A number of media reports this week have considered state of maths education in Australia, following the celebration of World Maths Day on 4 March 2009. See report on ABC News, commentary in The Australian and article in the Courier Mail, all 4 March 2009.
The New South Wales Department of Education and Training is to establish a number of new supports to better enable teachers, principals and school communities to respond to child protection concerns. The Minister for Education and Training Verity Firth has announced the changes as part of the Government’s response to the report from Commissioner Wood’s inquiry into child protection services in the State. See Minister's media release 3 March 2009.
At its meeting in June this year, the Council of Australian Governments is expected to initiate further measures to improve young people's pathways into work or study in response to concerns that the number of school leavers not in a job or tertiary education will rise. See report in The Age 4 March 2009.
A new national project is investigating alcohol education programs used for secondary school students. Researchers will consult with experts and key stakeholders, including school staff, students, and parents, about their experience with school-based alcohol education programs. The project will also provide practical recommendations to the Australian Government. Interested people may become involved in the project by providing a short written submission or completing the online survey (both closing 3 April 2009). Additionally, interviews will be conducted (in person or via telephone) with school personnel and students from Government, Independent and Catholic schools in all Australian states and territories. For further details on how to get involved, visit http://www.nceta.flinders.edu.au or contact the NCETA office on (08) 8201 7535 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Australia's Education Minister Jane Lomax-Smith has announced that a new Year 12 subject, Research Project, is to be trialled at 240 schools this year. In the subject, students will undertake a major research project on a topic of interest. A draft subject outline has been prepared for Government, Catholic and independent high schools participating in the trial. The subject will formally commence in 2011. It is one of two compulsory new subjects in the new South Australian Certificate of Education (SACE). The other is the Personal Learning Plan, introduced for all Year 10 students from this year. The outcome of this year’s trials will be considered when updating the subject outline, before it is returned to the SACE Board for final accreditation. See Government media release 5 March 2009.
The South Australiann Government has announced details of a plan to encourage families to eat well, move more and live longer. The new five-year Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle (OPAL) program is aimed at tackling chronic disease in the community. See Government media release 4 March 2009.
Independent Schools Queensland’s new Centre for Educational Leadership and Innovation has hosted a two-day conference titled Creativity and Innovation – Possibilities, Practices, Partnerships. Keynote speaker and international innovation expert, Valerie Hannon, addressed the conference on the challenges education systems face in the twenty-first century and the imperative for profound innovation. See ISQ media release 3 March 2009 and report on ABC News 4 March 2009.
Queensland Education and Training Minister Rod Welford has launched the 2009 Keep Australia Beautiful Queensland Green and Healthy Schools Awards program. Schools recognised through the awards address issues such as environmental sustainability, nutrition, waste minimisation, energy usage, litter reduction and recycling. See Minister's media release 25 February 2009.