Prime Minister John Howard has announced that the Australian Government will 'require the teaching of at least 150 hours of Australian History to all junior secondary school students in Australia' from 2009. The Prime Minister will seek cooperation from Premiers and Chief Ministers on further measures, including 'consideration of assessment techniques, detailed curriculum and associated resources required to support this outcome'. See his media release 11 October 2007. The Australian Government has published a Guide to the Teaching of Australian History in Years 9 and 10. Developed by the Australian History Curriculum Reference Group, it provides the rationale and objectives for the study of Australian History in Years 9 and 10 as a separate subject in schools across Australia. See summary information provided by the Department of Education Science and Training. The proposal to mandate the teaching of Australian History will be embedded in the Australian Government's four-year education funding agreement with the States and Territories, due for re-negotiation next year, according to articles in The Australian, The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald (all 11 October 2007).
The Council for the Australian Federation has released a final version of The Future of Schooling in Australia report. The Council comprises the Premiers and Chief Ministers of all States and Territories. The report proposes a national framework for schooling, and includes a 12-point action plan to which all States and Territories have agreed. The final report follows the release of a draft version in April 2007 (revised following broad public consultation). See statement produced by the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet. The final report revises the draft version’s statement on public reporting of student assessment. The significance of this change was discussed in an article in The Australian on 27 September 2007. An earlier article in The Australian on 26 September 2007 discussed the extent to which the Council’s report supports comparisons of student results between individual schools and between sectors.
The Australian Primary Principals' Association (APPA) has released the final version of its charter for primary education. The final charter draws on the findings of an online survey of 1580 respondents, almost three quarters of which are from government schools. The charter calls for English literacy, Maths, Science and 'Social Education' to be core P-6 subjects. Social education includes history, geography, environmental studies and civics education. The emphasis given to non-core subjects such as languages, physical education and music would depend on 'an assessment of the needs of students, and the capacity of the school - including the availability of staff members with the expertise to teach the subject, time available, resourcing, support from the local community, and the tradition and profile of the school.' See APPA media release 1 October 2007. See also article in The Age, article in the Sydney Morning Herald and report in The Australian (all 2 October 2007) and opinion piece in The Age 8 October 2007.
School libraries in Australia are encouraged to participate in two online surveys being conducted through the Australian School Libraries Research Project. The surveys will be conducted from 15 October until 2 November 2007 with the aim of building an accurate snapshot of all school libraries in Australia in the areas of resource levels, budgets and personnel. Confidentiality will be maintained. The project is a joint initiative of the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), the Australian School Library Association (ASLA) and Edith Cowan University (ECU). The survey will be activated on 15 October 2007.
Individuals or organisations are invited to apply for grants of between $2000 and $40,000 to run a science-themed activity during National Science Week 2008 (16-24 August 2008). Funding is provided by the Australian Government through the National Science Week Grants Programme administered by the Science Awareness Section of the Department of Education, Science and Training (DEST). Applications close Friday 19 October 2007.
The New Zealand Ministry of Education is calling for feedback on the recently released Ka Hikitia – Managing for Success: The Draft Maori Education Strategy 2008 – 2012. The strategy aims to address the current performance levels of Maori students and ensure more equitable outcomes. The draft proposes increased use of personalised learning, system flexibility and student-centred teaching, and outlines the need for increased professional learning for teachers. Consultation will close October 31, 2007. See article in The New Zealand Education Gazette, 17 September 2007.
An article in New Zealand's Sunday Star Times expresses concerns about the new primary and secondary curriculum due to be released in November and introduced in 2009. See article 23 September 2007 (stuff.co.nz).
Sponsored by Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training, the Judith Leeson Award is open to primary and secondary teachers involved in delivering a career education program. Nominations must be made by principals. Questions can be directed to Cameron Picton, 03 9207 9600.
The ACSSO National Education Conference will be held in Darwin on Monday 22–Tuesday 23 October 2007. The conference themes are Family-School Partnerships, School Communities Reaching Out to the Public, and Indigenous Education.
In New South Wales, the Deputy Director-General of Schools, Trevor Fletcher, has called attention to figures showing that that the drift in enrolments from government to non-government schools has almost stopped. He has predicted that forthcoming figures will show an increase in the proportion of students attending government schools in the State. See article in the Sydney Morning Herald 30 September 2007.
The study of Mandarin is set to become compulsory in some New South Wales public schools from next year. See report in the Sydney Morning Herald 21 September, 2007.
An article in the The Age: Education 8 October 2007 indicates that some public schools in Victoria have failed to meet new reporting requirements.
Collingwood College, a Victorian public school, is under investigation after more than 60 per cent of its prep students failed to meet State Government standards for reading and maths. The College offers the Steiner method as well as mainstream, Reggio Emilia and vocational curriculums. The Steiner curriculum does not introduce reading and writing until children are seven years old. Critics have questioned the spiritual basis of the Steiner system. By Year 10, 82 per cent of students at Collingwood College are performing at an expected level for reading and writing. The review follows an inquiry into the Steiner stream at Footscray City Primary School. See article in The Australian 10 September 2007.
Mission Australia has expressed concern at the level and distribution of public investment in pre-school education in Australia. The organisation has compared government spending levels in Australia to those in New Zealand and the OECD average. See Mission Australia media release and article in The Australian, both 28 September 2007.
Western Australia is undertaking a campaign to recruit teachers currently living in Victoria or Tasmania. See statement from Western Australia Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan 7 October 2007, ABC News report and article in The Age both 8 October 2007, and report in Perth Now (Sunday Times) 6 October 2007.
The Western Australian Government's Academic Scholarship Program helps staff to pursue postgraduate study at Graduate Certificate, Graduate Diploma, Masters and Doctoral levels by contributing the cost of tuition fees. All employees in the State Department of Education and Training, including fixed-term, contract or teachers currently on probation, who are full-time or part-time (0.4 and above) are eligible to apply. Applications close on Friday, 26 October 2007.
The Western Australian College of Teaching has demanded that teachers pay overdue membership fees by 26 October 2007 or be deregistered. About 3,000 teachers, including 1,600 classroom teachers, have refused to pay their fees owing to concerns about the performance of the College, according to an article in The Australian 29 September 2007.