Five people have been banned from South Australian schools since legislation banning violent and abusive people from schools came into effect last June. People behaving in a verbally or physically intimidating manner can be banned from school grounds for up to three months under the laws. For more information see News Release, 4 March 2005.
The Victorian Minister for Education Services, Jacinta Allan, has announced that the roles and responsibilities of school councils in Victoria will be reviewed, to ensure that the administrative arrangements under which they operate are commensurate with their role. The current procedures came into effect in 1976, and their review parallels the review of Victoria's education laws. Students, parents and school staff are invited to make submissions to the School Governance Review before 31 May 2005. A discussion paper is available from the Department of Education and Training. For more information see Media Release, 3 March 2005.
Indigenous students from southeast Queensland participated this week in the first Constitutional Convention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. The Queensland Government, in collaboration with the Catholic and Independent sectors, has funded School Constitutional Conventions since 1997. This year's Constitutional Convention for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students is a fulfillment of the recommendations of the Queensland Parliament's Hands on Parliament Report (2003), which recommended that civics and citizenship education include the experiences of Indigenous people. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 3 March 2005.
Healthy Schools Vans, an innovation of the Queensland Government's Safe and Healthy Schools initiative, will tour Queensland schools, helping them to deliver nutritional advice and physical fitness education in their curricula. Each van will be staffed by a nutritionist and a teacher, and it is anticipated that the program will address the growing incidence of obesity in young people by making them more aware of the impact of their lifestyle choices on their health. For more information see Ministerial Media Statements, 1 March 2005.
A recent report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has found that the overuse of summative assessment is encouraging teachers to teach for testing, at the expense of developing students' analytical and problem-solving skills. The report, Formative assessment: improving learning in secondary schools, recommends that teachers use 'assessment for learning', which uses assessment to improve student learning, as opposed to merely gauging their performance. For more information see the Times Educational Supplement, 4 February 2005. Australian Educators can find further information on assessment for learning by visiting the Assessment for Learning project on the Curriculum Corporation website.
Prime Minister John Howard has called for more young people to consider leaving school after Year 10 to take up trades, as part of a move to address growing skills shortages in the economy. See report from News.com.au 6 March 2005. See also a report on new research into vocational programs for youth in The Age: Education 7 March 2005.
A school principal has challenged Victoria's new regime of police checks on teachers, calling for the reinstatement of a teacher who recently lost his job. The teacher was convicted for an offence involving a consensual relationship with a 15-year-old when he was 20 years of age, over a decade ago. See report in The Age 11 March 2005
Industry groups want shorter apprentice schemes to get workers qualified more quickly and to reduce the high apprentice drop-out rate. See report in The Australian 8 March 2005.
Jennifer Buckingham considers the absence of literacy training in pre-service education courses, and questions the efficacy of educational research that lacks a quantitative research methodology. See the article in The Australian, 28 February 2005.
A new course at the University of Queensland is focussing on school reform and educational change. Schools that Learn: Creating Futures that Matter is looking at issues such as the difficulty of sustaining social change and the role of educational institutions in facilitating that change.
Queensland's Department of Education and the Arts has released guidelines outlining policy and procedures for investigations into alleged employee misconduct. See report in Education Views 11 February 2005.