Registrations are open for the National Education and the Arts Symposium 2005, which will be held in Melbourne. The theme of the conference is 'Backing our Creativity' and will focus on research, policy and practice. See website for further information.
The International Science Linkages (ISL) program is calling for competitive grants applications. The round will open on 10 August 2005 and close at 5pm (AEST) on 9 September 2005. Financial support will be provided to support science and technology activities which are research-initiated, involve international co-operation, and will contribute to Australia's economy, environment and society. The ISL is a replacement for the former Innovation Access Program (IAP) and seeks applications from both private and public sectors. See guidelines or contact email@example.com or (02) 6240 5014.
At the end of 2005, Tasmanian government schools will start to report against some elements of the State's new Essential Learnings curriculum. A publicity campaign about the reporting process will begin in the near future, and will include information sessions and booklets for parents. Under the new reporting system grades such as A and B will be replaced by a scale to show performance against average achievement. A feature of the reports will be a greater amount of space for teacher comment. Students will be marked on understanding rather than knowledge, with criteria such as thinking, communicating and personal futures. However, the Parents and Friends Association of Tasmania reports that parents may struggle initially with the new reports. See article in The Examiner 25 July 2005.
The Ministerial Council on Education, Employment and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) has released the National Benchmark Results Reading, Writing and Numeracy Years 3, 5 and 7, a section of the 2003 National Report on Schooling in Australia. The national benchmarks are the agreed minimum level of achievement that students should attain on the numeracy and literacy tests, which are conducted across all Australian educational jurisdictions. For Education Ministers' responses to the release of the data see the following press statements: Literacy and Numeracy Benchmarks (SA); AIM of Victorian Students on Target: Kosky; and Literacy and Numeracy Levels Improving (Tas).
The South Australian Department of Education and Children's Services has recruited 45 of the best final year student teachers in South Australian universities to work in government schools in 2006. According to the Minister for Education and Children's Services, Jane Lomax-Smith, this initiative has secured these teachers, who have specialist training in mathematics, physics, chemistry, agriculture and physical education, for positions in the South Australian education system. All of the 45 recruits will begin their careers in country schools. For more information see Media Release 20 July 2005.
Go Go GIDGITS is an ICT club for girls, which was developed by four Queensland students, with the help of their teachers and the a project officer employed by Education Queensland. The aims of the initiative, which was conducted under the auspices of Education Queensland's Girls and ICTs Framework for Action, are to foster collaboration between female students across Queensland in ICT learning, and to assist them to learn about the work and roles of female ICT professionals. For more information see the Ministerial Media Statement 26 July 2005.
Caroline Milburn reports in The Age that the Victorian Government has identified 19 State secondary and primary schools which have achieved the standards for accreditation, in a new scheme to help schools establish a performance culture amongst their staff. Under the scheme schools have to fulfil five standards, all of which are centred on improving teachers' skills and professional practice. It is expected that all of Victoria's schools will meet the accreditation standards by 2008, after which they will have to submit to the accreditation process every four years. See the article (registration required) in The Age 25 July 2005.
A discussion paper, Equity, Excellence and Effectiveness: Moving forward on school arrangements in Australia, published by the Education Foundation, canvasses the possibility of private schools operating within the public education system, so that the disparity in education outcomes within and between education sectors in Australia can be ameliorated. Under the proposal private schools would subscribe to a set of 'public values', which would entitle them to accept support from government, and to charge fees at the same level as the current voluntary contribution in government schools. Bringing private and public schools under the same regulatory regime would increase the effectiveness of the education system by increasing the efficient use of resources, and it would counter the current trend towards segregation and inequality. See also the address by Ellen Koshland, President of the Education Foundation, and the article, Bid to help private schools go public, by Shane Green in The Age 25 July 2005.
A new program in Western Australia, developed by the Chamber of Minerals and Energy and the State's Deaprtment of Education and Training, will provide curriculum materials and help teachers bring a resource industry context to science subjects. The 'Resources Schools' plan will offer students a greater appreciation of how science leads to careers in the resource sector. See report on ABC Online 25 July 2005.
The Australian newspaper has challenged the approach to critical literacy teaching in New South Wales public schools, arguing that 'controversial postmodern teaching theories have infiltrated the English curriculum'. The newspaper suggests that curriculum pays too little attention to quality literature. There is also discussion of the influence of postmodernist theories in the Western Australian English curriculum. The newspaper quotes comments from State Education Ministers Carmel Tebbutt (New South Wales), Anna Bligh (Queensland) and Jane Lomax-Smith (South Australia). See report 25 July and follow up article 26 July 2005.
School class sizes in England could rise to 60 under government measures coming into force in September, negotiated with some teacher unions through the National Workforce Reform Agreement. Schools have also been authorised to place less qualified teaching assistants in charge of classes to cut teachers’ working hours. Teachers meeting at the annual conference of the Professional Association of Teachers have said that moves to cut their workload by giving a bigger role to classroom assistants could damage teaching standards, particularly in primary schools. See report in Times Online 27 July 2005.
The Australian Government has announced the first 12 of 24 planned technical colleges. Establishment of the colleges is planned for 2006 and 2007, despite a current Senate review of The Australian Technical Colleges Bill 2005, which governs funding. See Ministerial media release 15 July 2005 for a list of successful applicants.