Queensland State, Catholic and independent schools will seek to include agreed values across their curriculums following that State's endorsement of the National Framework for Values Education in Australian Schools. Schools will host forums in order to involve parents and the broader community in the process of formulating and implementing Values Education policies. The program will receive $1.75 million dollars over the next three years from the Commonwealth Government. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement 29 August 2005.
Success Made Simple is a new Queensland Government program to help engage Pacific Island students in education. It is anticipated that the after-school program, which is part of the 'learning or earning' initiative that comes into effect in 2006, and which will assist the educational, emotional and cultural development of Pacific Island students in Years 9 and 10, will be introduced in secondary schools in the Logan-Beaudesert region. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement 2 September 2005.
The South Australian Government will introduce a new student report card later this year. The new format will accommodate the Commonwealth Government's proposal to use the A–E grading system, but it will also inform parents about their child's development according to their age cohort, outline students' academic weaknesses and strengths, provide information about school attendance, and compare student performances across the State. For more information see Media Release 29 August 2005.
Schools in South Australia are reaping the rewards of their attendance programs in lower unexplained student absences from school. Unexplained absences have decreased continually since 2002, and were just 2.8 per cent of all school absences in 2004. Students who have high rates of unexplained absences from school are more likely to be at risk of not completing their education. For more information and a statistical summary of student attendance rates in South Australia see Media Release 31 August 2005.
The percentage of young Australians who proceed directly from Year 12 to university has fallen 20 per cent since the mid 1990s, according to new figures from the Australian Government Department of Education, Science and Training. The proportion of Year 12 leavers going directly to TAFE has dropped by 11 per cent over the same period. See report in The Australian, 5 September 2005.
Schools will soon be able to lodge an application for funding to conduct a professional learning program for teachers on boys' education. The national Success for Boys program is a $19.4m initiative of the Department of Education, Science and Training. The first round of funding for 800 schools will open shortly. Funding will be for the 2006 school year. There will be a second round of funding in 2007. The program for teachers uses the Success for Boys professional learning modules, currently being trialled in 40 schools. Schools may wish to apply as a cluster and coordinate their implementation of the program. Applications will be accepted online through the website, which will also provide detailed guidelines and selection criteria.
The inaugural Game Programming in Schools Conference is being held on 9 September 2005 at Swinburne University in Melbourne. It is exploring the learning theory underpinning game programming in schools. Speakers from around Australia are sharing best practice in using game programming as a relevant, authentic and highly motivating task which develops higher order cognitive and metacognitive skills.
The new Partnerships Project website will include 61 case studies of innovative parent–school and community partnerships in action. The case studies, which are currently under way, form part of the research phase for the draft National Framework for Family School Partnerships.
Teachers Without Borders is an organisation focused on improving access to education, primarily in developing countries. The group aims to act as a forum for best practice teaching knowledge from various cultures, and has developed a number of projects to enhance teaching and community education in various locations. Their website details further information, lesson plans and links to online resources.
A New Zealand pilot project has seen legal penalties applied to parents of persistently truant students. The project has been found to improve attendance in some cases, and may be extended nationwide by the Ministry of Education. The scheme focuses on intervention, with prosecution as a last resort and provision for discharge without conviction if attendance improves after a probation period. See article in the Eastern Courier 26 August 2005.
An examination marker for England's General Certificate of School Education (GCSE) writes that the standard of learning demanded in examination questions is 'unbelievably low' and falling further. See article in the Education Guardian 25 August 2005.
New Zealand secondary teachers will be able to attend professional workshops on Scholarship Performance Standards 2005 through financial assistance from the Ministry of Education. The workshops form part of a broader strategy to ensure successful implementation of NCEA and scholarship changes in 2005. See article in the New Zealand Education Gazette, 22 August 2005.
The Community Technicians' Project (COMTEC) has been developed to assist New Zealand's rural, remote and low decile schools. Through COMTEC, clusters of these schools nominate skilled members of the local community for training in information and communications technology. Once trained, these individuals provide ongoing technical support in the schools. COMTEC recently won an award for excellence in the use of ICT. See news brief in the New Zealand Education Gazette, 22 August 2005.