Four new suspension centres will soon open in Wagga Wagga, Glenfield in South Western Sydney, Bidwell in Western Sydney and Gymea in South Sydney. The centres are designed to provide intensive help for disruptive students and to keep schools safe. The New South Wales Government has pledged to open 20 suspension centres by 2007 as part of its school behaviour and discipline plan. For more information contact the office of New South Wales Education Miinister, the Hon Carmel Tebbutt, MP.
New cleaning contracts will provide regular inspections, and 2–24-hour turn-around times in cleaning toilets, carpets and canteen areas for New South Wales schools and TAFEs. The four-year contracts will come into effect in 2006. See Ministerial media release 10 November 2005.
Western Australia's Leadership Centre is due to release its new Formative School Leadership Program by the middle of 2006. The Program is the latest stage of the Centre's professional learning program, designed to help principals and leaders implement change strategies in their school environments.
Improving teacher salaries and career opportunities would go some way to retaining more teachers in the profession, according to an article by Terry Lovat and Andrew Harvey in the The Age. The authors, who represent the Australian Council of Deans of Education, note that even though attaining a place in a university education course has become more difficult, teachers are still leaving the profession at an alarming rate, particularly those who have been in the profession for less than five years. These teachers are usually leaving to take up positions in other sectors where salaries and working conditions are comparatively better. Retaining teachers in the profession, therefore, will require a commitment to making it competitive with other sectors which are in need of teachers' generalist skills. See To stay or to go in The Age 14 November 2005.
The retention rate in South Australia's state schools has risen from 68.2 per cent in 2003 to 72.4 per cent in 2005, according to Jemma Chapman in the The Advertiser. The retention rate is measured by the number of students who stay in school until Year 12, after starting at Year 8. See the article in the The Advertiser 14 November 2005.
Irene Cooper, the principal of a Hamilton primary school, is the president-elect of the New Zealand Educational Institute. She will succeed the current president, Colin Tarr, on 1 January next year. For more information see NZEI RouRou 24 October 2005.
The Schools Report, the annual report on New Zealand's education system, has been released for 2004 by the new Minister for Education, Steve Maharey. The report found that, by most measures, New Zealand's education system continues to improve, with a greater proportion of students leaving school with a Level 3 qualification in the National Certificate of Educational Achievement. New Zealand students are also performing well in international assessments; literacy and numeracy standards continue to improve; and supension rates have decreased. For more information see the Media Release 15 November 2005, and the Schools Report 2004.
Motivating Boys and Motivating Girls: Does Teacher Gender Really Make a Difference is the report of a study which examined the effect of teacher gender on the the educational performances of students. The study found that there was no significant effect of teacher gender on the educational performances of boys, and that boys only slightly preferred male teachers' over female teachers' assistance in resolving personal issues. Girls, however, reported better relationships with female teachers. See Study queries need for male teachers in the Sydney Morning Herald 15 November 2005.
Changes to the brain around puberty are even more dramatic than first suspected, according to a British neuroscientist, which might help to explain the decrease in educational achievement associated with the onset of adolescence and the achievement gap between boys and girls. This finding is seen as yet more evidence that brain research should play a much more influential role in education policy making. See Brain changes 'cause secondary school dip', in the Education Guardian 11 November 2005.
Teachers at Wilkins Public School in Marrickville, Sydney, recently issued a leaflet urging parents to support their participation in rallies against the Australian Government's new industrial relations legislation. The teachers' action led to complaints from Australian Government Minister for Education Brendan Nelson, and an investigation by the NSW Education Department. Tens of thousands of teachers from all sectors attended the rallies in Sydney, with hundreds of thousands of workers involved in the protests nationally. See article in Sydney Morning Herald 16 November 2005.
The Australian Tax Office has deferred the due date for December monthly activity statements until 21 February 2006. The new date applies to preschools and primary and secondary schools. See ATO announcement 14 November 2005.
Researchers from the University of Western Sydney hope to dispel myths that suicide attempts are long-planned acts. A new study reveals that 67 per cent of suicide attempts were contemplated for 30 minutes or less. Almost all of the 29 per cent who were under the influence of alcohol reported considering their actions for only 10 minutes before attempting suicide. The study also found that suicidal feelings were short-lived for most. See article in UWS Latest News.