The Australian Primary Principals Association (APPA) has published a new position paper. Issues covered in the paper include the primary curriculum, assessment, reporting to parents, support for specialist staff, staffing schools in disadvantaged communities, teacher supply, teacher pay, leadership and principal wellbeing, behaviour management and school funding. See also article in The Australian 8 August 2008
Dr Ken Rowe, chair of the 2005 National Inquiry into the Teaching of Literacy, has criticised Australia's university teacher education faculties, arguing that they have not implemented the Inquiry's recommendation that phonics should be the central method used to teach children to read. See article in The Age 4 August 2008.
Professor Geoff Masters, Chief Executive of the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), is urging that students should be required to demonstrate that they have achieved minimum standards in some basic skills before being awarded the Year 12 certificate. The skills should include reading, writing, numeracy, science, civics and citizenship, and information technology. See article in The Australian 7 August 2008. See also response from the President of the New South Wales Secondary Principals Council, Jim McAlpine, described in an article in the Sydney Morning Herald 8 August 2008.
The Tasmanian Government is to upgrade Rokeby High School to turn it into a specialist teacher learning centre. The centre is expected to open early next year. Second-year education students from the University of Tasmania will participate. See media release by Tasmanian Premier and Minister for Education and Skills, David Bartlett, 5 August 2008, and report by ABC News 6 August 2008.
The Victorian Government has begun appointing principals on executive contracts as part of a move to improve poorly performing schools. The new system allows the Government to give the best principals higher salaries to attract them to schools in disadvantaged areas. See report from ABC News 6 August 2008.
The Victorian Government is planning to establish a leadership centre for principals. The centre 'will draw on international experts, provide principals with government support and find ways to encourage more teachers to become school leaders', according to an article in The Age 5 August 2008.
In Western Australia, seven of the 17 members of the State School Teachers Union (SSTU) executive have indicated their opposition to the proposed agreement over pay and conditions negotiated between the union's executive and the Western Australian Government. Union members are to vote on whether to accept the agreement. The State's Primary Principals Association has also expressed concern at the level of support provided for principals under the agreement. See article in The West Australian 5 August 2008.
The MYSA Victorian Regional Network invites participants to their Melbourne conference, Drumming to the Middle Schooling Beat. The conference will feature a performance by Teambeat’s Master Drummers from Africa and highly-trained musicians, as well as two keynote speakers, Curriculum Corporation's CEO Susan Mann and Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson. A post-conference workshop on facilitative leadership will be held on Saturday 6 September.
South Australia's Premier, Mike Rann, has indicated his continued opposition to a claim over pay and working conditions advanced by the Australian Education Union (AEU). See report from News.com.au 7 August 2008.
In England, the teaching of writing in primary schools is to be overhauled in September, 'following test results which show that one in three 11-year-olds struggles to write'. See article in The Independent 6 August 2008. See also abstract of an article by Dominic Wyse in the current edition of Curriculum Leadership, referring to changes in literacy teaching in England's Early Years Foundation Stage curriculum.
Intesar Hamdan, program director of the Palestinian Teacher Creativity Center, describes a range of obstacles to the education of Palestinian children in a report by the Palestinian News Network (PNN) 9 July 2008. The PNN is supported by the Holy Land Trust, a body whose partners include World Vision and the American Friends Services Committee.
Independent schools in Sweden have been attracting increasing numbers of students since their introduction 16 years ago. While state-run schools follow a uniform national curriculum, the friskolor – or independent schools – choose their own teaching methods and staff and manage their own buildings. They remain completely government-financed and are not allowed to charge tuition fees. See Associated Press report 26 July 2008.