COAG Reform Council reports strong results

In the final report on COAG’s $540 million five-year Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership, the COAG Reform Council found that the lowest performing schools and students are improving.

Deputy Chairman of the COAG Reform Council, Prof Greg Craven, said the Council was pleased that governments have met or made good progress on 104 of the 126 targets under this agreement. 

“These strong results mean that more students now meet the minimum standards for reading and numeracy,” Prof Craven said. “This report is evidence of the value of targeted programs for schools and students with low achievement rates.” 

The proportion of Indigenous students at or above the national minimum standard in reading improved by over 11 percentage points for Year 3 in Queensland, nearly 17 percentage points for Year 7 in Western Australia and over 16 percentage points for Year 3 in the Northern Territory. 

However, there were also some disappointing results, most notably in South Australia, New South Wales and Tasmania.

www.coagreformcouncil.gov.au

NBN launches ‘For Schools’ on website

NBN Co has launched its ‘For Schools’ section of the website, with the aim of helping students and teachers understand what the National Broadband Network (NBN) is all about and how it will potentially impact their lives. 

The website includes two key sections – one for students and one for educators:

The student landing page is designed to provide general factual information to assist students who may be researching the NBN and its potential benefits. This includes:

Fact sheets on the NBN

Information on the history of telecommunications in Australia

Interactive videos and activities

The teachers tools page is designed to provide examples of how the NBN is currently being and can potentially be used today in Australian schools and education institutes. This includes:

Case studies –video and written case studies of people and companies who are connected to the NBN or passionate about online learning 

Videos and discussions on the future of learning from education experts such as Prof Stephen Heppell an international education expert who is currently touring Australia speaking about the future of online learning

Education resources on how teachers can teach their students about the NBN

www.nbnco.com.au/schools

Teachers retire early, tired of competing in ‘league tables’

Experienced secondary school teachers are leaving teaching because it no longer provides them with a sense of professional satisfaction, says QUT researcher Mark Keogh.

Dr Keogh, from QUT’s Faculty of Education, said he found from in-depth interviews with 16 retired secondary teachers during his research that some of them viewed teaching as having the same status as ‘factory work’.

“They feel teaching has gone from being a profession that valued high standards and collegiality between teachers and principals to one focussed on ‘league table’ results and compliance with management demands,” Dr Keogh said.

“Perception of professionalism is especially important to mature-age workers as a source of job satisfaction for them.

“Twenty to 25 years ago the emphasis was on encouraging students to think critically for themselves. Now, they say, it is ‘ramming information in, and getting it out’.

“The pressure to get students through the production line with high marks for ‘league tables’ such as the MySchool website and NAPLAN testing has led them to refer to it as the ‘McDonaldisation’ of education.

“This has led them to feel that they are not achieving the true purpose of teaching which is to equip students with critical thinking skills for the wider world.”

Dr Keogh said that consistent with national trends female teachers in the study reported retiring earlier than their male counterparts.

“This is a concern in a profession dominated by women,” he said.

“Another big issue affecting job satisfaction and decision to leave early is what teachers call the corporatisation of schools.

“When they began teaching, principals and teachers were collegial but in the early 1990s schools started to be run by principals who were managers – schools became corporatised.” 

www.news.qut.edu.au

$30,000 prizes in GenerationOne competition 

GenerationOne and the Australian School of Performing Arts is inviting chools to get involved in the CREATivE CHANGE GenerationOne School Competition, which aims to raise awareness and get young Australians actively involved in the initiative to end Indigenous disparity in one generation.

The competition encourages primary schools to perform and film their own version of the GenerationOne theme song Hands Across Australia, and secondary schools to use the Warumpi Band’s Blackfella/Whitefella to inspire their response to Indigenous disparity. One primary school and one secondary school will win $15,000.

A resource pack will be sent to schools during week commencing 18th June. The interactive DVD includes a step-by-step instructional clip to help primary school teachers teach Hands Across Australia. 

Secondary schools are encouraged to use Blackfella/Whitefella, and some clips from the past two years, as the inspiration for their entry. 

Entries close on 19th October.

Australian School of Performing Arts

tel 1800 338 142,

www.generationone.org.au

More money for chaplains and welfare workers

The federal government has announced that 409 independent schools with existing chaplains or student welfare workers have been granted an extension to their funding for a further three years. These schools represent 16 per cent of all Australian schools that received funding under the extension of the program; a further 64 independent schools have been successful in their applications for funding, bringing the total of funded schools to 473.

How do you attract your community to your school website?

Your school website has the potential to be a valuable community resource and centre point for communication. WEBiTLinks is an instant website add-on providing hundreds of useful, up-to-date links for students, parents and teachers.

For students there are links to websites to practice every academic skill – reading, maths, science etc.

For parents there are links to useful sites for helping children with homework, helping them academically and socially, and providing tips on health and wellbeing.

For teachers there are links to teaching resources and great ideas for every curriculum area.

There are lists of favourite links and users are able to rate each link. 

WEBiTLinks will quickly become a favourite with your school community and keep them coming back to your website daily.

At just $195 per annum WEBiTLinks is incredible value. 

Call us for more information on (02) 9533 9233 or visit 

the demonstration site at www.impromation.com.au/webitlinks

Daffodil Day

Cancer Council is inviting schools across Australia to help grow hope for a cancer-free future on Daffodil Day Friday 24th August.

There are two ways to get involved:

Schools can receive a Dress Yellow for Daffodil Day kit 

Schools can register to sell Daffodil Day merchandise. Merchandise is on sale or return, meaning it’s free for schools to get involved and gifts sold in schools are at specially reduced prices. 

This year Cancer Council aims to raise $9.2 million for Daffodil Day. 

To register, order a merchandise box or donate visit:

www.daffodilday.com.au

CHERI 17th Annual Conference

This year’s conference of the Children’s Hospital Education Research Institute will be held on 6th–7th September at the Sebel Parramatta, NSW. The theme is Promoting Resilience: Stacking the Odds in Kids’ Favour and the conference will focus on how to build resilience in children and adolescents. It aims to provide evidence based information as well as practical strategies.

The conference will be of interest to psychologists, school counsellors, guidance officers, school executives, teachers, support and special education teachers, allied health and medical professionals.

Keynote Speakers are Dr Sam Goldstein, Assistant Clinical Instructor, School of Medicine, University of Utah and Dr Erica Frydenberg, Associate Professor in Psychology, Melbourne Graduate School of Education, University of Melbourne.

For information about the conference and to register on-line visit the CHERI website.

www.cheri.com.au/conferences.html

$3m available in NAB Schools First partnerships

NAB Schools First recognises and rewards outstanding school-community partnerships. This year the program is offering a total of 130 awards worth over $3 million. Applications are open at www.schoolsfirst.edu.au and close at 5.00 pm (AEST) on Friday, 29th June 2012.

Last year, Tyrrell College, in Sea Lake, North East Victoria, national winner of last year’s Schools First Award received $500,000 in recognition of its Dynamic Agriculture Partnership. The college formed its award winning partnership with local agricultural businesses AWB Grainflow and Agrivision after local farmers identified the need to encourage students to get into the main industry that keeps their town afloat. The partnership promotes agriculture as a viable career path and supports the local economy, it has also helped to address student disengagement, absenteeism and improve student connection to the school. 

John Wright, Dynamic Agriculture Program Coordinator at Tyrrell College, has seen a huge amount of support since their NAB Schools First Award win.

“We have been overwhelmed by the encouragement received from the wider agricultural industry, they’ve donated equipment, time and resources to ensuring students get involved.”

The Tyrell College partnership involves partners Agrivision and AWB Grainflow running various activities with students, from sewing, cropping, harvesting and sorting, through to marketing and distribution. 

 “Without NAB Schools First we wouldn’t have been able to fast track this program to the stage that we’re at now; several senior students are involved and we can now purchase our own equipment – the funding has made a huge difference,” Wright said.

www.schoolsfirst.edu.au

Professional standard school videos

Martin Johnson provides video production and communications services to a range of clients, including non-profit organisations, small businesses and increasingly, the education sector. 

He has recently produced three promotional videos for schools in Sydney and project managed the production of a school prospectus, including multi-language translation.  

He has over 20 years experience in scripting, directing, filming and editing video, ranging from two minute web video to national TV programs and long form documentaries. Based in Sydney’s south, he uses state-of-the-art digital video cameras and editing systems to ensure an efficient workflow and quick turn around. 

He has travelled extensively, filming aid projects in Africa and Asia and recently filmed students from a Victorian private school on a discover trip to Cambodia – his fifth visit to the country. 

mob 0417 028 438

www.martinjohnsoncommunications.

com.au/schools

Ethics classes to continue in NSW

The Australian Council of State School Organisations has welcomed the report handed down on 30th May, which recommends that the NSW government should not revert to the discriminatory policy of prohibiting young people a meaningful activity should they or their parents choose for them to opt out of Special Religious Education (SRE). 

Speaking following hearing of the report findings, ACSSO President Peter Garrigan said “It is great to hear that the committee took on board the overwhelming parent, community and public support for ethics classes in NSW.” 

“As the classes have rolled out over NSW, church groups, such as the Catholic and Anglicans have moved position in support of the classes; they have had little to no effect on current SRE classes.” 

A recommendation of the report states that both ethics and SRE classes be reviewed in 2014–15. 

Peter Garrigan 0419 986 547

www.acsso.org.au

Deep Oceans exhibition at the Australian Museum

School groups will enter a dark and dangerous world of giant sea creatures and bizarre fish at Deep Oceans a new joint exhibition from the Australian Museum and Questacon — The National Science and Technology Centre, which opens on 16th June.

The hands-on exhibition will showcase weird and wonderful animals that make their homes 4000 metres below the sea, including the Vampire Squid, Dragonfish, Sea Mouse, Fangtooth and Squat Lobster.

Exhibition Project Officer, Em Blamey, said Deep Oceans will unravel the mysteries that have fascinated people for generations.

The student-friendly exhibition features interactive exhibits, multimedia and genuine specimens collected by Australian Museum scientists. Highlights include:

Glow in the dark sea creatures from the depths of the abyss;

Deep ocean sponges that contain cancer-fighting compounds;

The museum’s famous Mr Blobby, a fathead found more than 1000 metres deep in the Tasman Sea;

Escape the jaws of an Anglerfish;

Hop aboard a replica of the Bathysphere, the first submersible to descend beyond light, and experience a dive to the depths;

Come face to face with a five-metre model of a Giant Squid— the biggest invertebrate on earth.

Deep Oceans will run from 16th June to 14th October at the Museum and at the Questacon in early December 2012.

Student entry cost is $9. For details of education and teacher resources visit:

www.deepoceans.com.au, www.australianmuseum.net.au