School professionals, parents and community organisations are invited to attend the second National Conference on Service-Learning in Sydney, 18-20 April 2007. Community service learning aims to improve student outcomes by developing links between core curriculum, shared values and real-world problem solving. Participants will explore how to integrate elements of service learning into schools, working in partnership with families and the wider population.
New research from the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) has underlined the importance of student friendships in the transition from primary to secondary education. The research also found that identifying a teacher they liked and being able to organise new workload expectations helped students through the transition process. Students' expectations of bullying from older students were shown to be unfounded. (See report in QUT News, 25 January 2007.)
The Western Australian Career Development Centre has changed address and can now be contacted on (08) 9224 6500 (country callers 1800 999 167), Fax: (08) 9421 1344 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victoria's Minister for Education, John Lenders, has announced that a formal training package will now be available to school councillors. Support materials include a website with advice to schools, training modules, induction sessions for new school councillors and information sheets. Training will also cover school finance, policy development, school strategic planning and effective meeting procedures. Schools are encouraged to get in touch with their regional offices to access training. See Ministerial media release, 20 February 2007.
New Zealand Education Minister Steve Maharey has launched the Creating Pathways and Building Lives (CPaBL) program, designed to improve careers information and guidance. As part of CPaBL, Years 9 to 13 students will be given advice and information tailored to their future career choices. It will also specifically address the needs of students at high risk of leaving school with an early leaver's exemption. Currently 100 schools have been allocated funding to take part in the program, which includes professional development for teachers. See Ministerial media release, 16 February 2007.
An article in The Australian, 22 February 2007, covers continuing public discussion of various options to link teachers' pay to quality of teaching. See also media release, 21 February 2006, from the Australian Education Union.
The Western Australian Government is to embark on a teacher recruitment campaign in the United Kingdom as part of a wider strategy to attract more teachers to country regions of the State. See media release from Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan, 1 February 2007.
Victorian Premier Steve Bracks has proposed a ten-year plan to reform the State’s education system. The proposal, titled Victoria’s Plan to Improve Literacy and Numeracy Outcomes (see draft for public discussion), has a number of components. The highly successful Career Change program will be extended, to attract teachers from other professions to teach maths and science. Scholarships will be offered to maths and science students to become graduates. Assistants for secondary school teachers will be employed. Schools in need will receive help from specialist literacy teams. Schools will also be supported by specialists in English as a Second Language. Three science and maths centres are to be built, in addition to two new select entry schools and two specialist science and sports schools. The State's education 'Ultranet' will be available to all government schools. After public consultation, the State Government will seek Commonwealth support for the plan through COAG as part of the National Reform Agenda. The proposal also seeks Commonwealth funding over four years for a range of further actions. See Premier's media release, 19 February 2007. See also report in The Age, 20 February 2007.
The AEU's Budget Submission to the Victorian Government calls for the State to increase salaries and ensure ongoing employment for teachers. It also calls for Government-funded preschool education on a free and universal basis for all four-year-olds, and for three-year-olds from disadvantaged backgrounds; increasing the equity funding component for school funding to 5 per cent over the next four State Budget periods; increasing TAFE funding, and continuing the restoration of school infrastructure. See AEU media release, 21 February 2007 and commentary in The Age, also 21 February 2007.
Australian schools will receive a $181 million extension in funding through the Investing in Our Schools Program. The funding will pay for classroom upgrades, new toilet blocks, up-to-date computer labs and safe playgrounds. The additional payments provide $127 million to public schools and $54 million to non-government schools in 2007. The latest round of funds will be targeted to schools that have received little or no funding under the program so far. See Prime Minister's media release, 19 February 2007.