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Curriculum & Leadership Journal
An electronic journal for leaders in education
ISSN: 1448-0743
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Education ministers' meeting April 2011

The Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) held its eleventh meeting on 15 April 2011. See Communiqué. The Council made a number of major decisions in relation to national education reforms. Ministers approved the Standards and Procedures for the Accreditation of Initial Teacher Education Programs in Australia, a companion to the National Professional Standards for Teachers released in February. Ministers endorsed a set of draft principles in relation to school funding and regulation across the government and non-government sectors, and received an update on the Australian Government Review of Funding for Schooling (see also separate news item this edition). Ministers agreed to funding for the ongoing maintenance of the national digital resources database to support the Australian Curriculum. Ministers also agreed on a draft Work Plan for the new COAG Standing Council (see also statement 16 April 2011 by NSW Minister for Education Adrian Piccoli on the Standing Council's committment to work on overcoming the rural urban divide in education). The meeting also discussed NAPLAN test security and protocols (see also separate news item this edition) and early childhood National Quality Agenda reforms.

Discussion of school funding review

The Australian Government's review of school funding continues to receive extensive attention in the press. See, for example, article and related article, both 28 April, in The Sydney Morning Heraldarticle in The Australian 28 April; article 27 April in CN: CathNews; and article in The Age 28 April 2011. See also article in The Canberra Times 27 April 2011, relating school funding to sex education and the teaching of evolution.

ACARA releases revised test protocols

ACARA has released the 2011 National Protocols for Test Administration, a document that provides detailed information on all aspects of the administration of national tests. It specifies security requirements and uniform processes and procedures to ensure students complete the tests under similar conditions. See details on NAP website. See also article in the West Australian (yahoo.com) 26 April 2011.

Further discussion of My School

The Australian Government's My School website is discussed in an article appearing The Age 21 April 2011.

Expressions of interest for Languages curriculum writers and advisory panel members

ACARA is seeking expressions of interest from suitably qualified and experienced curriculum writers and advisory panel members to assist in the development of the Australian Curriculum: Languages. Further information, including application details for curriculum writers and advisory panel members, is available through the ACARA website. Applications may be submitted until 5pm 27 May 2011. See also ACARA Update Issue 21, 19 April 2011.

Special education in the Australian Curriculum

ACARA is working to develop additional curriculum content and achievement standards for school age students with special education needs who are working towards the Foundation level of achievement. The term Foundation or Foundation Year has been used as a nationally consistent term for the year of schooling prior to Year 1 for the purpose of the Australian Curriculum. See further information on the Australian Curriculum website, or contact Margaret Lynch, Senior Project Officer, Special Education on 02 8098 3211 or margaret.lynch@acara.edu.au. See also ACARA Update Issue 21, 19 April 2011.

Australian Early Development Index data released

On 14 April 2011 the Australian Minister for School Education, Early Childhood and Youth, Peter Garrett, launched the latest results from the Australian Early Development Index (AEDI) study. The AEDI provides governments and communities with information on children's readiness for school. It measures five key areas of young children's development: physical health and wellbeing, social competence, emotional maturity, language and cognitive skills, and communication skills and general knowledge. See Minister's statement 14 April 2011.

Science programs Primary Connections and Learning By Doing

The Australian Government has indicated that funding will not be renewed for the education programs Primary Connections and Learning By Doing. See article in The Australian and report on the ABC's AM program, both 11 April 2011, and Australian Academy of Science news page.

Education survey of parents in Queensland's independent school sector

Independent Schools Queensland (ISQ) has released the results of their 'What Parents Want' survey, capturing responses from more than 2000 Queensland parents. The survey asked parents to nominate the sources of information that had influenced them most when they were deciding on a school for their children. The greatest influences were found to be friends and colleagues, other parents with children at a particular school, and school open days. The My School website ranked 8th out of 14 options. See ISQ statement 24 March 2011.

More students identified as having autism or mental disorders in WA schools

In Western Australia there has been a sharp rise in the number of students receiving additional assistance to cope with the effects of autism or serious mental disorders. See article 28 April 2011 in the West Australian (yahoo.com). See also article 28 April 2011 on early detection of autism in Newswise (University of California).