Syllabus implementation to proceed as planned

Joan Lemaire
Senior Vice President

Federation will monitor any developments out of the review.

The Review of the Australian Curriculum report and the Federal Government's initial response will not alter the implementation of the new NSW syllabuses or the schedule for implementation, the Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) has confirmed.

The confirmation was at Federation's request and follows a Board Bulletin on January 24, in which President Tom Alegounarias stated: "There are no implications for the implementation of the NSW syllabus arising from this Review."

Federation, working with professional teacher associations, was successful in ensuring that the implementation of the Australian Curriculum was delayed in NSW. The delay allowed time for the Board of Studies (now BOSTES) to conduct extensive consultation with teachers in developing the new syllabuses in English, Mathematics, Science and History which incorporated the Australian Curriculum while maintaining features of NSW syllabuses. These features included maintaining objectives and outcomes, organising content in stages, and emphasising the importance of teachers' professional judgement in determining content that is appropriate to cater for the diverse learning needs of students.

Importantly, each new syllabus states "in considering the intended learning, teachers will make decisions about the sequence, the emphasis to be given to particular areas of content, and any adjustments required based on needs, interests and abilities of their students".

Federation also pursued the need for implementation of the new syllabuses to be phased in over time. The Board response was a timeline with 2013 for familiarisation, planning and preparation, and the implementation of the four new syllabuses K-10 from 2014 to 2016.

BOSTES is currently consulting with primary and secondary teachers on the draft K-10 Geography syllabus which will take account of the Australian Curriculum. Consultation on the proposed directions for the development of new stage 6 English, Mathematics, Science and History syllabuses has also commenced.

Federation will continue to pursue the need for BOSTES to ensure effective and extensive consultation, and an appropriate timeline for implementation of any new syllabus.

The union will also continue to pursue the need for additional funds, resources and support for implementing any curriculum change.

The Federal Government has noted that decisions around how the "findings of this Review translate into actions" is "a matter of national collaboration that requires the endorsement of all education ministers". Federation will monitor any developments that come out of the review.

Just a distraction, says AEU

The Abbott Government's response to the review of the national curriculum has confirmed the review was simply a distraction from the Government's abandoning of needs-based Gonski funding agreements and its refusal to properly fund schools, AEU Federal President Angelo Gavrielatos said.

"Nothing in the government's response justifies the time and expense taken to review a national curriculum which is not yet fully implemented."

Mr Gavrielatos said no change to the curriculum would address the gaps in funding and achievement between advantaged and disadvantaged schools.

"The overcrowding of the curriculum, especially in primary schools, is a long-standing issue which needs to be addressed, but we did not need a review to tell us that.

"Teachers are already using their professional judgement to integrate the general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities in the national curriculum, and this review will not change that.

"Schools don't need curriculum reviews, they need to be properly funded to meet minimum resource standards, and be able to provide the support that students need to reach their full potential."

Mr Gavrielatos pounced on the Education Minister's comments about recognising the needs of students with disability and changing the makeup of the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority.

"Christopher Pyne has praised the curriculum review for recognising the needs of students with disability, but at the same time he is cutting $100 million from disability programs from next year, and has broken a promise to increase the 'disability loading' given to schools to recognise the costs of properly educating students with disability.

"The suggestion that the Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority be changed by removing state and territory representatives is extraordinary. The only reason we have a national curriculum is because of direct engagement of all state and territory ministers," Mr Gavrielatos also said.