South Australia’s Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) has released its Statement of Directions 2005–2010 planning document. Linked to the overall South Australian Strategy Plan, the Statement of Directions will introduce steps toward system-wide academic standards for all children and students, and sets out a range of key targets. They include increasing the numbers of students completing Year 12, with specific targets set for Indigenous students. The literacy and numeracy performance of Year 3 and 5 students is to reach or exceed the national average by 2008. There are to be 750 more school counsellors and high numbers of integrated early children’s services. Other goals cover lowing absenteeism, increasing supply of teachers in undersupplied areas, developing and implementing teacher standards, and increasing the number of teachers with postgraduate qualifications. See report in Xpress 5 May 2005.
South Australia’s Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) has announced the new Moving Forward with SACSA strategy. The strategy is an initiative to re-invigorate and support all sites in their effective use of the SACSA (South Australian Curriculum Standards and Accountability) Framework as DECS’s core curriculum policy. The strategy describes the valued learning for all children and students in DECS preschools and schools in South Australia. It will support educators’ capacities to improve the wellbeing of all learners by engaging them effectively in their learning. It will assist teachers to make valid, consistent judgements of learner achievements against the SACSA Developmental Learning Outcomes and Curriculum Standards. The strategy will inform decision-making about teaching and learning, with schools better able to use data about learning achievements. See report in Xpress, 5 May 2005.
Key functional areas in Western Australia’s Department of Education and Training are to be changed as the State Government moves to implement a major spending program over the next four years. The new line up will include two new directors, one to lead a retention and transition program for 16–17 year olds, and the other with responsibility for post-compulsory assessment and performance. Peter Hamilton, Director of Behaviour Standards and Wellbeing, will administer the School Psychology Service, which will be aligned to meet the strategic directions including behaviour management, bullying and suicide prevention. David Axworthy, Director Standards and Accountability, will develop accountability and accreditation policy. Pam Moss will oversee Early Years, K–10 Academic Standards and Support, with responsibilities including literacy and numeracy programs, ESL, and gifted and talented learning. Robert Somerville will be Director, Indigenous Participation and Achievement Standards. See report in School Matters 6 May 2005.
The Northern Territory's Emerging Leaders Program (ELP) is a professional development initiative aiming to embed dynamic leadership behaviour with the learning culture of the Department of Employment, Education and Training. As part of the program senior management, sponsors and colleagues attend networking sessions during three-day face to face forums. The Department's People and Learning Division is currently running programs in a range of locations. See report in InForm Volume 4 issue 2. p 15.
The nation’s largest educator of new teachers, the five universities of the Australian Technology Network (ATN), has decried the current Federal funding formula for education as ‘naïve’. In its submission to a House of Representatives inquiry into Teacher Education, the ATN warns that Australia already has a severe shortage of professors and lecturers in the education faculty. It’s also told the inquiry that inadequate funding is preventing trainee teachers from gaining valuable classroom experience. See ATN media release, 18 April 2005.
Data collected during the OECD's Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) found that students' academic performance tended to rise with the level of their use of computers at home and classroom. However, Germans researchers Thomas Fuchs and Ludger Woessmann at the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, University of Munich, argue that the original PISA research methodology did not allow adequately for other factors producing high academic achievement. They claim that when these factors are allowed for, the PISA results show a negative link between computer use and school performance, due to the use of computers for entertainment rather than study. See their article published in 2004 in the Ideas bibliographic database.
The State and Territory Education Ministers have agreed to implement a study which will investigate the most effective means to report the levels of funding available to schools and students. It's anticipated that the study will allow for better comparisons to be made across education systems. For more information see News Release, 12 May 2005.
The South Australian Government's SA Solar Schools Program aims to have 250 schools using solar power within the next 10 years. So far 74 schools have 'switched' to solar power, and 30 more have been designated as intended recipients of this power source. The SA Solar Schools Program, launched in 2003, is a $1.25 million initiative. For more information see News Release, 3 May 2005.
In a bid to attract more international students to Victoria, the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) and the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning will be accredited with the Australian Certificate of Education (ACE) trademark. That accreditation deems that the two programs of learning meet the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework. The ACE trademark is available to all Australian education jurisdictions. For more information see Media Release, 12 May 2005.