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September 2020


Update on the review of the F–10 Australian Curriculum

Almost 360 practising teachers and curriculum specialists from across Australia have started working with ACARA on the review of the F–10 Australian Curriculum. 

Schools and teachers want a less crowded, more flexible curriculum, with scope for deeper learning. ACARA is closely consulting with our stakeholders to achieve this. Teachers and curriculum experts have been formally nominated into 18 reference groups that have already commenced their work. We are engaging with the nation’s teacher professional associations, key academics and peak bodies. ACARA also receives advice through established advisory channels, including via its Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, and Students with Disability advisory groups.

“It’s really wonderful to see the enthusiasm and commitment from across the education community and a special thanks to our reference group members who are providing us with great feedback as we work to ensure our curriculum is world-class,” ACARA Director of Curriculum, Janet Davy, said.

The review has been underway for 12 weeks and there is already significant interest, with the ‘Curriculum review’ webpage having attracted more than 16,000 visits to date.

In addition to the formal engagement processes, ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho, has also been dropping into teacher staffroom meetings at various primary schools across Australia, listening to teachers’ views on what it is like to implement curriculum at the coalface.

Visit the ACARA’s website for more information on the review of the F–10 Australian Curriculum.

Holy Spirit Primary School, ACT
Holy Spirit Primary School, ACT

Bonython Primary School, ACT
Bonython Primary School, ACT

Radford College, ACT
Radford College, ACT

New terms of use for My School

ACARA has recently taken further action to discourage the creation and publication of unfair school league tables by introducing changes to the terms of use for the My School website.

The terms of use require users to explicitly agree not to create league tables or to use My School data for commercial purposes in order to access the My School website.

Users must agree to these terms and conditions every time they commence a new session. Also, they can only search five schools in one sitting before needing to confirm, via a captcha screen, they are "not a robot", which reduces the opportunities for data-scraping. 

My School provides information that helps parents and the community in understanding the performance of schools over time and contributes to national transparency and accountability. The new measures support access to this information while discouraging crude and unfair league tabling.

League tables can promote misleading comparisons that have the potential to undermine the quality of school education and they do not give a fair and accurate assessment of a school's NAPLAN performance.

This is because performance cannot be assessed just by looking at the average score of the students at the school. Such basic comparisons do not take into account levels of socio-educational advantage and they do not look at the level of student progress.

ACARA CEO, David de Carvalho, said teachers and schools work hard for their students, and a school's level of achievement is determined by a wide variety of factors.

"Parents wanting information on how their school is performing in NAPLAN should not rely on league tables but instead visit the My School website and review the progress graphs for their school. The amount of progress, seen in the context of the socio-educational background of the students, indicates to parents if the school is performing well in respect of those factors that are within the school's control, such as teaching quality and leadership,” he said. "It is important to remember that NAPLAN does not measure overall school quality, and a child's teachers will have the best insights into their progress in school."


The ‘A’ in ACARA is for ‘Authority’

The fifth letter in ACARA’s name stands for ‘Authority’. Watch the last video in ACARA CEO’s web series on each letter in our name, where David takes us through what ‘A’ means, how ACARA exercises its authority and what the source of ACARA’s authority is.

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Digital Technologies in conversations: webinar

As a part of the Australian Government’s National Innovation and Science agenda, ACARA runs the Digital Technologies in focus (DTiF) project that is designed to encourage the implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Digital Technologies in Australia’s schools. In September, DTiF is running ‘DTiF in conversations’ – a free webinar that is suitable for primary and secondary school teachers. The topic of the webinar is:

 A perspective on Tasmania's approach to Digital Technologies with Bobby Pederson, online learning – Wednesday 16 September, 4–4.30 pm AEST.

Everyone is welcome to join the conversation – please follow the link above to register.

DTiF newsletter

deep_blue_posterNational Science Week

National Science Week is Australia’s annual celebration of science and technology. It’s a collection of events staged by individuals and organisations, which together make up one of Australia’s largest festivals. This year, the week ran on 15–23 August, with the theme ‘Deep Blue: innovation for the future of our oceans’. Virtual tours, webcasts, talks, DIY experiments, quizzes, citizen science and competitions – there was a lot to choose from.

The week’s organisers produced many resources to support teachers and students interested in science. These included the Resource Book of Ideas for National Science Week, jam-packed with ideas for addressing ocean topics and issues with your students; the Oceans and bushfire events by the Australian Academy of Science resource to help students explore and describe marine animal behaviour.

Many activities can be be done at school or at home by adults, children and families.

Primary Principals’ Day

On 7 August we celebrated Primary Principals' Day.

Principals' Day, initiated by the Victorian Principals Association over 18 years ago, has picked up traction in other jurisdictions around Australia and abroad, and has become an ongoing opportunity to recognise the valuable work performed by principals.

We celebrated the contribution of principals in all schools across our nation. This year we saw, perhaps more clearly than ever, the true capacity and calibre of our principals as they stepped up to the challenge of leadership through COVID-19. We also witnessed the real strength they bring every day to their schools, staff members, students, families and the wider community.

Kim Wilson St Marys Catholic Primary School
St Mary’s Catholic Primary School in Scone celebrated Primary Principals’ Day. 
Credit: Australian Primary Principals Association