This week, Queensland Premier Anna Palaszczuk and Education Minister Kate Jones announced a significant change to the state’s curriculum with a shift to external assessments for senior students following the decision to crap Overall Position (OP) scores.
An email reportedly sent by Senator Cory Bernardi to a Melbourne mother on the topic of the Safe Schools program has received criticism from the Minister for Education and Training, Simon Birmingham.
On Monday night, mother of two, Pia Cerveri received a reply to an email she had sent Bernardi containing her opinion regarding his stance on the anti-bullying program.
Beyond informing Ms Cerveri that she “clearly” hasn’t “any idea what is in the program”, Mr Bernardi’s email went on to say the Safe Schools website links to “bondage clubs and adult sex toys” before telling Ms Cerveri he worried for her children.
Read the full email at the link below.
— Guardian Australia (@GuardianAus) March 22, 2016
At the time of writing, it has not yet been confirmed by Mr Bernardi or his office that he had sent the email himself, although the email address used has been verified as his.
Having overseen the Government’s handling of a review on the Safe Schools initiative, Mr Birmingham expressed his displeasure in the language used in the email in an appearance on Channel Ten’s ‘The Project’.
“There is certainly language I wouldn’t use and that is not an accurate reflection of what is in the Safe Schools program,” he said. “There are genuine concerns contained in that about the type of websites that you can link from in relation to some of the recommended sites of the Safe School program. That is where we have taken action, but other areas of that, frankly, are not an accurate reflection and not terribly helpful.”
The exchange follows the news that the Government had recommended sweeping changes to the program, in which it would be limited to being available only to secondary schools, requiring parent consent for children to participate and also removing external links from the Safe Schools website.
Although the OECD has recognised Australia’s education spend is above average, a new report from the Grattan Institute has shown that education gaps between different students are widening.
Researchers have discovered strong evidence to suggest that children who develop good sleep behaviour before the age of five are more likely to settle in at school.
The study, entitled Growing up in Australia: The Longitudinal Study of Australian Children (LSAC), was undertaken by Dr Kate Williams of Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Faculty of Education. The study incorporates a sample of 2,880 children.
The findings reveal that one in three children have increasing issues with sleep from birth to the age of five, which heightens the risk of emotional and behavioural issues at school, as well as putting the at risk of attention deficit disorders.
Dr Williams highlights the fact that “it’s vital to get children’s sleep behaviours right by the time they turn five”.
“We now know 70 per cent of children are regulating their own sleep by five years but for the remaining third it may be detrimental to them developmentally over time.”
Analysing the sleep behaviour of children born in 2004 until the age of six or seven, Dr Williams asked motheers to report on any sleep, emotional and attention problems, while teachers were asked to report on social-emotional adjustment in the school environment.
The research is therefore unique in its scope and sample size examined.
The results found that children found to have escalating sleep problems in early childhood were more like to have teacher-reported hyperactivity, poorer classroom self-regulation and emotional outbursts.
According to Dr Williams, more than 85 per vcent of families use a child care or preschool service, which represents an opportunity to create better awareness about good sleep behaviour before children start school.
“Parents can withdraw some habits, like lying with children over and over, letting them into their bed, it’s really important to give children a sense of skill so they can do these things themselves,” she said.
The findings build on prior QUT research that linked mandatory daytime naps in child care centres to sleep problems later on.