Education Matters - News impacting schools, teachers and students

NSW to spend $5 billion on education strategy

The New South Wales Government has announced a $5 billion strategy to deal with soaring enrolments.

Public school enrolments are expected to grow by 21 per cent or around 164,000 additional students by 2031, with most of this growth expected in Sydney.

Education Minister Rob Stokes last week announced the establishment of a new delivery unit to oversee the planning, supply and maintenance of NSW schools.

Education Infrastructure NSW will ensure there is sufficient supply of learning spaces in government schools to meet the significant growth in student numbers predicted over the next 15 years.

Mr Stokes said soaring public education enrolments was due to a baby boom, a strong NSW economy attracting young families and world-class academic standards.

“It’s great news that in many parts of NSW there are strong increases in student numbers in government schools and this is a trend expected to grow in the years ahead,” Mr Stokes said.

“The establishment of the new agency underlines the high priority the NSW Government is placing on effectively responding to this growth.”

Mr Stokes said Education Infrastructure NSW will supply learning spaces that support modern teaching pedagogy, provide sufficient play space, and incorporate sustainable design principles.

A central focus for the unit will be ensuring that consultation with local communities takes place early in the process of planning for new and upgraded school infrastructure to ensure it reflects community aspirations.

Among the specific challenges Education Infrastructure NSW will be required to deliver on ensuring the Department’s maintenance backlog is effectively managed. The agency will also be tasked with implementing joint community use and partnership models to provide cost effective and community-focused solutions.

The creation of the new unit with a single focus on infrastructure delivery will enable the Department of Education to maintain focus on its strengths, continuing to deliver the high quality teaching and learning outcomes that are attracting a growing number of students to NSW government schools.

The NSW Government plans to advertise the position of chief executive of Education Infrastructure NSW.

Exam room.

Tasmania drops Safe Schools program

Tasmania will cut the Safe Schools program after Federal Government funding expires.

It comes after the New South Wales Government also revealed it was working on a replacement for the program.

Federal funding for the anti-bullying and education initiative expires at the end of June.

Currently 22 public schools in Tasmania are part of Safe Schools, along with 18 NSW public schools.

The two states are replacing Safe Schools with their own anti-bullying programs.

Tasmanian Education Minister Jeremy Rockliff told Education Review his government will invest $3 million over four years into a replacement scheme called Combat Bullying.

“It is up to each Tasmanian school to make their own decisions about the programs used in their school, and government schools are encouraged to use the Department of Education’s own program,” Rockliff said.

NSW Education Minister Rob Stokes also told the publication an as-yet unnamed replacement program will receive funding in the state budget after 30 June 2017.

Stokes said this program will be ready by Term 3 of the NSW school year.

A spokesperson for the Safe Schools Coalition Australia told Education Review, “SSCA remains committed to ensuring that all LGBTI young people, no matter where they live, can learn in a safe and inclusive environment, where everyone is treated with dignity and respect.

“We will continue to build the capacity of teachers through professional development in 2017.”

The Safe Schools program was reviewed in March 2016 in a government-commissioned inquiry that found some of Safe Schools’ lessons were inappropriate for primary school children.

Following the review, Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham announced that Safe Schools would be limited to high schools.

The gateway to a rewarding career


When many people think about a career in education, they envision a lifetime of teaching children in a classroom. But if you have a passion for the next generation, a Master of Education can be a gateway to a variety of rewarding careers.

Curriculum development
If you’re driven to improve the quality of education, curriculum development could be for you. Curriculum developers design new courses within educational systems, help teachers to implement curriculum changes, review and recommend educational resources, and advise teachers about new teaching methods and technologies.

Curriculum developers usually have a bachelor’s degree in education, and a master’s degree in education or curriculum and instruction. They will have extensive experience in classroom teaching, expertise in a subject area, strong research skills, and excellent communication skills.

Best of all, careers in curriculum development are expected to grow, especially as Australia focuses on improving its global ranking in educational outcomes.

Leadership and management

Perhaps you’d like to use your expertise to make a large-scale difference to educational outcomes. A Master of Education can position you for a leadership role. With experience, classroom teachers often move into managing subjects, year levels, school departments, or a whole school. Principals have the opportunity to consult with other stakeholders, such as school boards and committees, to set the direction of a school and drive a vision to fruition.
Beyond the school environment, federal and state government departments need advice from education experts for designing education policy and reform. In this arena, you have an opportunity to make a difference on a national level.

Adult education
When you’d like to move out of the school system, the burgeoning field of adult education provides a plethora of opportunities. Statistics from the ABS show that in the 12 months to April 2013, 46 per cent of Australian adults participated in some form of learning. Where there’s a topic, no matter how peculiar, there’ll be someone who wants to learn about it.

Opportunities to work in adult education exist in TAFE colleges, private training institutions, and community training organisations. Corporations and government departments have an ongoing need to train their staff, and a degree in education makes you ideal for providing that training.
If you love working with young people, an education qualification is a great start. A Master of Education can jettison you beyond the classroom and into a variety of satisfying careers where you get to make a real difference in people’s’ lives.
About the Master of Education from Curtin University

The Master of Education provides an opportunity for you to demonstrate your professional and personal development and better position you for career advancement and educational leadership. The Master of Education offer three key areas of study:
• science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education
• language and literacy
• advanced knowledge in pedagogies.
The Master of Education help teachers explore how science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) can be applied in schools, what a STEM curriculum might look like, and ways to facilitate teaching and learning that is effective across all phases of schooling.

Curtin University has specialised expertise in this area since the Science and Mathematics Education Centre merged with the School of Education. Students benefit from the input of high-level academics, including Professor Barry Fraser and Professor David Treagust, into the content and development of STEM units in the Masters course.

The language and literacy units develop understanding about what it means to teach in diverse communities or to teach people from diverse backgrounds. Inclusive teaching methods are explored.

Students will have access to the brains trust of experts such as Senior Professor Rod Ellis who joins the School of Education team in 2017. He is a world renowned applied linguistics expert.

Advanced knowledge in pedagogies explores the methods and practice of teaching.

“One of the most important facts that can influence a child’s engagement and achievement at school is teachers,” says Dr Brad Gobby, Master of Education course coordinator.

“What teachers do in a classroom matters.”

This unit examines effective ways to teach, how the local context can influence and change the way you teach and methods and feedback to improve your teaching practice.
About Open Universities Australia

OUA is not actually a university. We partner with 10 leading Australian universities to bring you over 150 degrees in the one place.

Through OUA, you have access to degrees from Macquarie, RMIT, Curtin, Swinburne, Griffith, UniSA, La Trobe or Murdoch University. You study the exact same degree as an on-campus student. The only difference is that you study online, on your own terms. You choose when, where and at what pace you earn your qualification.

If you’re anxious about going back to studying at a university level – don’t be. From day one to graduation, we’re here to help you through. We’ve got Student Advisors who can plan your study to fit your lifestyle, coaches to offer advice, counsellors for when the going gets tough, 24/7 tutoring and preparatory courses to brush up on your skills.

Take the next step and advance your career with the Master of Education from Curtin University.

The pros and cons of NAPLAN

NAPLAN has been used as a benchmark for student performance against national averages since 2008, but just how effective is the test? And what are the repercussions for students and teachers?

Read more

States not processing NAPLAN trial

New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland and the Northern Territory are among the states not going ahead with this year’s NAPLAN online testing trial.

Last week, Queensland’s Education Minister Kate Jones confirmed state schools would withdraw from the NAPLAN online testing trial this year.

Queensland’s Catholic and private schools have also followed suit, Education Review reported.

Education Review reported that a NSW Education Department spokesperson said that it wants to see what happens in other jurisdictions first.

The spokesperson also raised concerns about the typing skills of Year 3 students who must sit NAPLAN. NSW, for the moment, plans to adopt the online test in 2018.

The NT Education Department has taken a similar position, according to the online publication. It also has geographical concerns due to its high proportion of regional and rural schools.

The Tasmanian Education Department said it wants students to familiarise themselves with online NAPLAN before having to officially undergo the examination.

Only schools from Victoria, Western Australia, the ACT and South Australia will participate in the online testing trial.

“I’m confident that any and all concerns can adequately be addressed to ensure that this is a smooth process for schools who are involved in it,” Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham told journalists in Hobart.

“The jurisdictions who are continuing with that trial have committed to work closely with officials in terms of technological issues to make sure any and all issues are resolved to their satisfaction so the small number of schools participating in the trial can have absolute confidence that it will work and be successful this year.”

Minister Birmingham added that “transitioning to NAPLAN Online will enable us to have faster results for Australian schools and much richer results in terms of individual student assessments”.

“It’ll make NAPLAN a much better tool in the future, for teachers, principals, parents to be able to get quick, detailed information about where students sit, their competencies and where additional assistance is required, or indeed where extra potential exists in terms of students of high achievement and ability.”

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority is scheduled to roll out NAPLAN online nationwide by 2019.

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