Internet 'trap' for teachers using online networking sites
Steve Sinnott, the General-Secretary of Britain's National Union of Teachers, has warned that teachers using public contact sites such as MySpace can inadvertently divulge details about their private lives or strike up inappropriate relationships with students. See article in the Scotsman, 19 August 2006.
Impact of schools on house prices
A recent paper from the Australian National University examines the relationship between house prices and school quality in the Australian Capital Territory.
Celebrating Democracy Week 2006
Celebrating Democracy Week 2006 (18–24 October) is an opportunity for schools and students to celebrate Australia’s democracy by undertaking exemplary civics and citizenship education activities and learning initiatives. Visit the website to register your school’s civics and citizenship education activity and apply for school grants of up to $1000 ($3000 for school clusters of three or more). Applications close Friday, 15 September 2006. Posters for the event are available on the website. Students in Years 10 and 11 may also apply to participate in the Every Voice Counts! 2006 Student Forum, which will be held in Canberra during Celebrating Democracy Week 2006. Thirty-two students, four from each State and Territory, will be selected on the basis of their applications. Travel, meals and accommodation provided. Applications close Friday, 8 September 2006.
Protests continue over A–E reports in NSW
In New South Wales the proposed A–E student reports have been criticised by a leading school principal, and the Teachers Federation is maintaining threats to ban them. Judy King, the principal of RiversideGirlsHigh School, has described the reports as an 'educationally indefensible grading regime' that labels struggling students as failures. The Teachers Federation is polling members over whether to implement the new reports, and has threatened industrial action if members are disciplined for refusing to use them. The new reports emerged from an Australian Government demand that States and Territories adopt some form of five-grade reporting system for students, as a condition for receiving federal funds. The New South Wales Government has implemented the requirement in the form of A–E reports, although in Years 1 and 2 the reports apply only to Maths and English. Next week the Secondary Principals' Council is to review its policy towards the reports. See report in the Sun Herald, 20 August 2006 and article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 21 August 2006.
Program to encourage community partnerships in Victoria
Funding is now available to Victorian Government secondary schools to deliver Advance, a Victorian Government program encouraging community volunteering and youth development. See media release by Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, Jacinta Allan, 19 August 2006.
Teacher selection reforms underway in South Australia
South Australia's Education Minister, Jane Lomax-Smith, has announced changes in the way teachers are appointed to schools. Candidates for permanent and long-term teaching positions will now be assessed by a local two-person panel, including the school principal or a delegate, using the principles of merit selection, referee checks and interviews. The new local selection process is expected to apply to up to 2,500 permanent and long-term teacher vacancies in State schools each year. Initially, shorter-term vacancies of 12 months or less will be filled centrally from permanently employed teachers without a current ongoing job, but these positions can still go to local selection if there is no suitable person among permanent teachers. School principals have been chosen through local selection for a number of years, through a local four-person panel, including a school Governing Council representative. See Ministerial media release, 19 August 2006.
New head of Curriculum Council in Western Australia
Mr David Wood has been appointed as the new permanent head of the Curriculum Council in Western Australia. He was previously the principal at Sevenoaks Senior College, and is a life member of the Science Teachers' Association. See media statement by Education and Training Minister Ljiljanna Ravlich, 21 August 2006.
More funding for primary teacher positions in New Zealand
In New Zealand the rules governing staffing of schools have been changed to allow primary schools to employ an extra 455 teachers from next year, Education Minister Steve Maharey has announced. Funding of NZ$26 million is being provided for the initiative. See Minister's media release, 23 August 2006.
New regulations cover 3G phones
The Minister for Communications, Information Technology and the Arts, Senator Helen Coonan, has announced new safeguards to protect consumers from inappropriate or harmful material delivered over 3G mobile phones, which include features such as video calling, music and interactive games and similar devices. Senator Coonan has foreshadowed legislation to extend the current safeguards applying to content delivered over the Internet or television to content delivered over convergent devices such as mobile phones. This will include prohibition of content rated X18+ and above, as well as requirements for consumer advice and age restrictions on access to content suitable only for adults. The Australian Government has previously announced a Protecting Australian Families Online package which, among other measures, will provide every Australian family with a free Internet filter or a filtered service on their home computer. See media release, 22 August 2006.
Western Australia launches new career development centre
Western Australia's Department of Education and Training has opened a new career development centre. The centre caters to Western Australians seeking learning experiences, a career change or new employment, and combines the former training information centre, TAFEWA admissions centre and overseas qualifications unit.
UK government policy on gifted students
Britain's gifted and talented students are to be registered under a new government scheme, but the move has drawn criticism. See article in The Independent,10 August 2006 and report in Futureminds,15 August 2006.