New teachers in New South Wales are routinely starting their careers in the state's most disadvantaged and remote public schools, according to Building on Strong Foundations, a report to the New South Wales Government. The Public Education Council report found that 3 per cent of the state's government schools took in 30 per cent of the total intake of new teachers last year. The schools often had head teachers and principals in their first executive role. See report in The Sydney Morning Herald 2 April 2005. See also the related article abstract published in this issue of Curriculum Leadership.
Poor teacher performance is tolerated in Victorian public schools, a report for the State Government has found, with the education bureaucracy showing little interest in pushing teachers to achieve anything more than minimum standards. A study conducted by Larry Kamener, Director and Vice-President of the Boston Consulting Group, recommends that schools become 'more like professional services firms'. See article in The Australian 1 April 2005.
Britain's two biggest teachers' unions have 'declared war' on their government's plan to set up a network of 200 privately sponsored academies to replace struggling inner-city secondary schools. Delegates at the National Union of Teachers annual conference voted unanimously to send a team of union representatives into areas where new academies are planned, to persuade parents and teachers to stop them. A teacher won a standing ovation after calling on colleagues nationally to 'kick the millionaire capitalists out of schools'. Peter McLaughlin, the president of the NASUWT, said the scheme was 'a recipe for chaos'. Britain's Department for Education and Skills defended the scheme, claiming improvements in test outcomes at the 11 academies where pupils had sat key examinations in 2004. See report in The Independent, 29 March 2005.
National Literacy and Numeracy Week is an Australian Government initiative, run in collaboration with State and Territory Governments. The week runs from 29 August to 4 September 2005. The promotion of strong literacy and numeracy skills among young people assists in countering educational and social disadvantage. National Literacy and Numeracy Week aims to showcase the hard work school communities are undertaking in improving literacy and numeracy skills; recognise the outstanding results already achieved; raise community awareness of the importance of all Australian students developing effective literacy and numeracy skills; and build on national initiatives to improve literacy and numeracy standards among young Australians.
In the past ten years, two Queensland teachers have died from asbestos-related mesothelioma, but the State Government says the levels of the hazardous materials found in 11,000 of its schools are safe. There is now a call from the national parent body for a national inquiry into asbestos deterioration in several Brisbane schools. This follows findings of contamination at Moggill State School and Sherwood State School. See related radio transcript from ABC Local Radio 2 April 2005.
A series of three seminars for educational leaders involved in technology and learning through the use of the Internet will be held in Melbourne on 22 April at the Melbourne Park Function Centre. The keynote speaker for the Melbourne seminar is David Snowden, Director of the Cynefin Centre for Organisational Complexity in Britain. David Snowden has been one of the leading figures in the movement towards integration of humanistic approaches to knowledge management. The seminaors have been organised by Education.au.
TeachingEnglish is a subscriber-based website for English teaching professionals in Australia helping teachers keep up to date with the latest news, professional development, resources and jobs bulletins. Included are teachers' notes from major Australian and international publishers, lesson plans and activities. Upon subscription, TeachingEnglish is delivered via email bulletin three times every week.
A new specialist sports school will be established as part of an existing secondary school in the western suburbs of Melbourne. Maribyrnong College, in partnership with Victoria University and the Victorian Institute of Sport, will help to establish the new Sport and Health Sciences Academy. Victorian students who excel at sport and would prefer a career in a sports-related field will be encouraged to consider enrolling at the Academy. For more information see Media Release, 29 March 2005.
Education Queensland's Career Change Program has been extended to 30 June 2005. Under the program, teachers who have been employed by Education Queensland for more than ten years can apply for a $50,000 grant to assist them in changing careers. Their positions are then taken by new graduate teachers, whose salary levels make up for the expense of the grant. The program targets teachers who have become disenchanted with the profession, and allows schools to replenish their staff with more motivated educators. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 21 March 2005.
South Australia's Department of Education and Children's Services (DECS) has set up a Customer Services Network for its administrative staff. The network will allow officers to share information, such as contact details, new projects and local events; maintain a database of customer inquiries; share in accredited professional development; and engage in work shadowing to improve performance. For further information email the network coordinator: firstname.lastname@example.org
An extra $42 million is to be spent on improving secondary education in the Northern Territory over the next four years. The funding will provide a school counsellor for every secondary school, more VET training, an advanced distance education service, and additional support for Indigenous students. For further details see InForm March 2005 p. 5.