Kilkenny Primary School in South Australia has initiated a drug strategy which includes students, staff and community groups participating in harm minimisation programs in relation to drugs. The school curriculum has been tailored to inform students about the harmful effects of drugs, as well as to equip them to use medication responsibly. For more information see Xpress, 3 February 2005.
The Victorian Government has announced a revision of the State's Education Act. The legislation, first enacted in 1872, needs to be brought into line with current community expectations, as well as better reflect the role of schools and educators. A community consultation process has been initiated, and members of the Victorian community have been invited to make submissions. The closing date for submissions is 30 April 2005. For more information see Education Times, 10 February 2005, and visit the Department of Education and Training website.
The Country Women's Association (ACT) makes available grants to secondary students who, while demonstrating commitment to finish their secondary studies, could be prevented from doing so due to financial or personal hardship. The ACT Minister for Education and Training, Katy Gallagher, presented the grants for 2005 on Friday, 11 February. For more information see Media Release, 16 February 2005.
Ninety-two Indigenous students completed the South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE) last year, 31 more than in 2003, giving South Australia its best ever SACE completion rate by Indigenous students. This outcome is seen as a result of the the South Australian Government's endeavours to make the SACE more inclusive of Indigenous cultures and people. For more information see News Release, 9 February 2005.
The Queensland Government has made available $3.5 million worth of grants to fund strategies to help 15-17 year-olds stay in education and training, or find employment. The grants will be available to community organisations under the Access to Pathways program. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 14 February 2005.
Extra teachers will be appointed to Queensland schools in 2005 to address the growth in student enrolment, and to increase support for students in the middle years of schooling and those with disabilities. An extra 150 teachers will be appointed before 2007 to help reduce class sizes for Years 4-10, and an additional 117 will be employed to increase the amount of teachers allocated to support students with disabilities. For more information, see Ministerial Media Statements, 8 February 2005.
In a bid to upgrade the ICT skills of teachers, the Victorian Government has announced the Creating eLearning Leaders (CeLL) project, which will see 28 schools, or groups of teachers, become centres of ICT skills training. Teachers trained under the initiative will be obliged to share their training and new found ICT knowledge with other teachers in their region, and in this way improve the ICT capacities of teachers around the State. For more information see Media Release, 23 January 2005.
Victorian parents will be asked to sign a consent form, at the time of their child's enrolment in a school, giving the school permission to carry out checks for head lice for the duration of their child's enrolment at the school. This new measure will eliminate the need for schools to seek permission from parents to conduct individual checks. Scratching for Answers, an information kit on dealing with head lice, will be sent to all schools during the first school term of 2005. For more information, see Media Release, 20 January 2005.
Putting an applicant's final year exam results in the context of the school at which they were achieved is a bonafide way of gauging academic potential, according to Cambridge University's director of admissions, Geoff Parks. See his article in the Guardian, 19 January 2005.