Hosted by the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria (STAV), the Primary Science Conference will be held at Darebin Arts Centre, Preston, 16–17 July 2006. Displays and a range of sessions will explore ways to engage students in science, local programs and resources for teaching science, science and VELS, new educational kits and ICT tools. Registration closes 7 July 2006.
A new range of ‘safe’ social networking websites have been designed to reduce the potential of students talking to predators or revealing personal information. The sites also aim to develop students’ online skills and develop safe online behaviours. The new sites are a response to concerns over the potential security risk posed by existing social networking websites such as MySpace, Friendster and Facebook. See article on eSchoolNews, 12 July 2006 (registration required).
The Australian Sports Commission’s new Active After-School Communities (AASC) program promotes structured physical activity in after-school settings, and has been delivered nationally to primary schools and approved Out of School Hour Care Services (OSHCS). Released in 2005, the program has 1,400 participating schools and OSHCS, with a target of 3,250 participants by 2007.
The Daily Telegraph in
Launched in May 2006, The Primary Years Teaching Association of South Australia offers a forum for teachers to share teaching strategies and partake in professional development activities. Established by The Council of Education Associations of South Australia (CEASA), the Association focuses on Years 3 to 5. Email or phone (08 8370 5733) Bronwyn Hudson, deputy principal, Belair Primary School.
In Scotland teachers will be given one year to improve their performance or face dismissal under plans being considered by the government. See report in the Scotsman, 17 June 2006.
Young people will be told that apprenticeships are just as valuable as university degrees in a multimillion-dollar advertising campaign to be launched by the Federal Government next month. See report in the Courier Mail, 16 June 2006.
New student report cards, initiated by the Australian Government, have now been issued to many school students. The reports grade students on an A–E scale and aim to describe student results in ‘plain English’. In most States students are also ranked into class quartiles. Each education system assigns its own meanings to the A–E grades. A survey by Sydney’s Catholic Education Office found that almost three-quarters of respondents supported the introduction of the reports. However, the Australian Council of State School Organisations (ACSSO) has announced a campaign to inform parents of their right to refuse the new reports (see article in The Australian, 20 June 2006). The Victorian branch of ACSSO is calling for the new reports to be evaluated by parents (see updated article in The Australian, 21 June 2006). In Victoria all Catholic schools and approximately half the government schools have implemented the new grades for English and maths, before compulsory P–10 implementation commences for all subject areas next year. There have been complaints in the State that the descriptions are still not in ‘plain English’, with terms such as ‘higher order thinking’ not adequately explained to parents. Victorian principals and teachers have launched a campaign to make parents aware that a C grade represents performance at the expected level. See ‘Report cards given an F’ in the Herald Sun, 20 June 2006 and article in The Age, 18 June 2006. In South Australia an editorial in The Advertiser (21 June 2006) has alleged that opponents of the new cards fear the scrutiny that the student reports extend to schools and entire education systems. South Australian Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has written to Australian Government counterpart Julie Bishop asking for acceptance of an alternative five-point achievement grading, and has raised concerns about the introduction of the grades in the early years of schooling. The South Australian Education Committee, which includes representatives from parents’ clubs, principals’ associations and the AEU, has rejected the new reports for labelling students as failures (see ‘Self-esteem card’ in The Advertiser, 20 June 2006).
Health and Physical Education in the USA is shifting emphasis from team sports towards 'keeping kids moving' and dicussion of topics such as nutrition, fitness and exercise safety, according to an article in the Christian Science Monitor, 15 June 2006.
The Australian Capital Territory has seen protests from schools marked for closure in the recent budget. See report on ABC online, June 14 2006.
The Education Network Australia (EdNA Online) has set up a Games as Pedagogy online discussion group. The group aims to facilitate and promote discussion in the Australian education and training community about the use of games in education.
Year 11 students at St Andrew’s
In Sydney the independent school
Preliminary statistics show that more than 1.64 million students enrolled in the public VET system in 2005, an increase of 2.9 per cent or 46,000 students from 2004. Enrolments increased in all States and Territories except