The Ministerial Schools Funding Reference Group held its first meeting on 29 March 2012. See remarks to the meeting by Australian Minister for Education Peter Garrett, and his doorstop interview. See also report and comment in the Canberra Times, all 29 March and article in the Sydney Morning Herald 30 March 2012.
Draft papers, the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies and the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Health & Physical Education, are now available for national public consultation until 3 June 2012. Feedback will be used to revise the draft Shape papers, which will then be published as the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Technologies and the Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Health & Physical Education. These papers will guide the writing of the Foundation to year 12 curriculums in these learning areas. See ACARA Update 15 March 2012.
The NSW Education Department is currently reviewing its policy on internet filtering, with possible implications for access to social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter at school. See article in the Sydney Morning Herald 29 March 2012.
On 3 May 2011, the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced the More Support for Students with Disabilities initiative. Under the initiative the Australian Government is providing $200 million additional funding to government and non-government education authorities to support their work with students with disabilities and/or learning difficulties. This is a short-term initiative being delivered over the 2012 and 2013 school years. As at 27 March 2012 the following jurisdictions have signed the agreement: New South Wales, Queensland, Tasmania, Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory. On 12 April the Parliamentary Secretary for School Education, Jacinta Collins, will take part in a forum about school funding reform, and the needs of students with disabilities. The initiative has attracted widespread comment. See, for example, article 28 March in The Sydney Morning Herald and report on ABC News 27 March 2012.
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has announced the launch of the Standing Council on School Education and Early Childhood (SCSEEC). The Standing Council replaces the Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA). Western Australia's Minister for Education, Elizabeth Constable, is the inaugural Chair of the SCSEEC.
The New Zealand Model of Charter School Working Group was established to provide advice to Government on developing and implementing a unique New Zealand model of charter school. The group brings together leaders from education, business and the community to offer a fresh perspective to lifting learner achievement in the areas where it is needed the most. See New Zealand Government media statement. See also statement from the New Zealand Educational Institute and statement from the Quality Public Education Coalition, 28 March 2012.
The Australian Council for Educational Leaders (ACEL) will hold its annual conference in Brisbane this October. Titled An Inquiry Mindset, the conference will consider new ideas for the conceptual age, and the nature of the 21st century classroom.