Communiqué of third MCEECDYA meeting
The Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) met on 15 April 2010. Topics discussed included priority areas of work for AITSL; governance arrangements for early childhood education and care; the prioritisation of Health and Physical Education (HPE) within phase three of the Australian Curriculum development plan; and issues related to student wellbeing. See Communiqué 15 April 2010.
Continued debate over proposed industrial action against NAPLAN tests
There has been continued discussion in the media of the AEU's planned industrial action related to NAPLAN tests. See article 20 April and related article 21 April 2010 in The Australian, and an article 21 April 2010 in WA Today. The issue has received further coverage in articles in The Courier-Mail, Perth Now and The Herald Sun, all 21 April 2010; The Sydney Morning Herald and The West Australian, both 20 April 2010; and in the Brisbane Times, 19 April 2010.
New measures for safety and wellbeing of international students
Education Minister Julia Gillard has announced a series of measures to improve the safety and wellbeing of international students. The measures include improved access to information, ties to communities, and the support of taskforces and statutory complaints bodies. See Minister's statement 21 April 2010.
Major new research project on early childhood development
A joint study funded by the Victorian and Queensland governments and the Australian Research Council will examine the development of children involved in a range of different early education and care environments such as kindergarten, daycare and in-home care. Researchers will track the development of 2,500 three-year-olds over five years. See article in The Sydney Morning Herald 20 April 2010.
Proposed changes to school funding formula
Australian Education Minister Julia Gillard has discussed proposed changes to funding models for government and non-government schools from 2011. See article in The West Australian 16 April 2010 and related article in The Sydney Morning Herald 21 April 2010.
New Minister for Education in Tasmania
Lin Thorp has been appointed Minister for Education and Skills and Minister for Children in the incoming Tasmanian Government. See statement from Tasmanian Premier David Bartlett 21 April 2010 and article in The Examiner 22 April 2010.
Education initiatives complement new Human Rights Framework
Education Minister Julia Gillard and Attorney-General Robert McClelland have outlined a range of measures to improve human rights education in schools and in the wider community. The measures will complement the new Human Rights Framework. See ministers' joint statement 21 April 2010.
Trial of secular ethics classes commences in NSW
A trial of secular ethics classes has commenced in 10 NSW primary schools. See statement 20 April by State Minister for Education and Training, Verity Firth. The Federation of Parents and Citizens' Associations of NSW has expressed strong support for the trial, however there has been ongoing criticism of it from some religious organisations. See news item 12 April from the Sydney Anglican Network, and article 19 April and related article 20 April 2010 in The Sydney Morning Herald.
Call for Papers: Future Directions in Literacy Conference 2010
The Future Directions in Literacy Conference 2010, to be held at The University of Sydney 3–4 September, is seeking proposals for presentations. The cut-off date for proposals is Friday 4 June. Please see the conference website for more information.
ACU Seminar: Responses to National Curriculum: English, Mathematics, Science & History K–12
To be held at ACU on 6 May, this seminar explores the implications of the Australian Curriculum in English, Mathematics, Science and History for teachers and schools K–12. Leading experts, scholars and representatives will lead panel presentations about content, scope, skills and assessment of each key learning area. The session will include plenary discussions about the implementation and professional learning issues of the national curriculum. Participants will have opportunities for group discussion and be invited to make recommendations across schools, sectors and stages to ACARA. More information and registration details can be found at the ACU website.
2010 ACTA International Conference
The 2010 ACTA International Conference will be held at Surfers Paradise from 7–10 July. The focus of the conference is the need to rethink and reconfigure TESOL practices in light of rapid global change and new challenges. The four strands of the conference will include pedagogy, assessment and evaluation, learners and learning, and curriculum and policy.
SA schools consider abandoning Year 12 specialist maths
Changes to the SA senior curriculum that reduce the number of compulsory Year 12 subjects from five to four could see the already low demand for specialist maths classes drop, warn maths educators. See article in Adelaide Now 21 April 2010.
Findings from new study challenge value of 'brain training' games
A new, large-scale study has found that popular 'brain-training' computer software programs do not offer any significant benefits in term of cognitive function. The study has been published in the science journal Nature. See news item on the Nature website 20 April 2010 and article in the Times Online 21 April 2010.
Calls for more widespread teaching of financial literacy
The need for more teaching of financial literacy skills has been raised in an article and editorial in Adelaide Now, both 20 April 2010.
Study: class sizes not a significant factor in achievement
A study has found that class sizes have a neglible effect on students' academic achievement, with quality of teaching and provision of support for struggling learners more important. See article in The Local 17 April 2010.
Split-day schooling for rural school
A school in rural Victoria is looking to trial a split-day timetable to accommodate growing student numbers. The proposed timetable would involve one group of children attending school in the morning, and the second in the afternoon. See article in The Age 18 April 2010.
Program to target eating disorders
A program called Media Smart, which has been trialled in Adelaide on a large cohort of Year 8 students, has been found to help reduce children's risk of developing an eating disorder. See article in Adelaide Now 23 April 2010.