The Australian Government will propose a new funding arrangement targeting disadvantaged schools to the forthcoming Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting. The arrangement would measure disadvantage in schools based on socioeconomic and child development indicators. See Minister's Radio 2GB interview transcript 17 March 2008 and Lateline interview transcript 18 March 2008. See also article 18 March 2008 and subsequent report 19 March 2008 in The Australian.
A statement on sustainability for all Queensland schools, titled Enough for all forever, will guide schools to meet their environmental obligations. The statement complements the National Environmental Statement for Australian Schools – Educating for a Sustainable Future and builds on the 2006 Brisbane Earth Dialogues' commitment to integrate the Earth Charter across school curricula. It also supports the Climate Smart 2050 Strategy. State Education Minister, Rod Welford, expects that the statement will encourage schools to develop environmental management plans. See Minister's media release 12 March 2008.
Students from Strathfield South and Windsor high schools in Sydney have worked together to produce a film about multiculturalism, stereotyping and racism. The film is titled We Are All Australian and was launched in mid-February. Schools across Australia have now received the film with its accompanying resource kit. The two schools had contrasting student populations, which led students to explore their own tendency to stereotype one another. The project was funded by a Department of Immigration and Citizenship Living in Harmony grant. See article in the Canberra Times 14 March 2008.
A new DVD titled Making a World of Difference has been produced for schools and teachers to encourage LOTE study. The DVD features interviews with students studying languages at school and university and reflections from people on how languages have enriched their life and career. Marlene Dingle, LOTE project officer for the Loddon Mallee Region, is promoting the DVD. It costs $15 and can be ordered from the Loddon Mallee Region Department of Education.
The results of a large study of class size in Tennessee, USA, known as Project Star, have been reanalysed to examine the socioeconomic learning gap. While reducing class size had a significant impact on the average level of achievement in a group, there was little effect on the achievement gap between rich and poor students. The study considered thousands of students over a four-year period from kindergarten to third grade. Students were randomly assigned to a small class with fewer than 18 students, a regular class with 22 to 25 students, or a regular class with an extra teacher's aide. See article in The Washington Post 10 March 2008.
The Arts Law Centre of Australia and Allens Arthur Robinson are presenting a continuing legal education session for legal practitioners. The seminar will take place on 31 March from 3:45 pm to 6:00 pm and will include presentations from industry experts on the latest legal issues and developments in Web 2.0. The venue is Deutsche Bank Place, corner of Hunter and Phillip streets, Sydney. Booking is essential. Tel: 02 9356 2566 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Two parents at Killarney Heights Public School have created a system for online lunch orders. The School Canteen Menu Processing System (SCaMPS) allows parents to order online, view the menu, check their account balance and make payments. A five-week pilot involving 50 families has found that the convenience of the system increased the number of orders overall, especially for healthy choices such as salads. SCaMPS is currently looking for other New South Wales schools to participate in a trial of the system.