Access to social and job networks constitutes the greatest reason for sending children to independent schools, according to a national poll of 125 parents with school-age children. The poll was commissioned by ACSSO and managed by economic consultant Dr Richard Denniss. The poll rated proximity of the school to home as the least important criteria for a school, raising concerns of traffic congestion, limited play opportunities with local children, and the decline of the local school as a community hub. See report in The Age: Education 31 October 2005.
The 84 recommendations made by the independent review of the Board of Teacher Registration have been enshrined in the Education (Queensland College of Teachers) Act 2005. Under the Act, teachers will have to renew their registration every five years, demonstrating to the College that they have maintained their skills through professional development, and undergo compulsory criminal history checks. Teacher training courses at the postgraduate level will also be reduced to one year, in order to attract professionals in 'difficult to staff' disciplines. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement 25 October 2005.
Victorian schools are sanctioning truancy by students with severe behavioural issues, according to research by the Association for Children with a Disability, which argues that the poorly resourced and supported schools are unable to meet the children's specialist needs. See report in The Age 23 October 2005.
Queensland teachers will be able to receive credit points towards postgraduate study by participating in approved professional development courses, under that State's Professional Development Pathways Framework. It is anticipated that the initiative will encourage more teachers to formalise their professional development through university study. For more information see Ministerial Media Statement 28 October 2005. The Professional Development Agenda 2005–2006, launched by Queensland's Department of Education and the Arts, outlines key priorities and professional development initiatives for schools and the public service. Initiatives include the recruitment of ten professional development coordinators, who will work on a three-year contract in the district and regional service delivery team. For further information Queensland educators may access the Agenda statement on the Curriculum Exchange (log in required). See also article in Education Views 21 October 2005 p 9.
In 2006 the Australian Copyright Council, an independent not-for-profit organisation, is running training sessions on copyright issues for teachers, librarians and other workers in educational settings. Training will take place in most capital cities.
The Western Australian Minister for Education and Training, Ljiljanna Ravlich, has announced the five schools that will participate in a trial of single sex classes next year. The trial schools will experiment with single sex classes, and other initiatives in boys and girls education, to gauge whether separating boys and girls has a beneficial effect on their educational outcomes. The teachers at the participating schools will receive professional development to help them facilitate the trial, as well as additional resources. For more information see Media Statement 28 October 2005.
A new drug education package, specifically aimed at students with learning difficulties and disabilities, will be provided to all South Australian schools this month. The package is part of the South Australian Government's Drug Strategy, and seeks to educate students on the risks associated with tobacco and alcohol use, illicit drugs and certain medicines. For more information see Media Release 29 October 2005.
Testing of 11-year-old primary students in the UK has revealed that the achievement gap between boys and girls is growing, according to Matthew Taylor in the The Guardian. Only 51 per cent of boys achieved an acceptable standard in the tests – which were conducted in reading, writing and mathematics – compared to 63 per cent of girls. Overall, 57 per cent of students performed at an acceptable standard. See the article in The Education Guardian 1 November 2005.
A British study which compared English examinations sat by 16-year-olds in 1980, 1993, 1994 and 2004 found that students in 2004 performed at higher levels than those who had preceded them over the past two decades. Despite the appearance of shorthand text messaging phrases, students in 2004 were better able to express themselves clearly and grammatically. See the article in The Times Online 31 October 2005.
The recent Schooling and Sexualities Ten Years On conference in Melbourne has called for a compulsory national schools education program on same-sex issues to help prevent homophobic abuse and curb discrimination. See article in The Age: Education 24 October 2005.
The closing date for applications for DEST Scholarships for school career advisors has been extended to Friday, 11 November 2005. Applications are available for teachers who are currently employed by a school or college and who are presently in career advisory roles, or who have worked in such roles over the past two years. Study scholarships of $5,000 and Industry Placement Scholarships of $10,000 are available. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.