The New South Wales Minister for Education and Training, Ms Carmel Tebbutt, has announced that $53 million will be spent on providing additional support for schools that have a significant number of Aboriginal students. The funds will support teacher incentive packages and extended students assessment and testing. See Ministerial media release 24 June 2005.
In New South Wales, schools, TAFE colleges and administrative areas are to have new infrastructure to support broadband Internet services. New routers will provide faster online service and better access to e-learning initiatives. See Ministerial media release 27 June 2005.
The introduction of a new curriculum in Victorian public schools may be delayed because the State Government will not give teachers two extra pupil-free days to implement it. The Australian Education Union says its members need the days to prepare for the curriculum, known as the Victorian Essential Learning Standards, scheduled to be introduced at the start of next year. The AEU also states that only about 200 schools are ready to introduce the VELS, with another 1500 not yet prepared for it. The Government has rejected the union's demands. See report in The Age 15 July 2005 and Herald Sun article 19 July 2005.
The Department of Education in the USA has recently released a list of priorities for education research to be supported by the Department's Institute of Educational Sciences over the next few years. Research aimed at improving academic achievement for minority students, those with limited English skills, and other students with disadvantages tops the list. See article in EducationWeek 13 July 2005 (free registration required).
Adding nutrition information to food can be effective in leading some students to eat healthier food, according to a new study in the USA which tracked the food choices made by groups of Year 9 to 12 students. See article in the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management.
A review of existing research into teacher education has just been released by the American Educational Research Association (AERA). The report finds little evidence connecting accreditation or success in teaching tests with success in the classroom, and recommends a broader research knowledge base be developed to review the success of teacher education programs. See article in EducationWeek (free registration required).
The southern hemisphere's first International Montessori Congress was held in Sydney recently. The Congress, with around 800 international delegates, was aimed at re-energising the movement. It discussed both the impact of the Montessori philosophy and ways in which it can be made more available to the general public. The Montessori movement views birth to six years as the fundamental time for developing knowledge and learning attitudes. It encourages children to learn at their own pace, with hands-on activities, and to develop a sense of global awareness. The movement was founded in 1907, with many of its concepts borrowed or adapted by other educational approaches since that time. See article in The Age: Education 11 July 2005.
Catholic Education Week in Queensland, July 17–23 celebrates 160 years of Catholic education in the state. Queensland's 283 Catholic schools are involved in various actvities and student awards throughout the week. See Ministerial media release for further information.
The Australian Government plans to abolish the board of the Australian Research Council. From next year the Council, which administers competitive research grants in Australia, is to be headed solely by its chief executive, who will answer to Education and Science Minister Dr Brendan Nelson. See report in The Age 19 July 2005.
The South Australian Minister for Education and Children's Services, Jane Lomax-Smith, has announced the establisment of a coalition to combat bullying and harassment in schools. The coalition includes representatives of all three school sectors – State, Catholic and Independent – as well as prominent academics and experts in the field of school bullying and harassment. For more information see the Media Release 11 July 2005.
Student suspensions from Western Australian schools have dropped by more than 1000 over the last three years. Total suspensions reached 7610 in 2004, but, according to the Minister for Education and Training, Ljiljanna Ravlich, more than two thirds of suspended students did not continue to offend once they returned to school, an outcome which has been attributed to the Western Australian Government's Behaviour Management and Discipline strategy. As a result, the total number of students excluded from Western Australian schools has also decreased. For more information see Media Statement 8 July 2005.