The Western Australian Minister for Education and Training, Ljiljanna Ravlich, has signalled her intention to adopt a number of recommendations made by the Robson Taskforce. New courses in English, Media and Engineering will be introduced in Year 11 in 2006, and the current Year 11 Aviation course will be transferred to Year 12. Professional development support for teachers, as well as monitoring of the new courses, will serve to maintain educational standards. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement, 29 July 2005.
Jump into School is a collection of stories from Indigenous familes about their experiences of early years education in Tasmania. The collection is aimed at informing Indigenous families and those working in the sector about the services available to familes, and at overcoming some of the cultural barriers which may sometimes impede access to those services. For more information see Ministerial Media Release, 29 July 2005.
A provision in the United Kingdom Education Act (1944) allows school students to be absent from school if they are being educated elsewhere. According to Amelia Hill, education correspondent for The Observer, parents who prefer to educate their children at home for some of the week are availing themselves of this legislative option, with their local schools' co-operation. Some students are only attending school for part of the week, with their parents taking responsibility for their education for the remainder of the time. See the article in The Observer, 31 July 2005.
High achieving schools in Massachusetts are considering relieving the stress on their students by abolishing mid-year examinations and homework during school vacations, according to Anand Vaishnav of The Boston Globe. Students' physical and emotional wellbeing are being threatened by the demands that schools and tertiary institutions place on them to achieve at ever increasing levels of attainment. See the article in The Boston Globe, 31 July 2005.
NZEI RouRou reports that a survey of principals conducted by the New Zealand Principals' Federation has found that almost 40 per cent of them experience high levels of stress, half have problems sleeping, and 61 per cent are not able to spend time on themselves. Principals' administrative workloads and demands by parents for more access to principals are possible contributors to principals' overall experience of stress. See NZEI RouRou, 26 July 2005.
Guidelines for teachers dealing with violent behaviour in special schools may include new powers to physically restain students. The Victorian State Government is expected to produce a set of guidelines, in response to current assault levels and WorkCover claims. See article in The Age, 4 August 2005.
In the USA, a debate between scientists and religious conservatives has escalated after the President, George Bush, suggested that the theory of intelligent design (ID) should be taught in public schools alongside the Darwinian theory of evolution. See article in the Sydney Morning Herald, 4 August 2005. Advocates of ID have taken heart from President Bush's remarks. See report in Los Angeles Times, 3 August 2005 (free registration required). For background information see the recent report in New Scientist, abstracted last week in Curriculum Leadership.
The Watch This! debate recently held by the British Film Institute (BFI) has resulted in a top 50 list of movies for kids under 14. Created by leading film producers, teachers, authors, critics and BFI staff, the list aims to promote the importance and seriousness of films within learning. Films range from Hollywood blockbusters to cultural pieces from around the world. The UK's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is considering the list as part of its English lessons review. Australian films Rabbit-Proof Fence, Walkabout and Baz Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet feature on the list. See article on news.com.au, 24 July 2005.
The Chinese Government, in response to unfulfilled demand for Chinese language teachers and resources around the world, is introducing measures to increase language learning. The Government will establish a domestic research centre for Chinese teaching, promote teacher training and working overseas, and increase provision of teaching materials. A new innovative teaching method and efficiency tests for different countries, based on specific needs, will also be developed. See article on China View, 22 July 2005.
England's Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) has concluded that human error in exam marking is 'inevitable', and that public expectation for an error-free exam system is unreasonable. The QCA's principle research assistant Paul Newton, who has analysed over 78 newspaper reports on exam issues, has suggested that an 'error tolerance' should be adopted. Agreed by experts, this would be the error level considered unavoidable, and would ensure the reliability and comparability of results. See article in BBC News, 22 July 2005.
The Australian Indigenous Training Advisory Council (AITAC) has announced its priorities for the new National Vocational Education and Training (VET) System. Six priorities are outlined for Indigenous leaners in the Partners in a learning culture – the way forward document, which was released on 30 June 2005.
Latest figures from the Teacher Training Agency (TTA) report that newly qualified primary teachers in the north-east, north-west and south-west of England, are struggling to find positions. Demand for teachers in London, the south-east and other inner-cities, as well as in maths and science subjects remains high. Figures also show the average age of a qualifying teacher has risen to 30 due to an increase in employment-based training options, where students are paid for time spent in the classroom. Such schemes have been successful in increasing the percentage of men and ethnic minorities undertaking teacher training. See article in The Guardian, 22 July 2005.
Shalom Christian College in Townsville is calling for the federal funding of regional Indigenous schools to be increased, in line with the funding provided to schools in remote areas. The boarding school points out that Indigenous students in remote areas face specific social, environmental and health issues, and often lack access to early education. See article in ABC Online, 15 July 2005.