In 2020 the Federal Government changed the costs of degrees at Universities and has attempted to push students towards industries that it believes will drive job growth. This has partly been because of the serious unemployment problem currently being experienced because of the COVID19 shutdowns.
Areas including nursing, psychology, English, languages, teaching, agriculture, maths, science, health, environmental science and architecture – basically courses based on STEM subjects with the exception of English. Maths degrees in particular will attract a 62% decrease. (1)
“The cost of studying humanities at university is set to double. (1). The Law and Commerce Degrees will increase by 28% but the Humanities degrees will increase by 113%. This will be difficult to repay for many as work gained in these fields does not attract a high remuneration. This has major implications for women as this is an area where women have traditionally outnumbered men.
“Women are less likely to enrol in science and maths degrees than men. In Australia, only 35% of STEM university degrees are awarded to women. This figure has been stable over the past five years.” (2)
This may have long term effects and exacerbate the gender disparity in earnings. Currently women are “under-represented across the STEM workforce and weighted in roles that are typically less senior and less secure. Job loss at a greater rate than for men is now an immediate threat for many women in Australia’s STEM workforce, potentially reversing equity gains of recent years.” (2)
COVID19 has also caused problems for current Year 12 students who are facing increased competition to get into University in 2021 when students who would normally take a Gap year to travel will now go straight to University because of the crisis in the Travel industry. In addition because of the current unemployment crisis many will turn to universities with the hope of a better chance of employment thus making it even more difficult for current Year 12 students who have also had the misfortune to have had their studies interrupted because of the impact of home schooling for part of their year.
We need to support them going forward and encourage girls into the STEM courses but the Government needs to also recognise the importance of the Humanities and support them so that we gain a better understanding of our world, our culture, our history – who we are as people. We need a system that is fair to all and is not just designed around the job market.
2020 is proving to be one of the most educationally challenging years ever. At the time of writing this report all Australian schools and most Educational Institutions have been closed because of COVID19.
However schools have accepted this challenge and are now running online classes for their students. This has highlighted the lack of available technology for some students and some schools. Many schools where students already have a personal laptop and some systems in place are better able to switch to this mode of teaching. Systems commonly being used include Moodle, Microsoft Teams, Zoom.
Qld Education Department
“The Department of Education has a number of online tools and resources to support students. Curriculum resources for English and Mathematics are available for students to complete at their own pace. Students in Prep to Year 3 may require support to read and understand instructions.
The resources provided here are a sample of activities that can be printed and are designed as a support tool for students to continue their learning and engage in familiar activities essential to their learning and wellbeing.
Additional online resources are available for Queensland state school students through The Learning Place website using student log in. This is the same logon and password that students use to log onto the computers in their classrooms.” (Learning at Home – Qld Education Dept)
Learning Resources is another Government site offering further resources for online schooling.
One of the most popular methods of continuing “face to face“ lessons is by using Zoom Video Conferencing
“How to use Zoom for online classes
With time limits lifted on the Basic plans for K-12 schools across the world, it is easier than ever to conduct online classes. Teachers can use Zoom to schedule classes and meetings. Breakout rooms allow you to divide your Zoom conference into up to 50 separate sessions with audio, video, and screen-sharing capabilities, which is ideal for group work. The host of the main room can jump between breakout rooms to check in on the group learning.Zoom also has collaborative features like white boarding, annotation tools for screen-sharing, nonverbal feedback to mimic raising your hand in class, and local recording so that students can easily revisit lectures.”
Because many schools and students as well as much of the workforce use Microsoft products Microsoft Teams integrates nicely into Office and is the choice of many schools. Another option is Google classroom. But this relies on students using Google Docs rather than Microsoft Office. The choice very much depends on which platform the students and teachers find most familiar.
“Both Microsoft Teams and Google Classroom offer a core package of tools that cover classroom essentials. In Microsoft Teams, for example, students and teachers have access to Word, Excel and
PowerPoint. Google Classroom provides similar applications through Google Docs, Sheets and Slides”
Teachers are needing to work hard at reorganising their teaching methods to fit into this new paradigm.
Students particularly those in Year 12 also face the uncertainty of Assessment and possible
Tertiary Entrance requirements. This is a continuing conversation with government and other authorities and their decisions will impact greatly on current students and their hopes for the future. University students are similarly impacted with questions about how to complete their courses and particularly practical work if they must follow current COVID19 restrictions.
Girls are becoming recognised in STEM fields. In my last report I spoke of the number of women acknowledged in Australia but this is a world wide phenomenon. For the first time in history girls have won all top 5 prizes in the National STEM Competition in the US.
However despite receiving accolades in many fields women only occupy 15% of the top positions in research facilities. If we wish to encourage girls to aim for STEM careers then we need to address this apparent gender discrimination in research organisations and the workforce. With the number of brilliant women being recognised maybe this will slowly occur. Here are some experiences from a variety of women:-
“In my experience, gender discrimination isn’t rampant at an early career stage. But a glance around any research organisation tells me that along the way, something is happening that discriminates against the progression of women in research careers. In fact I’ve been told that although similar numbers of women and men graduate with PhDs, we fill only 15% of the highest academic ranks.” (https://womeninscienceaust.org/2015/11/29/where-to-fromhere/)
“International mobility is regarded as a critical step in career progression for a successful researcher. I spent 10 years establishing a career, completing a PhD at University College London followed by postdoctoral training at the University of Edinburgh. I had a strong and diverse scientific network in the UK, Europe, and America, yet upon returning…
“I now know why so many promising and established researchers leave Academia. It is hard, sometimes too hard, to face the uncertainty over and over again. The incredible stress of not knowing if you are good enough to be funded eats away at you, even after receiving funding there is little joy or excitement, just relief you have survived another round. Many decide it is just too much to keep going. I get it now. The penny has dropped. (https://womeninscienceaust.org/2015/02/01/the-penny-drops-why-women-leaveacademia/)
Not only women are affected. Researchers are usually on 12 month contracts and if funding is cancelled then they may lose their position. This does not encourage our brightest minds to make a career as a researcher in a STEM field or in fact in any field. This is a problem when we are trying to encourage this.
Approaches in schools
The 7 most important STEM skills as decided by some STEM experts are:-
“If I were to choose one specific discipline for students to study, it would be statistics, a course that can be applied across all STEM fields. You don’t need higher levels of calculus or physics for all STEM careers, but you do need statistics. A deep understanding of statistics means understanding probability and error rates, concepts that cut across almost any type of problem you want to solve in STEM.”
—Gregg Fleisher, president, National Math and Science Initiative, Dallas, Texas
“What binds together the STEM movement is the notion of modern skills. Employers talk about problem-solving. Society requires problem-solving. Doing your taxes requires problem-solving.
Those are the types of skills that really matter. A practicing engineer will tell you, ‘I didn’t use the calculus I learned to solve problems on paper, but the way it taught me to solve problems and to think about problems was really important.’”
—James Brown, executive director of the STEM Education Coalition in Washington, D.C., and a nuclear engineer by training
“Creativity can be simple and complex at the same time. We don’t always teach to think outside of the box. You’ve got to look at a problem from a different perspective sometimes.Teachers can nurture this by asking open-ended questions. In math and science, you can show different models so students get varying ideas of how it might look to bring together one idea. Or don’t show a model at all and leave it a little open-ended so they have to come up with a solution on their own. Ask: ‘Why do you think this is?’ Reflecting and explaining what they did to solve a problem can foster creativity and teach collaboration another important skill.”
—Jenny Nash, education specialist with LEGO Education in Boston, former middle school teacher and teacher-preparation instructor
“The act of arguing is using evidence to support a claim. In the STEM fields, this means using analytical and critical-thinking skills to look for patterns in data, trying to determine what those
patterns mean, and then using that data to support a claim. This skill transfers across all disciplines. In an elementary school science class, for example, if you give students a lot of different experiences with noisemakers—everything from tuning forks to speakers to whoopee cushions—they have the experience of collecting data. And then they will be able to use that data to make the argument that sounds are caused by vibrations.”
—Eric Brunsell, associate professor of science education and director of the teacher education program at University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh
5. Intellectual Curiosity
“The days of coming into an organization and having the same role forever are over. Many people will have two-year stints and then are moved into a different role. That’s the nature of modern career paths. Beyond mastering content, individuals need to be innovators, learn from failures and keep moving on. You need to cut across disciplines and be able to ask the questions that help build connections. People need to be lifelong learners and be driven by an intellectual curiosity to try to figure things out.”
—Ted Wells, vice president and chief strategy officer at STEMconnector®, in Washington, D.C.
6. Data-Driven Decision-Making
“Students need to be able to make a decision not just based on what they think or feel, but on scientific data that supports the best solution. Everyone needs to know how to do this. It doesn’t matter whether you go on to a career in STEM or not—you need to know how to use data to make informed decisions in your life.”
—Stacy Klein-Gardner, director of Center for STEM Education for Girls at Harpeth Hall School in Nashville, Tennessee. She is a biomedical engineer and on faculty at Vanderbilt University.
“People are now required to adapt quickly to new demands and new situations. They need quantitative skills to manipulate data well. They need to be able to communicate clearly. There is a broad set of skills that, I would argue, everyone needs. Just look at the sheer number of people in manufacturing who were skilled at what they did but who now need a whole new set of skills, often late in their careers, to be viable in the job market. They need to know statistics, technology, quality control. They need to understand programming and systems to ensure the automated production technology is operating correctly. The trick for teachers is to give their students authentic problems to tackle in school, problems that require students to draw on different areas of knowledge and skill.”
You will note that many of these skills are applicable across a broad range of other subject areas. In looking at how to acquire these skills I came across 2 sites with two different approaches to teaching and learning:- Constructivism and Cognitive Load Theory. I include the links. A combination of the two is probably the best option. Finally in response to Jennifer Davies report re Reading for Meaning I would totally agree that parents should read to children and that all children should be encouraged to read as early as possible.
“The STEM disciplines require the interpretation of technical texts, a vast knowledge of content specific vocabulary, critical thinking, and the ability to clearly communicate these complex concepts to others verbally and in writing. All of these skills are developed through literacy based instruction. By integrating literacy and STEM, children can become strong readers while exploring topics that may pique their interest in STEM.” (https://readingpartners.org/blog/why-stem-and-reading-go-hand-in-hand/)
Perhaps if our leaders had some of these skills our world would be in a better position.
The 2015 – 2018 International Council of Women’s Plan of action for Education urged National Councils to advocate for:-
The importance of education from early childhood.
The importance of support and appropriate education to cater for all forms of disabilities.
Equal access to all forms of training and higher education e.g. Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).
The importance of good teaching and the updating of skills.
Education of young women in everyday life skills.
State Education Authorities have attempted to address some of these issues. 2019 initiatives include:-
“The Australian Government is providing funding certainty for preschool, having committed $449.5 million in the 2019-20 Budget to extend the National Partnership on Universal Access to Early Childhood Education until the end of 2020. This funding ensures that every child will continue to have access to a quality preschool program for 600 hours (15 hours a week) in the year before school.” https://www.education.gov.au/universal-access-early-childhood-education
It is noted that funding is not promised beyond 2020 and will not be extended to include 3 year olds although previous studies have suggested that this is desirable. It was also noted in the National Performance Report (2018) that more work needs to be done. “ For example, as at 30 June 2018, a third (33%) of services located in remote and very remote areas were rated Working Towards NQS (National Quality Standard), compared to a fifth (20%) of services in metropolitan and regional areas.” It was also noted that many parents are not aware of the NQF (National Quality Framework). https://www.acecqa.gov.au/sites/default/files/2018-12/NationalPartnershipAnnualPerformanceReport2018.PDF
Catering for children with disabilities
In the past there has been no consistency of funding between states. Students with the same disability could receive different support depending in which state they lived. As recommended in the Gonski Report (2011) a Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability (NCCD) now gives us a national definition of a student with disability and funding can be targeted more fairly. Funding is expected to grow by approximately 5.1% per year until 2029 https://www.education.gov.au/what-government-doing-support-students-disability
Equal access to all forms of training and higher education e.g.(STEM).
The importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education has been recognised at all levels of government. Women are beginning to be recognised for their contribution in STEM areas. This is perhaps best demonstrated by Mathematician Cheryl Praeger receiving the 2019 Primeminister’s Science award and being praised for her ‘outstanding contribution to mathematics’. Her “expertise in group theory and combinatorial mathematics has underpinned advances in algebra research and computer cryptography” It was also noted that Laura MacKay “won the Frank Fenner prize for life scientist of the year for work in identifying the role of tissue-resident T cells in protecting the body from infection and cancer” and Elizabeth New “won the Malcolm McIntosh prize for physical scientist of the year for pioneering the development of new chemical imaging tools to observe healthy and diseased cells”. In all 5 of the 7 prizes for science in 2019 went to women compared to 1 in the previous year. Others include:- Samantha Moyle and Sarah Finney for excellence in science teaching in secondary and primary school. However women are still under represented in areas such as Engineering. (https://www.theguardian.com/science/2019/oct/17/women-break-prize-drought-by-winning-five-2019-prime-mini
Life skills are not specifically taught in schools. Different schools approach this in different ways and some have devised their own program. Monash University did a survey on this in 2019 and the results give rise to questions about the need to include this in an already crowded curriculum. (https://www.work-ready.com.au/updates/learning-to-adult-life-skills-in-schools/)
Overall many of the objectives outlined for attention in the 2015 – 2018 International Council of Women’s Plan of action for Education are currently being addressed. However more work needs to be done on Early Childhood education especially in remote areas and girls need much more encouragement to undertake STEM subjects and careers in these areas although they are currently available.
Higher education and the federal budget have not led to any resolution in the fees debate. In Queensland, the role of the government continues to support the transition of Year 7 to the secondary education sphere.
I have included articles relevant to different areas of education. The first gives direction to the early childhood education and the NQF. In addressing this issue, further input can be found from Early Childhood Australia (ECA) which also contributes to what is necessary in adapting to this moving and living framework. ACE is also holding a webinar to find innovative ways to support children’s rights in early learning settings and provide the chance to share creative ideas and discussion.
In 2015 the National Children’s Commissioner and Early Childhood Australia launched the ‘Supporting Young Children’s Rights: Statement of Intent’. The document relates to the early childhood sector, day-to-day practice, the NQF and the UNCRC. It outlines key mechanisms for participants to provide ideas and examples of child rights in action.
The second article is about literacy and changes. With the school age commencement now for Prep, those children lagging behind in reading or literacy are hard pressed to keep up with what is being taught and expected of them when entering Years 1and 2. This interesting article points to the change in mindset from reading to literacy, encompassing much wider skills and knowledge, providing a wider scope for learning and involvement, particularly with children who have English as a second language or those experiencing delay or difficulties. It also gives us a glimpse into the management of rebranding and business uptake and stakeholder engagement. I hope they might be interesting lead-ins to further research if needed. Articles are accessible from the websites of ECA, ACECQA, and Wiley.
Warm regards- Helen McAllister (Education Advisor).
National Quality Framework -ACECQA Newsletter Issue 5 2015
The National Quality Framework raises quality and drives continuous improvement and consistency in Australian education and care services. Established in 2012, the NQF applies to most long day care, family day care, preschool/kindergarten and outside schools hours care services.
Educators and Providers-As an educator or service provider, you will find this section contains detailed information on the National Quality Framework, its implementation and how it applies to you.
Families- Our Families section outlines how quality education and care is vital to your child’s development and explains what the National Quality Framework means for you.
It provides practical information so you know what to look for, what questions to ask and where to find answers.
Regulatory Authorities-A regulatory authority in each state and territory regulates and assesses children’s education and care services. In this section regulatory authority staff will find information and resources to support their work.
The latest figures in the NQF Snapshot Q1 2015 show that the proportion of children’s education and care services to receive a quality rating has increased to 56 per cent, with 8287 services now rated.
The report contains information about the number of services rated as Exceeding or Meeting NQS as well as the number of services rated Working towards NQS. Highlights include:
14 827 children’s education and care services operate under the NQF across Australia; 34 per cent of services are rated as Working Towards NQ;66 per cent of services are rated as Exceeding or Meeting NQS; 33 services are rated Excellent by ACECQA.
Download the NQF Snapshot Q1 2015. Copyright http://www.acecqa.gov.au
Summit opens for historic Education Accord Minister for Education, Training and Employment
The Honourable John-Paul Langbroek
Thursday, 25 September 2014 4:06 AM
The future of schooling and the education pathway taken by Queensland children will be mapped out at an historic meeting in Brisbane, attended by hundreds of delegates from across the State.
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the Education Accord Summit would have a major impact on Queensland, setting out a 30 year plan that would shape the State’s future. “Queensland’s future leaders, thinkers, employers and innovators will be going through our education system over the next three decades and we must have a vision for them,” Mr Langbroek said.
“We’re developing this Education Accord to determine priorities for schools and students for the next 30 years – a long term plan for educational improvement.
“The key people involved in the system across all school sectors – state, independent and Catholic will help chart this course.
“The summit reinforces the message that we all have a part to play and that we share a common goal of a high-quality education system.”
Mr Langbroek said he looked forward to hearing what delegates thought Queensland’s schools would look like in the decades to 2044.“Discussion topics include the major trends affecting school education, how to drive improvement in schools, and how all Queenslanders can contribute to that improvement,” he said.
Cairns School of Distance Education P&C President Rachael Wynberg said the Education Accord was an unprecedented opportunity for all participants in education – parents, tutors and teachers alike – to have input into the long-term plan for Education in Queensland.
“As a Home Tutor and parent home-schooling in North Queensland, I am passionate about delivering quality education that is focused on the amazing individuals whom we are responsible for guiding through life,” Ms Wynberg said.
“I believe this can be achieved with a holistic approach to learning that helps each child reach their full potential by focusing on their individual passions and nurturing these talents.”
Renowned speaker Dr Stefan Hajkowicz, who leads CSIRO Futures, will outline the global megatrends including digital technology development and the likely impact on the economy and education.
“Despite all our capabilities there are so many problems we can’t yet fully solve,” Dr Hajkowicz said. “The answer that truly works is crystallising in the mind of a bright kid at school in grade four who is thinking about things in an entirely new way… That’s why education matters
Other keynote speakers include Dr Ben Jensen, Chief Executive Officer of Learning First, Professor Peter Coaldrake, Vice-Chancellor, Queensland University of Technology and the Master of Ceremonies Mr John Daley, Chief Executive Officer of the Grattan Institute.
Premier Campbell Newman, Treasurer Tim Nicholls and Mr Langbroek will also address the summit. The government began community consultation in May with an online survey open to all Queenslanders. More than 600 responses were received to seven key questions drawn from the Queensland Plan and Members of Parliament have consulted with their constituents and industry leaders have given their views.
Queensland students get lessons on alcohol and drugs
Queensland secondary students will start a new education program to prevent alcohol and drug-related violence from Term 4, delivering on the election promise to revitalise frontline services.
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the new program was part of a suite of initiatives developed under the Queensland Government’s ‘Safe Night Out Strategy’.
“The Alcohol and other drugs education program aims to help students understand the impact and consequences of alcohol and drug use and to behave responsibly,” Mr Langbroek said. “Prevention is critical and education is one key element in changing social and cultural attitudes to flag violent behaviour as being unacceptable.”
Mr Langbroek said students were encouraged to discuss alcohol and drug-related issues with their parents or caregivers and the education program was designed to support rather than replace these vital interactions. “The program promotes the ability to make responsible, safe and informed decisions so all Queenslanders can enjoy going out at night with safety,” he said.
Member for Brisbane Central Robert Cavallucci, who chairs the Safe Night Out Implementation Panel, said the program was based on research and best practice and would be rolled out next term for Years 11 and 12 and from Term 1, 2015 for Years 7 to 10.“The program includes online teacher guidelines and resources appropriate for each year level and five one-hour sessions per year level that can be delivered in flexible timeframes to suit each school community,” Mr Cavallucci said. “Content is based on the principle of harm minimisation and covers culture, attitudes and social expectations of drug and alcohol consumption, including the risk of binge drinking, illicit drug use and alcohol and drug-related violence.”
International expert Mr Paul Dillon, Director and founder of Drug and Alcohol Research and Training Australia, said it was extremely exciting to see a new resource which provided secondary teachers with a program for all Year groups from 7 to 12.“This is something that few, if any other Australian resources have ever done, ensuring that young Queenslanders are as prepared as possible, with up-to-date and accurate information,” Mr Dillon said.
Andrew Pierpoint, President of the Queensland Secondary Principals’ Association, also welcomed the program. “It allows schools to tailor delivery in ways that suit the local context,” he said. “Families, schools and the wider community need to work together to ensure our young people have information that is factual and relevant to their lives.”
The program will be mandatory for all Year 7 to 12 state school students and it will be made available to all non-state secondary schools. Further information about the program is available at: http://education.qld.gov.au/curriculum/safe-night-out/
New laws to keep Queensland schools safe
Queensland principals will have more powers to make their schools even safer as part of the LNP Government’s plan to support local decision-making and improve outcomes for students. Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said a raft of new laws passed by Parliament delivered on the government’s commitment to make schools safe places to learn and work. “This government has an unrelenting focus on improving student discipline and empowering schools to achieve better outcomes for students,” Mr Langbroek said. “We know that principals and school communities are in the best position to make many of the decisions that impact on children’s safety at school and their learning. “Under the new laws, state school principals will have more power to deal with student behaviour and keep their schools safe – which is what Queensland families expect. “From 2015, principals will be better placed to make decisions on suspending students on the grounds that they are facing charges for serious offences such as murder, rape, attempted murder and arson. “Only the Director-General will have the power to obtain information from police to confirm whether a student has been charged with or convicted of a serious offence. “I can assure Queenslanders that strict protocols will be put in place to protect the storing and sharing of this information, which will be provided to principals if the Director-General deems it necessary for school safety.”
Mr Langbroek said principals would complete risk assessment training before they would be able to request and access the sensitive information. “From next year principals at both state and non-state schools will have the power to immediately deal with a hostile person on school grounds by telling them to leave and not to re-enter school grounds for up to 24 hours,” Mr Langbroek said. “Previously principals had to issue the direction in writing, which was an unnecessary and time consuming administrative burden.”
Other important changes include:
The Director-General will be able to delegate to the state’s seven regional directors the power to commence prosecution against parents who don’t send their children to school.
Changes to improve safety and educational outcomes in schools, including limiting the enrolment of mature age students to state schools specifically positioned to cater for them.
Principals of these schools, rather than central office, will be able to determine whether or not an adult is to be enrolled at their school, taking into account any criminal history information.
Amendments to the Education (Accreditation of Non-State Schools) Act 2001 to streamline the establishment of special assistance schools to support the re-engagement of disengaged youth in education.
Enhanced autonomy of non-state school principals by empowering them to grant exemptions from compulsory schooling obligations for periods of up to 110 school days. Currently, these decisions are made within the department. The Minister said the legislation reinforced the push to increase school autonomy, reduce red tape and improve educational outcomes. The Education and Innovation Committee reviewed the Bill and recommended it be passed.
Great Results guaranteed for students in 2015
The literacy and numeracy skills of Queensland children will improve, with $183 million going to all state schools in 2015 in the second round of the Great Results Guarantee. Premier Campbell Newman said the Queensland Government had a strong plan to achieve better student outcomes and revitalise frontline services. “I want Queensland to be among the top performers in literacy and numeracy in Australia by 2020,” Mr Newman said. “We have boosted funding and are targeting the money to where it’s needed most, to ensure our education system is world class now and in the future. “That’s why this annual funding comes with a guarantee that every Queensland state school student will either achieve the National Minimum Standard for literacy and numeracy for their year level or have a plan in place to address why they might be falling behind.
Education Minister John-Paul Langbroek said the investment was the result of the Abbott Government’s $794 million Students First – A fairer funding agreement for schools initiative to be delivered over the next four years. “Queensland is the only state or territory in Australia that is giving every single cent of this funding directly to schools,” Mr Langbroek said. “It has already empowered schools to put in place effective programs that drive lasting improvements and I have no doubt that we’ll see this continue into the future.” Mr Langbroek said the 2015 investment was $52 million more than the $131 million provided in 2014, the first year of the Great
Milton State School Principal Paul Zernike said the local decision making approach was a big win for schools. “The flexibility to decide how we invest our funding has had huge benefits, letting us target specific learning areas like spelling and reading through methods that work for us rather than a prescribed one-size-fits-all approach,” Mr Zernike said. “Here at Milton State School we’ve been able to expand our Visible Learning Program and also employ extra teaching staff, giving the students more one on one support from our teachers and teacher aides.
“Through the Great Results Guarantee funding, our teachers have been able to learn from international experts on inquiry learning and critical thinking skills, developing valuable teaching skills that will benefit students for many years to come. “For us, it’s about making sure every student is challenged and inspired and I’m very happy with how the Great Results Guarantee is helping us fulfil that commitment.”
Year 12 assessment and university entrance rankings are set to undergo their biggest transformation in more than two decades with the completion of a major review into Queensland’s Overall Position (OP) system. Minister for Education, Training and Employment John-Paul Langbroek said the independent review had been conducted over more than 12 months, including extensive consultation with educators, universities, parent associations and unions.
He said the government would use the Queensland Review of Senior Assessment and Tertiary Entrance Processes to develop a more modern and equitable alternative. “When it comes to education, the Queensland Government is determined to give students every opportunity to enjoy a bright future,” Mr Langbroek said.
“The OP system has served Queensland well since its introduction in 1992, but is becoming less relevant as education evolves. “Twenty years ago, Year 12 mainly comprised students who intended to go to university but today, most Year 12 students successfully combine an academic range of courses and vocational qualifications, providing options for further education, training and work.
“As a result we have seen a decrease in the percentage of Year 12 students awarded an OP. In 1992, about 80 per cent of Year 12 students received an OP. By 2013, this had dropped to 54 per cent. In contrast, 57 per cent of Year 12 students completed a vocational education and training qualification in 2009, increasing to 67 per cent in 2013. We want Queensland to be at the forefront of the best education practices nationally and internationally and to achieve this we must have a modern tertiary entrance system that reflects the needs of students.”
Led by Professor Geoff Masters and Doctor Gabrielle Matters, the review by the independent Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) includes a range of recommendations.
Mr Langbroek said the Queensland Government would carefully consider the content of the review before developing the official government response. “Any changes that arise from this process will likely be phased in over a number of years, to ensure senior students are able to plan their post-schooling pathways,” he said. “I need to stress that current Year 11 and 12 students will not be impacted when the government releases its response
“I’d like to thank Professor Masters and Doctor Matters for their hard work in preparing this extensive review – their efforts will be invaluable to educational reform in our state. Their work will help us develop a modern senior schooling and tertiary entrance system that accurately reflects the multitude of opportunities available to young Queenslanders today.”
The final report recommendations are available at: www.acer.edu.au/queenslandreview
Event puts plan into action Achieving the best outcomes for children in the years to come was the focus of the inaugural two-day Early Childhood Education and Care Network Event held in September at QUT Gardens Point.
Nearly 100 delegates heard from international and national speakers on key points of interest for Queensland’s early childhood education and care sector at the department’s‘Great beginnings. Promising futures. Early childhood and the Queensland Plan’ event.
Hosted by Education, Training and Employment Minister John-Paul Langbroek, presentation topics included quality service delivery, educational leadership, working with vulnerable children and the power of play-based learning.
Futurist Bernard Salt linked his insights on how early childhood needs in Queensland might evolve with the aspirations outlined in the State Government’s Queensland Plan. Commissioner Dr Wendy Craik gave an update on the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into childcare and early childhood learning.
Director-General Dr Jim Watterston highlighted the department’s increased focus on the early years, outlining the new operating model including the recent appointment of Early Childhood Education and Care Directors for each region. Delegates also heard about a model used in the Darling Downs South West region to ensure children enjoy a smooth transition from early childhood settings to school and delegates shared feedback on considerations for a statewide approach for transitions. Attendees from throughout Queensland included senior representatives from early childhood education and care organisations and early childhood development program providers, and senior government officers with responsibilities for the early years.
Early Childhood Australia (QLD Branch ) invites you to join ECA in celebrating the launch of Under Eight’s Week and AGM, Wednesday 21 May 2014.
Guest speakers for the evening include Associate Professor Beverley Fluckiger, Associate Professor Julie Dunn, both from the Griffith University, Samantha Page, Early Childhood Australia CEO, Emma King -ECA Queensland Branch. It will be an enjoyable, informative evening and we look forward to seeing you there. Early Childhood Australia (Qld Branch).
Early Childhood Australia supports move to improve subsidies for early learning (May 1, 2014 media statement
The national children’s peak body Early Childhood Australia (ECA) has welcomed the Commission of Audit’s recommendation to merge the child care rebate and the child care benefit into one payment. However, ECA CEO Samantha Page has cautioned that the structure of the system mustn’t leave families worse off, especially those on lower household incomes. The calculation provided by the Commission of Audit, capping subsidies at $12,000 at the lowest end of the system, will leave families using fulltime care thousands of dollars worse off. ‘We are glad the report authors recognised the complexity of the current system and the issues of having two payments available to families’, said ECA CEO Samantha Page. ‘We have supported this move in our submission to the Commission of Audit, especially if it was paid directly to providers. By streamlining payments and paying subsidies to services, we can reduce out of pocket expenses for families and make long day more accessible.’
The Commission of Audit has also recommended that in-home care models such as nannies should be subsidised under the revised system to provide parents more flexibility.
The recommendation to introduce a voucher system for access to accredited early childhood services in Indigenous communities is another concern to ECA. ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children are more than twice as likely to be developmentally vulnerable than non-Indigenous children. However, there is a strong evidence base that participation in high quality early childhood education and care services can turn this around’ said Ms Page. ‘ECA is concerned that by replacing funded programs with a voucher system, it will significantly impact our most vulnerable children.’
ECA supports the move to reduce the Paid Parental Leave scheme and increase investment in early childhood education and care services.
Application of a work, training, study test to the revised subsidy system will have a significant impact on disadvantaged children accessing early childhood programs for development purposes, where their parents are not working. These children will not be eligible for any support.
Other recommendations that impact on low-income households will have a major effect on the developmental outcomes of children in those environments
Childcare centre ratings and assessment process streamlined Childcare centres will face a streamlined assessment and ratings process from 1 July, with federal Assistant Education Minister Sussan Ley signing off with states and territories on a new regulatory regime. The ministerial council agreed to work with the national childcare regulator, the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority, to improve the assessment and rating process.
The review of the demand driven funding system report, conducted by Dr David Kemp and Mr Andrew Norton, was released today. The review was commissioned in November 2013 to examine the impact of the demand driven system on higher education provision. The report makes 19 findings and provides 17 recommendations that the Government will now consider. Terms of reference for the review ranged from the effectiveness of the demand driven system’s implementation to ensuring the maintenance of quality in teaching and the
Topics in Australian Education – ARACY discussion April 2014
Indigenous students skipping school to avoid bullying and racism Experiences of bullying and unfair treatment are a significant factor in explaining school attendance among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people, according to Nicholas Biddle from the Australian National University and Naomi Priest of Deakin University. Biddle and Priest note, of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people interviewed, 14% of students aged 14 years and under in 2008 were reported by their carers to have been bullied or treated unfairly due to their Indigenous status in the previous 12 months. This rose to 23% for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander high school students in non-remote parts of the country. Those who experienced bullying were more than twice as likely to miss school without permission.
Push for Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum to be adopted nationally The Federal Government is considering adopting the Daniel Morcombe Child Safety Curriculum in schools across Australia. The curriculum was developed by the parents of murdered Sunshine Coast schoolboy Daniel Morcombe and the Queensland Government. Bruce Morcombe says Education Minister Christopher Pyne has asked the panel reviewing the Australian curriculum to consider the child safety initiative.
Schoolchildren are being exposed to internet pornography at an increasingly early age, a leading child protection expert says. Freda Briggs, who teaches about child protection at the University of South Australia, said “Some young children have been overexposed to pornography because although you may be a wonderfully protective parent, you often don’t know what your children are seeing on their electronic devices”.
A new Leading Learning in Education and Philanthropy (LLEAP) 2013 Survey Report, from the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), looks at the issues around encouraging a culture of philanthropy between schools and communities. LLEAP surveyed schools, philanthropic foundations involved in structured forms of giving, and not-for-profits with programs or services that intersect with schools. A consistent finding of the LLEAP study is that the schools most in need are least equipped to access philanthropic support. Ninety per cent of schools are new or inexperienced when it comes to engaging with philanthropy via the traditional avenue of seeking and applying for grants.
Well-educated parents the key to children who are well-behaved, sociable and read better Well-educated parents produce children who behave, socialise and read better than their classmates, a new Australian study has found. The researchers found parents with a higher education were able to absorb more information about parenting and were then able to better advocate for the children. The project tracked the impact of parental education on a child’s wellbeing over the past 30 years, and found it has consistently remained a key factor in helping to determine whether kids will have behavioural difficulties or strong social and reading skills.
The national school curriculum unfairly assumes all students can do their homework using a computer and the internet at home, a submission to the federal government’s curriculum review has warned. Children’s education charity The Smith Family said a lack of access to a computer and the internet among disadvantaged families could undermine the implementation of the national curriculum. One in five children do not have access to the internet at home and that figure rises to one-third of children aged 5 to 14 in the most disadvantaged families, according to the submission.
Extract : As common sense suggests, and contrary to the Australian Education Union’s “I Give a Gonski” campaign, a more effective way to raise standards is to have a rigorous curriculum, qualified and committed teachers, strong parental engagement and schools, within broad guidelines, that have the flexibility to manage themselves.
An extract: While the debate rages on, Labor’s history curriculum has already been rolled out into many Australian classrooms. A number of history textbooks that closely reflect the contents of the curriculum are appearing on booklists everywhere. We came across the some of these textbooks while writing our critique of the national curriculum at the Institute of Public Affairs. These books contain so many outrageous statements and factual errors that they were worthy of a critique on their own.
Since Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne announced the review of the national curriculum in January this year, the national curriculum has been a topic of heated debate, and no area of the curriculum has received more attention than history.
The errors and distortions in these textbooks are not just problematic for their own sake: they reveal the fundamental ideological biases of the national curriculum itself.