Give your thoughts on Australian teaching standards

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) is conducting a national survey on the effectiveness of implementation and impact of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers.

The second national survey, as part of the evaluation of the implementation of the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers, is being conducted until March 20.

The evaluation is being conducted by the Centre for Program Evaluation of Melbourne University in collaboration with AITSL.

The national survey 2015 will gather data on knowledge and awareness of, attitudes towards, use of and perceived impact of the Standards. This will build on the baseline results obtained from the first survey conducted in October 2013, providing information on implementation progress.

The 2015 national survey can be accessed here.

All teachers, school leaders, pre service teachers and teacher educators are invited to participate in the online survey.

Help with school lunches

It’s no secret that parents have problems packing healthy school lunchboxes that their kids will actually want to eat. Heavily-advertised packaged snacks are cheaper than ever and time-poor parents will often grab a processed, nutrition-poor alternative for their kids instead of food that is healthy. To counter this problem, Cancer Council NSW has developed Eat It To Beat It program, which will work through schools to increase fruit and vegetable consumption.

The council says 5-12 per cent of all cancers could be prevented by eating the right amount of fruit and vegetables. In NSW, a mere 10 per cent of adults are eating enough vegie.

Free workshops will be provided for parents of primary school age children. Schools that decide to join the program need to advertise the sessions to their parent community and provide a space (often the school library or hall) for the Cancer Council to deliver the program. Everything is free.

Schools can book a free 25-minute kindergarten session where the Cancer Council will help parents understand the importance of packing fruit and veg every day, and how to make packing lunch easy. Each family gets a free show bag, including a Healthy Lunch Box Kit.

Also on offer are 90-minute Fruit and Veg Sense workshops for small groups of up to 15 parents. The council will give detailed, evidence-based advice to help mums and dads with fussy eaters, saving money while shopping and lots of simple, fruit-and-vegie-packed recipes.

The council says it will provide follow-up snippets twice a year for school newsletters on the program. Schools can click here to find out more or call (02) 4923 0700.

Garden story-telling challenge

Children in school groups can enter the annual Yates Junior Landcare Challenge, with registrants receiving a free packet of seeds and photographing how their garden grows to be in the running for some great prizes. Registrations close on April 5.

The winner will be chosen for the best story-telling on his or her growing journey.

This year the competition will again steer away from aiming for the biggest or best, with the focus of Winter Vegie Growing Journey being to get kids’ hands dirty, learn how food grows and get into the garden in the cooler months — even if it’s to take a photo with their smartphone.

Honesty is important, as was demonstrated by prizes awarded last year for tales of growing pains, such as the girl whose lettuce was eaten by “Kevin the Kangaroo”, but the top prize went to a seven-year-old girl who grew, and ate, big radishes with relish. This year prizes for both individual and group categories will again include an iPad mini as well as Junior Landcare, Yates and other garden goodies.

There is a choice of seeds on offer: carrot, lettuce, radish, cauliflower, red onions and spinach. Participants can request their favourite vegie — but part of the fun lies in seeing what comes in the mail and getting your hands dirty. Packets of seeds for registrants are limited to two per household.

Monthly prizes will also be awarded for the best entries, to encourage participants to show their results at all stages of the journey. Resources will be included on the website, such as handy tips and fun games to build on the on-ground experience.

Education Law Conference grant

Apply now for an opportunity to attend the Australia and New Zealand Education Law Association (ANZELA) 2015 National Conference in Brisbane on September 28-30, 2015.

Two grants of between $1500 and $2050 are available, depending on the recipient`s location and necessary travelling expenses. Those eligible to apply are legal studies teachers and executive staff in NSW schools, both public and private, with a demonstrated interest in education law and who will not be funded by their school to attend.

The grants will be inclusive of the conference fee of approximately $850; the fee will be paid directly by the NSW Chapter to the organisers.

Application forms can be obtained from and returned to Robert Horton, NSW President of ANZELA at; (02) 9293 5434). Applications will be accepted until 5pm on Friday July 3.

Teachers play key role in creation of inclusive nation

Children learn important lessons of respect and understanding of cultural diversity in the classroom, organisers of Harmony Day say. Schools and communities will celebrate the 15th Harmony Day on March 21. Lesson plans and interactive whiteboard activities to help teach about valuing cultural diversity are available here.