Angry head teachers booed and hissed Britain's schools minister, Derek Twigg, at the National Association of Head Teachers’ annual conference, after he refused to offer schools more money for controversial reforms and insisted league tables were here to stay. The minister insisted there was no more money on the way despite warnings from heads that schools may have to close early on Fridays without extra cash. See report in The Scotsman 1 May 2005.
The New South Wales Government has ruled out building public schools with public funds in the short term after announcing that nine more schools will be constructed and maintained by the private sector. The Premier, Bob Carr, has said that it is 'better value for money' to use private companies to build public schools under the public-private partnership model NSW is 'pioneering' in Australia. The nine new schools, to cost more than $100 million and be built by 2010, will be at Maitland, on the Central Coast, in Sydney's north-western and south-western growth corridors, and in other locations to be announced. See report in the Sydney Morning Herald 30 April 2005.
The National Institute for Quality Teaching and School Leadership is to receive an additional $20 million from the Australian Government over the next four years to support its ongoing operation. This brings total funding for the new national body for the teaching profession to $30 million. See NIQTSL media release 29 April 2005.
As part of the Australian Government’s Values Education Good Practice Schools project, 25 clusters of schools around Australia will share $2.5 million in grants of up to $100,000. Each cluster’s project will help schools promote the teaching of specific values endorsed by all State and Territory Education Ministers. The agreed values are: care and compassion; doing your best; fair go; freedom; honesty and trustworthiness; integrity; respect; responsibility; and understanding, tolerance and inclusion. The Australian Government is providing funding of $29.7 million over the next four years to help make values education a core part of schooling. This includes funding for the Values Education Good Practice Schools Project, values education forums in every school, curriculum resources and a range of national activities. See Ministerial media release 2 May 2005. See also the new Values education resources provided by the Australian Council of State Schools Organisation (ACSSO), which include an online discussion forum.
The ACTU's Worksite for Schools website is currently running a national competition for school, TAFE and RTO students – A Fair and Fun Workplace. To enter, students must describe in 300 words or less what makes a job fair and fun for them and why, as well as their ideas to make jobs fairer and more fun. Competition forms can be downloaded from the website. The competition closes Friday 1 July 2005.
From 1 July 2005, Australian Training Products’ range of Vocational Education and Training (VET) resources is to include Victorian Crown materials copyright to the Office of Training and Tertiary Education (OTTE). A not-for-profit organisation, Australian Training Products currently provides thousands of training/reference materials, including many publicly funded by the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) and the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST). It also offers Professional Development Workshops.
The Australian Capital Territory Government, in partnership with the Australian Catholic University, has established an Institute for Child Protection Studies. The Institute will be located at the Australian Catholic University (ACU) and will develop a research partnership between the University and the Office of Children, Youth and Family Support. See Ministerial media statement 13 April 2005.
Victoria's Independent and Catholic schools receive an extra $151 million in State funding under a new private schools funding system unveiled in the State budget. The four-year plan will see more money going to schools with students from low-income families, while funding for wealthy private schools remains at current levels. The Government says private schools have committed to working towards new accountability measures, in areas such as the standard of the curriculum and student testing. See report in The Age 3 May 2005.
The Victorian Employers Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) has told the Victorian Parliament's Education and Training Committee that some employees cannot convert classroom knowledge into workplace ability. A public hearing of the Comittee's Inquiry into the Promotion of Maths & Science Education was told that graduates in areas such as surveying, mapping and town planning lacked spatial understanding, with some unable to estimate the number of square metres in a room, and that students need more exposure to jobs that required skills in maths and science. See report in The Age 2 May 2005.
The use of Gallipoli icon Simpson and his donkey to promote values education to Australian schoolchildren has been criticised as 'a blokey image of yesteryear'. Andrew Blair, who represents secondary principals on the body advising the Australian Government on values education in schools, has criticised the Government's choice of the World War I hero as the cover image for a key new values education document. See report in The Age 2 May 2005