The Victorian Government has delayed the implementation of a new financial software system, which is currently being trialled in 330 Victorian public schools. See report in The Age, 28 February 2005.
A Victorian Parliamentary Committee has found that teacher training in Victoria does not adequately prepare teachers for the demands of the profession. Among the Education and Training Committee's 44 recommendations is a proposal that teacher preparation programs emphasise practical experience by increasing the time pre-service teachers spend in schools. See the article in The Australian, 1 March 2005, and the Committee's report, Inquiry into the Suitability of Pre-Service Teacher Training Courses, tabled in the Victorian Parliament on Monday, 28 February 2005.
The South Australian Education Minister, Jane Lomax Smith, has praised schools and local communities for the general decrease in truancy rates across the State. Schools had been encouraged to use the Attendance Improvement Package, released in 2003, to formulate their own programs to combat truancy. The Minister's News Release, 28 February 2005, contains details of the programs some schools are implementing to decrease student absences from school.
The South Australian Education Minister, Jane Lomax-Smith, has welcomed an Australian Bureau of Statistics report which shows that the Year 10 -Year 12 student retention rate in South Australian Government schools had increased from 83.7 per cent in 2003 to 86.1 per cent in 2004. The South Australian retention rate exceeds the national average of 77.6 per cent, and, according to the Minister, is a result of that State's adoption of initiatives such as the Futures Connect strategy, which has increased school-based vocational educational opportunities. For more information see News Release, 24 February 2005.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released the findings of the National Schools Census conducted in August 2004. The data depicts the changes in the educational landscape over the previous decade, from 1994-2004. Some of the findings of the report include the growth, by 22 per cent, in the number of students in the non-government schools sector; the continuing disparity between female and male retention rates to Year 12; a seven per cent increase in the number of Indigenous students who stay at school to Year 12 after beginning secondary school; and a decline in the teacher-student ratios in both primary and secondary schools. See Latest Australian Schools Census Results on the Australian Bureau of Statistics website.
A revised Competency Framework is to commence in Western Australian schools this term. The Framework has been developed with input from teachers, universities and the teachers' union. It defines teachers' work and roles, and required levels of knowledge and skills. Along with standards of technical competence, it defines expected professional attributes. The introduction of the Competency Framework will be accompanied by a booklet and support package, which will be sent to all public schools in the State. See School Matters, 11 February 2005.
The Queensland Government is embarking on a large scale program to construct new classrooms, as part of its planning for the introduction of a preparatory grade in 2007. Many existing school facilities will also be refurbished. Work is expected to start later this year. See report in Education Views, 11 February 2005.
The Age reports that the contracts of five State school principals have not been renewed due to concerns about the quality of their performance, and that another eight principals 'have been given 12 months to shape up'. The newspaper also contends that about 100 teachers have not had their contracts renewed due to concerns over their performance. See The Age, 28 February 2005.