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Inside Teaching : August 2010
www.atra.edu.au | email@example.com NEWS 53 The Senate Standing Committee on Education, Employment and Workplace Relations is conducting two inquiries, one into the Building the Education Revolution (BER) – Primary Schools for the 21st Century (P21) program, and one into the administration and reporting of testing from the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), and the My School website. The Liberal-dominated Senate Committee P21 inquiry is investigating ‘claims...regarding infated costings and failure to achieve value for money for P21 projects.’ In its interim report, tabled in June, the Senate Committee recommended that: • all quarterly reports on P21 state spending be made available immediately • remaining P21 program funds go directly to government schools to manage • state and territory education authorities and block grant authorities be required to publish breakdowns of all individual P21 project costs • accountability mechanisms for oversight of state expenditure of Commonwealth money be strengthened, and • further BER funding be delayed until the BER Implementation Taskforce reports to the Commonwealth Minister for Education Simon Crean in August. Crean has agreed to make the report available. The Senate Committee’s NAPLAN inquiry triggered 266 submissions from higher education and research organisations, professional and subject associations, unions, education systems and state departments, but predominantly from teachers and principals. Most of those submissions by teachers and principals focused on the tension between the diagnostic and accountability purposes of NAPLAN, mostly to do with the uses of NAPLAN data for comparative purposes on the My School website operated by Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA). According to the ACARA submission, education ministers are considering My School additions, including: school fnancial data; nationally comparable senior secondary information; national satisfaction survey data; student population indicators; growth data on literacy and numeracy achievement; teaching staff levels of expertise; and the use of student-level data to compute each school’s Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage. Hands off hands-on courses The Victorian College of the Arts (VCA) – aka the Faculty of the VCA and Music at the University of Melbourne since 2007 – will not merge with the School of Music and will continue to provide hands-on arts studio practice after the University of Melbourne in July suspended plans to introduce the ‘Melbourne Model’ of generalist standardised undergraduate degrees at the VCA. Bilingual education Northern Territory Labor Senator Trish Crossin criticised the NT government’s bilingual education policy at a national Indigenous childcare conference in Alice Springs in July. The policy requires that, ‘Teaching and learning programs in Northern Territory schools are to be conducted in English for the frst four hours of each school day,’ but, ‘Indigenous languages and culture may be scheduled during afternoon sessions.’ Mediation for WA student A 13-year-old student in Western Australia who was flmed assaulting a teacher in his 60s was ordered last month to complete three months of supervised mediation in a pilot court conferencing program by Magistrate Felicity Zempilas in the Kalgoorlie Children’s Court. Footage of the assault was uploaded on YouTube and broadcast on television. Senate inquiry IN BRIEF