The Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard has spoken on plans regarding school performance reporting and principals' accountability during SBS television's Insight program 18 August 2009. See also article in the Brisbane Times and article in The Age both 19 August 2009, report in The Courier Mail 20 August 2009, and commentary by Ian Keese, Secretary of the Australian College of Educators New South Wales, in Online Opinion 21 August 2009.
Andrew Blair, head of ASPA, and Allan Shaw, chief executive of AHISA, have joined other school leaders in the public, independent and Catholic sectors in calling for a national body to coordinate and accredit professional development programs for school leaders. The National Institute for School Leadership, which whould have links with higher education providers, would improve the cohesiveness and breadth of current approaches to professional development. See article in The Sydney Morning Herald 20 August 2009.
The Australian Government Minister for Education, Julia Gillard, has announced new funding for projects aimed at improving the participation and engagement of around 700 Indigenous girls in secondary schools, as part of the Sporting Chance Program. The program has previously been highly successful in maximising the participation of boys. See Minister's media statement 19 August 2009.
Autism is a lifelong developmental disorder for which as yet there is no cure. Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is running a new community service announcement campaign to generate greater awareness about the disorder. One current intiative is the Autism Hour website. Named to mark the start of the first Asia Pacific Autism Conference at 9 am on 21 August 2009, this site invites readers to register their support for those affected by the condition.
The new Primary School Skills for the Future strategy will see $7.8 million distributed to primary schools in South Australia to improve students' skills in maths, science and literacy. The strategy also involves specialist mathematics and science training for all teachers, the expansion of best practice programs, and the implementation of minimum tuition hours in the identified areas. See South Australia Government media release 17 August 2009.
Western Australia's Education Minister Liz Constable has invited public comment on a nine-point draft plan designed to improve student attendance in public schools. Launching the 'Better Attendance: Brighter Futures' draft strategy, Dr Constable challenged parents and the wider community to play a greater role in getting children to school. See Minister's media statement 19 August 2009.
A West Australian Parliamentary Committee has made a number of recommendations to improve literacy teaching at primary level. Among the recommendations is an exhortation for a systemic return to explicit grammar and phonics instruction. See report on ABC News and article on PerthNow (news.com.au) both 13 August 2009.
As part of a trial program to address antisocial behaviour, reduce truancy, and improve community relationships, police officers will spend two afternoons each week at Gilmore College, Western Australia, working with students with behavioural issues. See Ministers' media statement 14 August 2009.
A US-based study of 562 adults has found 'measurable correlations between video-game playing and health risks' including depression and high body mass index (BMI). Adult video-game players were likely to be less extraverted than non-players, a finding consistent with the characteristics of teenage video-game players identified in previous studies. See article in The Australian 19 August 2009.
US-based software provider CourseSmart has released a free iPhone application allowing US and Canadian university students to download electronic versions of textbooks. The eTextbooks can be printed or saved to custom study guides. See article in The Sydney Morning Herald 12 August 2009.