An article in the Australian Financial Review has summarised moves in several AustralianState governments to set up State-based trade schools (see ‘High schools in for trade skills’, 7 June 2006, p. 77, fee-based access). The article reports that ten trade schools are to be set up by the South Australian Government. In New South Wales Education Minister Carmel Tebbutt has announced an $18 million plan to create ten new dedicated trade schools with school-based apprenticeships and traineeships for HSC students as part of the State’s 2006–2007 Budget (contact the Minister’s office for further information). The Victorian Government has also announced moves to boost training in trade skills (see Ministerial media release, 30 May 2006).
National Awards for Quality Schooling
The National Awards for Quality Schooling (NAQS) celebrate excellence in Australian schools. Nominations for the 2007 awards are now open to government and non-government schools, and staff at pre-primary, primary and secondary levels.
The Tasmanian Government’s 2006–2007 Budget includes a range of measures supporting school education. It provides $22.25 million to recruit 89 extra teachers over the next five years to progressively reduce class sizes in grades 2 to 7. Another $30 million will be allocated over four years to build a new high school, and $12.6 million for the Launching into Learning program, a new Government initiative to help support young children, particularly those at risk, before they formally start school. See Ministerial media release 15 June 2006.
Workshops for NZ principals
National workshops to help primary school principals in New Zealand plan for civil defence emergencies are scheduled for July and August, and will focus on a new resource developed by the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management and Educating NZ. See announcement from New Zealand Education Gazette,5 June 2006.
Web resource for new principals in New Zealand
A new web section for beginning principals has been added to Leadspace, a website in New Zealand focusing on the development of school leadership. The new section, Managing your school, includes fact sheets on topics such as making a good start, staffing and annual financial reporting. More information will be added over the coming year.
Concern about English syllabus under ACE
In New South Wales the President of the English Teachers Association, Mark Howie, has expressed concerns that the State’s HSC English syllabus will be ‘dumbed down’ by national testing for Year 12 students. He has argued that the proposed Australian Certificate of Education (ACE) would only test the lowest common denominator of the syllabus content, since proposals for determining essential elements in the English curriculum were based on identifying those parts of the syllabus shared by all States and Territories. Mr Howie said it was likely students would become reluctant to study subjects that were not part of the ACE testing and view them as having lower status. See article in Sydney Morning Herald, 13 June 2006.
The interactive Mathletics website provides K–12 students with challenging numeracy questions tailored to their individual ability levels. The program allows teachers to set separate tasks for individual students based on their current level of understanding.
Commentary on Australian and NSW education budgets
The Sydney Morning Herald has published a commentary on the 2006 education budgets of the Australian and New South Wales’ governments. It states that national spending on defence has now outstripped education spending, a trend likely to continue as the Australian Government is committed to annual 3 per cent increases in defence spending in real terms up to 2016. The article also describes the shift from public to private spending in education. See ‘They'll never learn’, Sydney Morning Herald, 10 June 2006.
Full-time chaplains would be installed in government schools to lift religious standards and provide mentoring for students under a plan backed by Julie Bishop, the Australian Government Education Minister. See report in The Age, 11 June 2006.
New school reports in New South Wales
In New South Wales a new system of reports on schools is due to begin next year. The new reports will compare school performances with the State average and with each other in the School Certificate, Higher School Certificate and literacy and numeracy tests. They will identify only the school producing each report, comparing it with unnamed schools in the cluster. The reports are currently being piloted in about 100 schools. For comments on the new reports by the State Premier, Morris Iemma, and union representatives, see report in the Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 2006. See also background article in Curriculum Leadership, 19 August 2005.
Encourage study abroad: Bishop
Australian Government Minister for Education Julie Bishop has written an article in the publication of a Liberal MP that encourages more Australian students to study overseas. She has promised to review curbs to international education and to trial programs for vocational and higher education encouraging overseas study. See ‘The future of international education will challenge’, Looking Forward, Winter 2006. See also report in The Australian, 13 June 2006.
Encyclopedia Britannica challenges comparison to Wikipedia
A former editor of the Encylopedia Britannica has challenged the validity of a study in the scientific journal Nature. The study found that Britannica and Wikipedia, the free, open-access, online encyclopedia, were of comparable quality. See article in The Age: Education, 5 June 2006.
Dutch schools adopting International Primary Curriculum (IPC)
The International Primary Curriculum (IPC) that was originally developed for schools operated around the world by international oil giant Shell is now being used to teach children in Dutch primary schools. The curriculum does not include maths or Dutch language, which are still taught as distinct subjects. All other subjects are replaced by interdisciplinary themes through the IPC. The IPC is designed to provide for multiple learning styles. The content emphasises an international outlook. See Radio Netherlandsreport, 2 June 2006.
Canadian state covers homosexuality in curriculum
The Canadian Province of British Columbia has announced a new course for Grade 12 students that will explore the nature of a just and equitable society by focusing on social justice issues. The new elective course will include issues such as race, ethnicity, gender, family structure and sexual orientation. The course will be piloted in the 2007–08 school year, with full implementation due in September 2008. See media release, 1 June 2006 by the Government of British Columbia. See also commentary in Vancouver Sun, 2 June 2006.