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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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ACT budget

A budget speech by John Stanhope, Australian Capital Territory Chief Minister, has set out education spending in the ACT for 2006–07. The ACT education program will see a number of schools closed and upgrades of remaining schools.

Lower school age 'to boost productivity'

Setting a lower age for children to start school would boost economic productivity as well as increase the number of students completing Year 12, according to a report to be considered next month at a meeting of Australian, State and Territory education ministers, who will discuss a plan to set a uniform minimum age for starting school at 4 and a half years. The plan will be put to the ministers by Australian Education Minister Julie Bishop, who argues that younger students and common minimum starting ages across the country will increase school retention rates. At present, there are five different starting ages in the states and territories. See report in The Australian 5 June 2006. See also report in The Mercury and article in Canberra Times 5 June 2006.

Changes to proposed senior school curriculum in WA

West Australian Premier Alan Carpenter has announced modifications to the proposed outcomes-based education (OBE) curriculum for senior secondary schooling in the State next year. See report in The Australian, 8 June 2006.  

Queensland State Education Week 2006

Queensland is celebrating State Education Week 4–10 June 2006. As well as organising their own school-based activities, schools and their local communities are encouraged to take part in a series of official events.

Plan to close undergraduate teacher education course at University of Melbourne

A plan to recast the University of Melbourne ‘as a US-style graduate school’ has been endorsed by the Australian Government, paving the way for the university to cut student numbers by 10,000 over the next decade. Education Minister Julie Bishop has backed a plan to stop accepting new undergraduates in education, law, nursing and architecture from the end of next year, and to reopen the courses as master’s degrees in 2008. See report in The Age, 6 June 2006.

Success for boys: new grants available

The Success for Boys professional learning program provides individual schools and school clusters with grants of around $10,000 per school to undertake a professional learning program on boys’ education. The program is funded by the Department of Education, Science and Training and managed by Curriculum Corporation. This year in Round I, 800 schools are implementing the program. On 3 July 2006 applications for Round II will open for funding for the 2007 school year. Schools funded for 2006 are not eligible to apply. Applications must be lodged by the applicant school using the online facility between 3 July and 21 August 2006. The Success for Boys professional learning materials consist of five printed learning guides and an accompanying CD-ROM with activity sheets, slides for group presentation and related resources and readings. For further information, or to order an advance copy of the materials, email successforboys@curriculum.edu.au. Further information can also be obtained from www.successforboys.edu.au or by calling the help desk on (03) 9207 9600 during business hours.

Learning and Thinking, Perceptions and Practices Conference, South Australia

The Computers in Education Group South Australia (CEGSA) will hold their annual conference on 20–21 July 2006 at the Education Development Centre, Hindmarsh. The conference will focus on online learning, emerging technologies, the classroom context and the senior secondary school, as well as ICT and Indigenous students. See the CEGSA website or Curriculum Leadership calendar for further details.

Lukewarm reception to 'literacy squads' in Victoria

Victorian Education Minister Lynne Kosky had said that the State Government will establish 'literacy improvement teams' to work with teachers in government schools next year. Under the $11.7 million scheme, 45 literacy specialists will be hired to visit schools where Grade 3 to Year 8 students have fallen behind in their reading and writing. The teams will provide advice on improving literacy, mentor teachers and develop classroom material. A panel of prominent literacy experts will also be appointed to provide advice to all schools. However the announcement on the literacy squads has received a lukewarm response from principals and a prominent reading expert. See article in The Age: Education, 5 June 2006.

On Track survey shows destinations of Victoria's 2005 Year 12 school leavers

Victoria’s Minister for Education and Training, Lynne Kosky, has released the results of the annual On Track survey, which tracks the training and career destinations of more than 32,000 students from almost 500 schools who finished Year 12 in the State last year. The results indicate that the number of government school students at university rose from 32.4 per cent in 2003 to 37.6 per cent in 2006. The percentage of students from all schools deferring university places increased from 6.6 per cent in 2005 to 8 per cent in 2006, suggesting the effect of increasing university fees. The results also indicate that 75.7 per cent of students from government and non-government schools who last year completed Year 12 are still in education and training, an increase of 2.1 percentage points from 2003. The number of all students in apprenticeships or traineeships increased from 5.7 per cent in 2003 to 9.2 per cent in 2006. For government school students the increase was from 6.9 per cent in 2003 to 10.9 per cent in 2006. The number of all students looking for work fell from 5.5 per cent in 2003 to 3.3 per cent in 2006. A total of 86.4 per cent of students cited the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning as an important reason for staying on to complete Year 12. See Ministerial media release, 5 June 2006.

Queensland budget

Queensland Education Minister Rod Welford has announced a one billion-dollar, five-year program to modernise Queensland schools. More than 470 additional teachers and a strong focus on new technology are among the highlights of record spending on education in the 2006–07 State budget. Up to $20 million has been allocated in 2006–07 for planning and design work. This will include consultation with Parents and Citizens’ Associations and local community leaders from various regions to determine school facility needs. There is also a one-off payment of $100 million being made immediately to Catholic and Independent schools to support urgent capital programs and new technologies. About one-third of capital spending in 2006–07, more than $169 million, will be invested in new state schools, classrooms and facilities. See Ministerial media statement, 6 June 2006.

E-learning grants available to primary schools

All primary schools throughout Australia are invited to apply for a Commonwealth Bank Foundation e-Learning Grant. Schools must submit their applications online via the 2006 Application e-form by 14 June 2006. Register your school online to receive your Commonwealth Bank Foundation Grant Application Guide. The guide contains everything your school needs to organise and lodge your application online, including the judging criteria, a handy wall planner and tips to submitting a winning idea. The e-Learning Grants aim to help develop literacy, numeracy and/or financial literacy skills in young Australians through e-learning programs. Seventy grants of $5,000 each are available to primary schools to implement creative programs to develop students’ skills through the use of technology.

Financial literacy grants for secondary schools

The Commonwealth Bank Foundation Financial Literacy Grants are open to all secondary schools across Australia to help develop the financial literacy skills of students in Years 7 to 12. The Foundation invites schools to apply for a grant of $3,500 each to develop student programs to create awareness, skill and understanding in financial literacy. One hundred grants are available Australia-wide. Schools must submit their applications online via the 2006 Application e-form by 4 August, 2006. Register your school online to receive your Commonwealth Bank Foundation Grant Application Guide. The Guide contains everything your school needs to organise and lodge your application online, including the judging criteria and tips for submitting a winning idea.

Racial tension in schools

Australian schools must not become complacent about the need to improve racial harmony among students, an international schools accreditor has warned. David Styan, from the Council of International Schools, says that playground practice, classrooms, and friendship groups remain ‘quite sharply differentiated racially’. See report in The Age: Education, 5 June 2006.

Graduate employment survey finds visual and performing arts jobs scarce

The report Grads, Jobs and Dollars 2004 found that visual and performing artists had more difficulty than any other group of graduates in obtaining full-time work. Only 56 per cent of graduates available for full-time work in these fields were able to find it. The report identifies career opportunities across industries and notes that women continue to receive lower pay. See 'Gender pay gap still exists' in the Australian Financial Review, 5 June 2006 p 37 (fee-based access).

New South Wales budget

The New South Wales budget for 2006–07 provides $10.7 billion for Education and Training. Carmel Tebbutt, Minister for Education and Training, has announced that the budget includes an additional injection of $120 million over four years for school maintenance. The government’s successful $710 million class-size reduction program will continue with $603 million over the next four years to help employ extra teachers, as well as the $107 million already being spent on building new classrooms over four years. Targeted funding of $616 million over four years will be committed to literacy and numeracy. $267 million will be spent over the next four years to support quality teaching. This includes enhanced teacher professional development, teacher mentoring and initiatives to attract and retain teachers. An additional $65 million over four years has been included in the 2006–07 budget to improve education results for Indigenous students. Other key 2006–07 budget highlights include spending on major capital works, TAFE, behaviour and discipline programs, support for students with special needs, equity programs, school safety and security and ICT. See media release, 6 June 2006, from the Minister's Office.