Thursday, June 5, 2008

The National Curriculum (more detail)

15 April, 2008
Media Release
Delivering Australia's First National Curriculum

Minister for Education, Julia Gillard today confirmed the membership of the National Curriculum Board, which will see a national curriculum be delivered within three years.

As promised, the new National Curriculum Board is comprised of representatives from each of the States and Territories, and three representatives from the Catholic and Independent sectors.

The Board will oversee the development of a rigorous, world-class national curriculum for all Australian students from kindergarten to Year 12, starting with the key learning areas of English, mathematics, the sciences and history.

The Board will draw together the best programs from each State and Territory into a single curriculum to ensure every child has access to the highest quality learning programs to lift achievement and drive up school retention rates.

The timetable will see:

The National Curriculum Board hold its first meeting on 23 April 2008;

The Board start consultations on the development of a national curriculum by mid this year;

The secretariat and governance arrangements for the National Curriculum Board be established by 1 January 2009;

A national curriculum for all Australian students from kindergarten to Year 12 be developed by 2010, starting with English, mathematics, the sciences and history, and underpinned by a renewed focus on literacy and numeracy; and A national curriculum publicly available and which can start to be delivered in all jurisdictions from January 2011.

The announcement follows last month’s historic COAG agreement that for the first time set out a productivity and participation agenda that spans early childhood to adulthood.

Australians have been debating the merits of a national curriculum for the last 30 years. Until now, however, no Australian government has been able to produce a plan on how to deliver it.

Today, the Rudd Labor Government in co-operation with the State and Territories has announced such a plan, which will see a national curriculum being delivered within three years.

About 340,000 Australians move interstate each year, including 80,000 school-aged students. Working families who move their children interstate will be delighted with today’s agreement.

It will contribute to creating a modern Australia, with a workforce that will benefit from being educated by a world-class national curriculum.

The COAG Working Group on the Productivity Agenda will work closely with the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA), and the Catholic and Independent schools sectors on the development of the national curriculum over the coming years.

Membership of the National Curriculum Board

Professor Barry McGaw Chair

Mr Tony Mackay Deputy Chair

Tom Alegounarias New South Wales representative

Mr John Firth Victorian representative

Mr Kim Bannikoff Queensland representative

Professor Bill Louden Western Australian representative

Ms Helen Wildash South Australian representative

Mr David Hanlon Tasmanian representative

Ms Rita Henry Northern Territory representative

Ms Janet Davy Australian Capital Territory representative

Mr Garry LeDuff Non-government sector

Dr Brian Croke Non-government sector

Professor Marie Emmitt Non-government sector

The only public statement (so far) from the Board:


National Curriculum Journey Begins

Friday 2 May 2008

Deputy Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, welcomed Professor Barry McGaw AO, Chair of
the National Curriculum Board, Mr Tony Mackay, Deputy Chair, and other Board
members to its historic inaugural meeting, held in Canberra on Wednesday, 23 April.

The Interim National Curriculum Board comprises representatives from each of the States
and Territories, and three representatives from the Catholic and Independent schools

Professor McGaw spoke highly of his colleagues saying that the Board’s membership
provides a very good balance of teaching experience, curriculum expertise, links with the
vocational education and training sector and educational research.

“The Board has moved immediately on its first priority which is to develop a national
curriculum in English, mathematics, the sciences and history,” he said.

“This will be a collaborative process, with Australia working together to produce a world-
class curriculum.

“Consultation will begin with a stakeholder forum in Melbourne on 27 June that will focus on
the form of the curriculum to be delivered.

“Participants will consider, for example, the best relationships between content and
outcomes, between common national content and regional variation and between curriculum
specification and school and teacher discretion.

“In preparation for this consultation, the Board’s staff will gather what the Australian state
and territory education systems think are the best of their current curricula and samples of
the curricula from other high-performing countries such as Finland, Canada, Hong Kong-
China and Singapore.”

In her discussion with the Board, the Deputy Prime Minister reinforced the importance of the
collaborative process it is undertaking, and the essential role that Australian and
international evidence will play in creating a national curriculum which underpins world class
education outcomes.

“We have a rare opportunity here to create a curriculum which helps achieve educational
excellence across the whole community and it should be shaped by the best material and
experience there is,” Ms Gillard said.

Widespread consultation will help the Board shape writing instructions to the experts it
appoints to draft the national curriculum in English, mathematics, the sciences and history.

Professor McGaw emphasised that the Board has already determined that these writing
instructions will include the use of plain English so that everyone, from academics to
beginning teachers to community members, will understand what our nation’s schools are
“Curriculum writers are often tempted to write for one another but ours will write in plain
English and with a limit to the length of their documents to ensure that they are useful to
practising teachers,” he said.

For more information on the Interim National Curriculum Board, contact:
Rose Naughton
Office of the National Curriculum Board
Tel: 61 3 8330 9402
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