The Group of Eight (Go8) alliance of universities has released a policy paper, Languages in Crisis, in which it outlines a plan 'to halt the decline in foreign language education in Australia'. The report notes that only seven languages are well-covered at the tertiary level and that this lack of opportunity is restricting the supply of future school teachers in the discipline. Amongst other measures, it calls for a consistent national approach to language education at all levels of education, the staged introduction of compulsory second language education from primary to Year 10, and the expansion of incentives to encourage the completion of language studies to Year 12 and at university. See Go8 media release 1 June 2007; Languages Education in Australia bulletin 7 June 2007; report on the summit in The Australian 13 June 2007; and 'New warning on Australia's foreign language crisis' in Campus Review 5 June 2007, p4.
The Minister for Education, Science and Training, Julie Bishop, has announced that the Australian Government will conduct a tender process to engage an expert to develop models of performance-based pay for teachers, to be trialled in Australian schools. See Minister's media release report in The Age and commentary in The Australian, all 12 June 2007.
Tasmania's Minister for Education, David Bartlett, has announced plans to reform Tasmania’s post-Year 10 education system. The reforms will provide 'three options for students, the first two of which will be governed by representatives from business, industry and the community'. The three options are an 'academy' focussed on academic learning, specifically geared to students heading for university, a 'polytechnic' with practical and academic learning that offers a vocational pathway, and a 'training enterprise building on existing skills (that operates) as a Government Business Enterprise. The training enterprise will operate as a working partnership with employers and it will be directly managed by key members of Tasmanian business and industry'. It 'will cater for people who have existing basic or highly developed skills and need to develop them'. See Ministerial media release Education Reforms For The Future 12 June 2007 and related media releases 7-14 June 2007.
Ms Sharyn O'Neill has been appointed Director-General of the Department of Education, Western Australia. Ms O'Neill, a former rural primary school teacher, is the third woman and youngest-ever person to hold the position. See article in The West Australian 12 June 2007.
Principals in Victoria are calling for laws to protect teachers from physical abuse, threats and harassment from parents. See article in The Age, 10 June 2007.
Upper primary students in New South Wales will learn about respect, responsibility and teamwork when the new Fair Play Program begins next month. Recently announced by the State Government, the program's sports field and classroom-based lessons will involve parents, coaches and players. See article in The Daily Telegraph, 14 June 2007.
A website designed for students to rate their teachers' performance has been described by the AEU as scurrilous and defamatory, but authorities are powerless to shut it down or take legal action because the site is based in the USA. See article in The Age 12 June 2007
In response to the recently completed report ‘Whole-School Approaches to Sustainability: A Review of Models for Professional Development in Pre-Service Teacher Education’, the Australian Research Institute in Education for Sustainability (ARIES) has began an ambitious project funded by the Australian Government Department of the Environment and Water Resources through the Natural Heritage Trust. The project will involve government agencies, universities, boards of teacher registrations and other stakeholders working in partnership with ARIES to mainstream sustainability within pre-service teacher education in several states. The project seeks to improve opportunities for trainee teachers to develop knowledge and competence in this area which will assist with the implementation of the National Environmental Education Statement. ARIES is seeking expressions of interest from individuals and organisations who have experience in Education for Sustainability and are in a position to work closely with key stakeholders within their State or Territory to mainstream Education for Sustainability across pre-service teacher education. Interested parties should read and complete the Expression of Interest form and return by 3 July 2007. We invite you to visit our website at http://www.aries.mq.edu.au to download the EOI or for further information on ARIES publications, projects, news and events.
About half the secondary schools in Melbourne's northern suburbs are in the lowest 20 per cent of the State in terms of VCE results, according to figures obtained by The Age newspaper. See report in The Age 12 June 2007.
Lateness is an issue frequently faced by schools. The new 'Beat the Buzzer' game from the Raising Children Network aims to help students and families get organised in the mornings. See article in the Herald Sun, 12 June 2007.