICT on their teaching and learning environments. All grant and scholarship holders will be required to share their learning and research with other other teachers and schools. For more information, see Xpress, 29 April 2004
NSW teachers plan strike
The NSW Teachers Federation is to go ahead with a 48-hour strike. Union president Maree O'Halloran said the union's executive would decide when the strike would take place at a meeting on Monday. The strike is in response to the NSW government's failure to withdraw its application to the NSW Industrial Relations Commission (IRC) to reopen the teachers' wage case. The Federation's non-government equivalent, the Independent Education Union, has previously signalled that Catholic system school teachers are likely to strike alongside their public school colleagues. See reports in Sydney Morning Herald 17 May and 21 May 2004.
Victorian budget impacts on school education
The Victorian budget will provide additional resources for schools in urban, regional and rural areas of the State. Every government school in Victoria will receive $5500 to improve their school grounds and facilities. The budget provides funding for an extra 250 new teachers. Professional development will also be made available to attract a further 300 qualified teachers back into the workforce. Funding will be provided to retrain up to 150 teachers, where schools have problems in attracting teachers in particular subject areas. Funding will also be allocated for the following: specialist-learning facilities in schools that cater for information technology, science, sport, and art and design; additional bandwidth for 300 government schools; classroom and library improvements for twenty-three schools in rural and regional areas; and support to link schools to community groups and organisations to build new facilities, including community halls, sporting facilities, libraries and technology centres. The budget also identifies schools that will be replaced. See report in the Education Times, 6 May 2004.
Statistics on NSW school completion rates released
School retention rates for 2003, compiled by the New South South Wales Department of Education and Training and the Australian Bureau of Statistics, are summarised by the Sydney Morning Herald, 8 May 2004. Students in parts of Sydney's poorer areas have a greater chance of finishing high school than many of their peers living in the wealthiest suburbs. The NSW Department of Education figures outline a six-year pattern of student retention rates across the State. At some Sydney schools, rates have halved during that period. The Australian Bureau of Statistics 2003 schools report shows that New South Wales is the only State to record a drop in the proportion of 17-year-olds at school over the past decade.
Education Queensland moves to assist teachers' mental health
More than 200 Queensland school teachers received payouts for psychological illnesses in the last financial year. None were believed to be for pre-existing conditions. The causes of the psychological disorders were, mostly, considered to be disruptive or violent students, and interpersonal conflicts in staff rooms or with parents. Education Queensland has undertaken a range of initiatives to reduce psychological disorder related claims from staff. These include moves to expand the number of dedicated field-based teams, interdepartmental consultation with the Industrial Relations portfolio, the appointment of 10 rehabilitation case managers across the state, a review of the employee assistance program and the establishment of an intensive rehabilitation case management pilot program. See report in the Courier-Mail, 10 May 2004.
Queensland teacher registration board to undergo major review
The Queensland Government has approved a comprehensive review of the powers and functions of Queensland's Board of Teacher Registration. The review will examine issues including the criteria for registration, the capacity of the board to recognise other qualifications, renewal of registration and the need for periodic criminal history checks. The review will also look at registration in other States and in other professions. See report in Education Views, 16 April 2004
A new curriculum for ACT schools
Every Chance to Learn, Curriculum Renewal Discussion Paper, was released by the ACT government on 27 April 2004. The discussion paper seeks community involvement in designing a new ACT curriculum. It is anticipated that all responses to the discussion paper will be received by 30 July 2004. For more information see Media Release, 27 April 2004.
Call to curb teenage drinking in New Zealand
Alcohol Healthwatch, a body funded by the New Zealand Health Ministry, is lobbying for a minimum price on all alcoholic drinks to curb teenage consumption of alcopops. Alcopops, or ready to drink spirit mixes (RTDs), now represent 79 per cent of all spirits and spirit-based drinks in New Zealand. See article in The Press, 27 April 2004 (stuff.co.nz)
WA schools head online
UP TO 300,000 students, teachers and administrators could eventually be a part of an online learning system due for trial in Western Australia by mid-year. Thirty schools will take part in the trial of an integrated system including teaching and learning, content management and search functions, which will be piloted for 12 months across primary and high schools. See article in The Australian: IT April 13, 2004.
Additional $351 million funding for Indigenous education
Over the next four years $2.1 billion of Commonwealth funding will be invested in the education of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders. This represents $351 million, a 20% increase over the current four years of spending. The funding will cover an in-class tuition scheme for primary and high school students, a nre tuition scheme to improve retention rates in Years 10, 11 and 12, an initiative to train 700 teachers for remote areas in the Northern Territory. See Ministerial media statement 5 April 2004 and the report in the Education Review 14 April 2004.
National complaints code and hotline for VET
The National Code of Good Practice for Responding to Complaints about Vocational Education and Training Quality (National Complaints Code) provides principles and service standards to enable a nationally consistent approach to handling complaints about training. A National Complaints Hotline has also been established for vocational education and training consumers. Information and support in resolving complaints can be obtained by calling the toll free hotline on 1800 000 674, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Initiatives announced to support Careers Education
Australian Education Minister Brendan Nelson has announced a $4.5 million funding boost from the Australian Government to assist in building professional standards and career opportunities for careers professionals. Commitments include: funding to develop an accreditation scheme for careers practitioners; a three-part professional development package for careers practitioners; and initiatives to strengthen the 216 local community partnerships assisting schools, TAFEs, universities and local industries to advise students on career choices. See Ministerial media statement 16 April 2004. See also
Northern Territory Government releases report on high school system
The Northern Territory Government has released the 52 recommendations of a Report into the Territory's high school system, and is now beginning a process of public consultation. The Report calls for the introduction of middle schools covering Years 7 to 9 which would incorporate dedicated support for students in their early teens. See also news item from ABC News Online April 16, 2004.
Victorian schools well equipped with ICT
Victorian Government schools have more than one computer for every 4 students, the Minister for Education Services, Jacinta Allan, has announced. Since 1999 the Government has supplied almost 100,000 new computers for students and 60,000 notebook computers for teachers. Victoria is the only state in Australia to provide state of the art notebook computers for every teacher, and the only state to provide a comprehensive administrative system (CASES 21). See Ministerial media release.
Prep trial teachers seek help in Queensland
Queensland school teachers are dissatisfied with the limited teacher-aide hours provided for prep year trials, according to a report by the Queensland Early Childhood Consortium of educational experts. Preparatory year teachers were less satisfied than the preschool and Year 1 teachers with the adequacy of teacher-aide time for achieving specific classroom objectives, most notably for promoting social skills, numeracy and literacy, report said. See article in The Courier-Mail 16 April 2004.
Subsidies removed for elite NSW schools
More than 60 of the state's richest private schools have lost their government interest subsidies, foreshadowing a Labor-led crackdown on funding of private education. See
Year 9 tests start in August (WA)
All Year 9 students in Western Australian schools will be tested for English and Mathematics ability in August 2004. The tests will be used to diagnose specific learning difficulties students may have in those key learning areas, and will help determine the best learning stream for individual students prior to Year 12 study. Results will be made available to schools and parents. Schools will also be able to gauge their performance in relation to other schools. Science will be added to this testing regime in 2005, and it is envisaged that abilities in all learning areas will be tested by 2008. For more information see School Matters, 19 March 2004.
Retention rates continue to soar (Vic)
The Schools Australia 2003 report, compiled by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, shows that retention rates to Year 12 in Victorian schools have increased to 81 per cent. The rate, which indicates the proportion of students who choose to stay at school to Year 12 after completing Year 10, has increased from a low of 76.2 per cent in 1999. For more information see Education Times, 11 March 2004.
The missing links: Class size, discipline, inclusion and teacher quality
Jennifer Buckingham of the Centre for Independent Studies has written a response to the Vinson Report on Public Education in New South Wales entitled 'The missing links: Class size, discipline, inclusion and teacher quality'. Buckingham argues that the emphasis on reducing class sizes is misplaced, that the available research on the benefits of smaller class sizes is questionable, and that better outcomes for students can be achieved by improving teacher quality through professional development.
Should Years 11 and 12 be compulsory in Western Australia?
The Western Australian Minister for Education and Training, Alan Carpenter, has raised the issue of making the final years of schooling compulsory for Western Australian students and, thereby, raising the school leaving age. ABC online's Education Forum has the audio coverage of a recent public forum hosted by the minister on the issue.
Victorian teacher enrolment campaign delivers new recruits
A seven-week campaign in Victoria has added 2400 additional qualified teachers to the State Government's teacher staffing database.
Leaving age proposal supported across WA
Through a number of public forums run recently in Margaret River, Education and Training Minister Alan Carpenter has concluded that the proposal to raise the school leaving age to 17 has received strong support across Western Australia. Support for the proposal has come from industry, business leaders, youth groups, local government, schools, and the wider community. Programs are being developed with the Department of Education and Training, industry, local government, and TAFEWA that will complement raising the school leaving age. More details are available on the Raising the School Leaving Age website.
Maths-Science teachers race into class (Qld)
The Beattie Government is introducing a new Math-Science Scholarship program, to afford 25 graduates with a maths-science background the opportunity to fast-track a teaching career in Queensland State schools. The $6000 scholarships, developed in partnership with the Queensland University of Technology, will enable successful candidates the chance to participate in a full-time, accelerated Graduate-entry Bachelor of Education (Secondary) course. For further information, see Education Queensland.
Permanent jobs for graduates (SA)
The State Government will offer permanent jobs to 100 South Australian student teachers who graduate with a teaching degree this year. Jobs will be offered to 60 graduates through the Country Teaching Scholarships, and to a further 40 graduates through the Early Graduate Recruitment Scheme. Last year, 52 graduates were appointed to jobs through the schemes.
Keeping school buses on track (SA)
The Department of Education and Children's Services (SA) is currently trialing the use of Global Positioning Systems on school buses. The system will not only track the vehicle, but also students, through the use of special coded tags. Its anticipated that the system will improve the safety of students who use school buses, and help schools and bus companies to better manage the service. For more information see Xpress, 16 September 2004.
3rd National Australian Indigenous Education Conference
The 3rd National Australian Indigenous Education Conference is to be held in Ballarat from 15 November to 18 November 2004.
WA college of teaching unique in Australia (WA)
The Western Australian College of Teaching was launched on 15 Septemebr 2004. This new body will oversee the registration of every teacher in Western Australia, as well as their professional development and the standards of the profession. It will receive initial, annual funding of $500,000 until June 2006, by which time, it is anticipated, the membership fees will begin to sustain its operations. For more information see Media Statement from Alan Carpenter, 15 September 2004.
Junior Landcare Grants
Schools are being invited to apply for the remaining 2004 Mitre 10 Junior Landcare Grants. The program is one of Australia's largest action-oriented environmental education initiatives. Grants are expected to have a value of up to $500. Successful applicants, in the past, involved the school and broader community, provided determined educational outcomes with an environmental focus, had well-planned projects, linked with a Landcare group and allowed for maximum student involvement.
WA Government schools scoop literacy and numeracy excellence
Western Australian public schools who were part of the Getting Right Literacy and Numeracy Strategy have received national literacy and numeracy awards. Schools received awards ranging from $2000 to $10,000, in the 2004 National Literacy and Numeracy week. A list of the recipients is contained in the Media Statement, 31 August 2004.
WA schools are good PALS
The Partnership, Acceptance, Learning and Sharing (PALS) project is a Western Australian initiative that encourages school students to invlove themselves in projects which contribute to reconciliation, and the understanding of Indigenous culture and heritage. Western Australian winners of the PALS Schools Reconciliation Award were recently announced, and their respective projects are listed and decribed in School Matters, 11 June 2004.
Allan launches schoolyard blitz (Vic)
The Victorian Minister for Education Services, Jacinta Allan, has announced a $10 million funding strategy to improve school grounds. Schools will begin to receive grants of $5,500 in July 2004, which are specifically aimed at helping them to involve their communities in improving their school grounds. For more information see Media Release, 21 June 2004.
Tobacco company tests cigarettes laced with chocolate and vanilla
Britain's largest tobacco company has been testing chocolate and alcohol-flavoured cigarettes, which campaigners say are aimed at enticing children to smoke. British American Tobacco, whose brands include Rothmans and Lucky Strike, has been carrying out scientific trials on animals in Canada. As well as chocolate, wine and sherry, BAT has also experimented with cocoa, corn syrup, cherry juice, maple syrup and vanilla. See article in The Independent, 3 June 2004.
Initiatives target literacy and numeracy in Tasmania
Two major new State Government initiatives will target secondary students experiencing difficulties with literacy and numeracy. The Government has committed $1 million in the State Budget to improve students' skills in those areas. The Restart literacy initiative provides additional funding for an extra nine teachers to be employed to work with Year 7 students in targeted schools throughout the State. The Being Numerate in the Middle Years project will train teachers in best practice in teaching numeracy, in line with the Essential Learnings curriculum framework.
Primary schools to ban poor performers from tests: Vice Chancellor
Pressure to achieve academic success has led some primary schools to ban poor performers from sitting national benchmarking tests, according to University of Western Australia vice-chancellor Alan Robson. Professor Robson's comments follow a report in The Australian last week, which revealed that a Perth secondary college planned to achieve the best possible school ranking by requiring 'struggling or doubtful' students to sit their Year 12 tertiary entrance exams as private candidates, and not in association with the school. See report in The Australian, 1 June 2004.
Report finds that VIT improves teaching
The work of the Victorian Institute of Teaching (VIT) has involved establishing a registration process for new teachers, which forms part of an induction program. A
Spreading the word about Catching On (Vic)
Catching On is a teaching and learning resource which deals with issues of sexual health. It has been trialled extensively in schools, and the professional development for teachers began earlier this year. The kits, which include lesson plans and support materials, are available to teachers through the professional development sessions. It is anticipated that training will be completed in all of Victoria's education regions during 2004. For more information see Education Times, 6 May 2004.
Energising program (SA)
Twenty-five South Australian Schools will start using solar energy under the Solar Schools Program in that State. The schools will be exemplars of clean energy use in their communities, and, bedsides reducing greenhouse gas emissions, will also save approximately $1000 on their annual energy costs. For more information see Xpress, 13 May 2004.
Technology and teaching: best practice in ACT schools
ACT Education Minister Katy Gallagher opened the new Centre for Teaching and Learning on 21 May. The Centre is designed to provide teachers with access to information technology, and to foster best practice in using technology in teaching and learning. For more information see Media Release, 21 May 2004.
AEU calls for teaching incentive scheme
High school students should be given incentives to attract them to university teaching courses to help avert a looming teacher shortage, according to the Australian Education Union. See article in The Age, 21 May 2004.
More than 5000 students to undertake new certificate
More than 5000 senior students are expected to participate in the new Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL), which has been officially launched by the Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky. See media release.
What is On Track?
On Track is a new Victorian Government initiative designed to help young people plan their future and achieve their education, training and employment goals.
Priority Schools Funding Programs in NSW
This program provides additional support to socio-economically disadvantaged school communities to help improve their students' literacy and numeracy skills and participation.
Western Australian Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (WALNA) Report
The WALNA report on the literacy and numercy competencies of Years 3, 5 and 7 Western Australian students is available on its website. The WALNA program seeks to gauge the literacy and numeracy competencies of Western Australian students against nationally agreed benchmarks. The report is categorised by district, group and state performance. Copies of the tests are also available on the site.
Career change entrants to teaching project
The ultimate aim of this project is to increase the number of well qualified people entering teaching from other professions.
Activities to support peak Principals' Associations
A range of activities will be funded to provide support for, and consultation with, the peak principals associations from 2000 - 2003.
The Innovative Design for Enhancing Student Achievement in Schools (IDEAS) Project is a research-based framework for enhancing school outcomes.
Growing satisfaction with Special Education in New Zealand
New research shows that New Zealand parents and schools' overall satisfaction with special education policies introduced since 1996 has been growing steadily. The Ministry of Education and Massey University have released the final research report on the three-year evaluation of the Special Education 2000 policy - Special Education 2000: Monitoring and Evaluation of the Policy - Final Report.
Schools in WA needed to pilot 'Our Future'
The Curriculum Council in Western Australia is seeking schools to pilot new post-compulsory courses.
WA support program needs mentors
A Graduate Support Program will be available to graduate teachers and teachers returning from leave or starting in a new position in Western Australia.
School fee subsidy in Western Australia
Education Minister Alan Carpenter has announced that the Western Australian Government will pay $100 toward annual school fees for every student attending a Government high school.
Education and Training Reforms in Queensland
The Queensland Government has recently released Education and Training Reforms for the Future: A White Paper, as part of a continuing reform process, as reported in Education Views.
Senior executive appointments in Victoria
Jennifer Westacott (formerly Executive Director of the Office of Housing, Department of Human Services) has been appointed Secretary of the Department of Education and Training, replacing Stuart Hamilton. Kim Bannikoff (formerly Director of the Office of Training and Tertiary Education) has been appointed Director of School Education, replacing Michael White. Jim Davidson (previously Executive Director in the Department of Human Services) has become Director of the Office of Training and Tertiary Education.
The Cox Review into Partnerships 21 (South Australia)
The South Australian Government's review into the Partnerships 21 scheme of school management and governance is available online. Comments are invited.
US evaluation shows improvements needed in after school program
The recently released National Evaluation of the 21st-Century Community Learning Centers Program has found that centres 'had little influence on academic performance and no influence on feelings of safety or on the number of "latchkey" kids'. (Press release, US Department of Education).
The Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) goes statewide
Following the pilot project conducted in 2002, the Victorian Government has introduced the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) in 2003, with 200 schools (Government and Catholic) offering the new course of study. VCAL has been provided as an alternative to the Victorian Certificate of Education to students who wish to pursue an industry-based, vocational curriculum.
First steps to council subjects in India
The Curriculum Council has signed a memorandum of understanding with the India-based Prime Education Society. The latter is seeking to establish an Australian International School in New Delhi, and the memorandum is the first step to getting international certification for the courses offered at the school. It is anticipated that students completing courses at the school would be eligible for the Western Australian Certificate of Education and Tertiary Entrance Scores.
Report released on Tasmanian girls and IT
The Women in IT Tasmania group (WIITT) is researching the issues around girls and IT. Their recently released study sampled Year 9 students, first year TAFE
Swan District launches plan for Aboriginal education
The Swan Education District in Western Australia has launched its Aboriginal Education Operational Plan 2003-2005. The nine focus areas are: access and participation, conductive hearing loss, attention and retention, literacy, numeracy, culturally inclusive curricula, employment, involvement in educational decision making and interagency initiatives.
Boys: Getting it Right - Report of the Inquiry into the Education of Boys
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Training tabled its Report of the Inquiry into the Education of Boys on 21 October. The findings of the Committee, submissions made to it and transcripts of its public hearings are available on the House of Representative's website.
Commonwealth investigates VET
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Education and Training is currently conducting an inquiry into the VET in Schools program. It hopes to deliver a report on the scope, resourcing, application and effectiveness of the program. Issues such as best practice and the sharing of experiences between jurisdictions, as well as support for new industries, will also be considered.
51 NSW schools to get mentors to help beginner teachers
The New South Wales Minister for Education and Training, John Watkins, has announced that new teachers at 51government schools are due to receive assistance from experienced mentor-teachers from the start of 2003.
New disabilities support plan
The New South Wales Minister for Education and Training, John Watkins, has announced a plan to improve services for students with intellectual, physical, emotional and behaviour disabilities.
A Churchill Fellowships offer financial support for professionals to study overseas. Approximately 100 Fellowships are available. Applications close 28 February 2003.
132 extra school counsellors
Three retraining programs in New South Wales will see teachers and registered psychologists employed as school counsellors.
Inquiry into the Education of Students with Disabilities
The Senate Employment, Workplace Relations and Education Committee has launched an inquiry into the education of students with disabilities.
$6.2 million plan for casual teachers in NSW schools
The Premier of NSW, Mr Bob Carr, has unveiled a $6.2 million plan to help place casual teachers in the NSW government schools where they are needed.
Curriculum Framework Implementation on track
The Curriculum Council (WA) is currently refining its Curriculum Framework progress maps to better align them with the Curriculum Framework outcomes. They have provided case studies of schools that have successfully used the current progress maps in their November 2002 edition of Curriculum Council Update.
Reference groups up and running
The Curriculum Council (WA) has approved the design brief for new post-compulsory courses of study. The new post-compulsory system has its genesis in the report Our Youth, Our Future, released in early 2002. The phases of the development of the new system are contained in Curriculum Council Update November 2002.