The Curriculum Council of Western Australia is currently conducting extensive briefings and professional development for administrators and teachers, to support the State’s new post-compulsory curriculum and the introduction of the Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE). Support materials, including sample tasks, schemes of assessment and work samples, are included to illustrate expected levels of achievement. The new Years 11 and 12 courses will be rolled out between 2005 and 2008. More subject-specific workshops and open briefings will be available in 2006 for teachers, with a range of course length, date and location options.
The Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO) has committed a major part of its website to providing information on values education. Resources cover the Australian Government’s initiatives to implement the National Framework on Values Education; information about the schools selected and funded to participate in the Australian Government’s 'Good Practice Schools Project'; stories from schools around the country demonstrating effective and innovative approaches to developing values in action in their schools and communities; and an online forum about values education.
Dr Ken Boston, chief executive of Britain's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, plans to replace 'A-level' exams with a national diploma embracing vocational qualifications. Plans for an overarching diploma to replace the existing exams system were first recommended as a result of a government inquiry headed by the former chief school inspector, Sir Mike Tomlinson, earlier this year, but were rejected by Ruth Kelly, the Secretary of State for Education, in the run-up to Britain's general election. See article in The Independent 8 June 2005.
A teacher certification system being considered by the Alaska Board of Education would require new teachers to submit a 45-minute video of their classroom techniques to a government panel. While critics argue that the classroom context is needed to evaluate a teacher, others have supported the move as a cost-effective alternative to travelling to a central location. See article in Anchorage Daily News 8 June 2005.
The Community Mentoring Program in South Australia will see adults volunteering to mentor local students who are deemed to be at risk of not completing school. The program will be trialled for a year before its implementation in schools across the state. For more information see News Release, 6 June 2005.
The Western Australian Government will trial single sex classes at five high schools next year. The trial will be monitored by the Academic Council of the Professional Learning Institute, who will examine students' academic performance and behaviour to judge whether the trial bears out the experiences in overseas jurisdictions, where the classes seemed to have some benefit for educational outcomes. Schools wanting to participate in the trial are invited to indicate their interest. For more information see Media Statement, 8 June 2005.
Five new primary schools will open in suburban Perth next year, and nine other schools will received several million dollars to upgrade their facilities. The new schools will have the most recent information communication technology infrastructure, with fibre optic cabling connecting classrooms to the Internet. The location of the new schools and the recipients of the refurbishment are listed in the Media Statement, 31 May 2005.
The Queensland Government has allocated 1.8 million dollars to assist refugee students with their education. It is anticipated that the money will be used for English tuition, counselling and interpreting services, and job preparation programs. Newly-arrived refugee children are among the most disdvantaged in Queensland's schools. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 7 June 2005.
Boosting the proportion of young people completing school or an apprenticeship to 90 per cent by the end of the decade would increase work force numbers by 65,000, boost economic productivity and expand the economy by nearly $10 billion by 2040, according to new research. The increase in retention rates would boost annual GDP by 1.1 per cent (equivalent to $9.2 billion in today’s money) by 2040, representing an extra $500 a year per Australian in today’s money. The research was undertaken for the Business Council of Australia and Dusseldorp Skills Forum.