The NSW Government has launched the first comprehensive review of the entire school curriculum since 1989, Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Education Minister Rob Stokes announced on 13 May.
The review of the NSW school curriculum from Kindergarten to Year 12 aims to ensure the system is preparing students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.
“The world has changed rapidly since the last comprehensive review in 1989 and we must ensure the curriculum is as strong as it can be,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“We want to ensure our students have every opportunity with the skills needed for the jobs of the future. This includes a greater focus on the basics including English, maths and the sciences.”
Mr Stokes said the review would implement findings from the latest report into Australian school education, led by David Gonski.
“Our review puts David Gonski’s report into practice and will tailor the national education reform agenda to the NSW context,” Mr Stokes said.
“Several recent national reports on improving educational outcomes call for curriculum review, and we are keen to ensure that these reports are answered by real action.
“This is a once in a generation chance to examine, declutter, and improve the NSW curriculum to make it simpler to understand and to teach.”
The curriculum review supports the premise that while the goals and values of education remain eternal, the methods of achieving these outcomes have dramatically changed, particularly with the development of information technology over the past 30 years.
The review will therefore examine the role of new technologies and teaching methods in delivering the curriculum.
Mr Stokes said it is essential that the review draws on the expertise of teachers and ensures the curriculum continues to support them in the important work they do.
Another core component will be ensuring that Australian perspectives are included throughout the curriculum. This will include maintaining a strong emphasis on Australian literature, scientific discoveries and key events that have shaped the country’s history.
“For Australia to continue to mature, we must first have pride in what has made us great,” Mr Stokes said.
“We are a proud pioneering nation. The tyranny of distance once meant we had to invent, improvise, and do things for ourselves. A by-product of this isolation was innovation and the cultivation of incredible minds. It is time to look at how we can best support students to develop that mindset and those skills in the complex modern world.”
The NSW Education Standards Authority will engage Professor Geoff Masters, CEO of the Australian Council for Educational Research, to lead the review.
Professor Masters was supportive of the broad directions of the Gonski report and said the NSW Curriculum Review will need to focus strongly on implementation issues and look for ways it can be decluttered and simplified.
“This review is a timely opportunity to demonstrate how the national reform agenda can be successfully tailored to the specific needs and context of high performing state education system. This is how Commonwealth/State collaboration should work,” Professor Masters said.