Australian Teachers News Blog

Education News for 2021 
Let the Learning Revolution Continue! 

Real-time information and news

E. Barriers to participation and success

[T]here are significant barriers to access and to effective learning by Indigenous children in both primary and secondary education. These barriers include the lack of relevance of the curriculum and education generally, racism and discrimination at all levels in society including the school environment and the classroom, poor health, lack of opportunity for the involvement of parents and community in school based delivery of education, levels of incarceration, unemployment and availability of suitable teachers. These exacerbate the already poor quality or lack of availability of the physical school environment (ATSIC submission, page 21)

Experts question minister’s call for a review into the quality of teacher education courses

by Wade Zagles

Three of Australia’s teacher education experts have questioned statements made by education minister Alan Tudge that a review is needed into initial teacher education (ITE) courses and that some beginning teachers are not equipped for the classroom because they are taught too much theory in lieu of practice.

In light of COVID-19 we are all on high alert. Schools around the nation begin this new era of teaching and learning. 

Australian Government agencies are working with states and territories to implement measures to manage the risk of COVID-19. This site will help students, parents, and education providers, as well as job seekers and employers find the information they need to make informed decisions about managing risk associated with COVID-19.

School fee warning: experts unpack private income in Australia

By: Dallas Bastia

Private funding initiatives have the potential to create – or further cement – a multi-tiered education system based on parental capacity and inclination to pay. 

Senior lecturer at Queensland University of Technology Anna Hogan raised this concern on the back of an analysis of schools’ private income.

Drawing from 2015 ACARA data, Hogan and colleagues found that each year Australia’s school system attracted an estimated $8 billion in private funding.  

While that figure included sources like donations and community fundraising. the majority came through school fees. 

Independent schools totalled an average of $9,227 of private funding per student, followed by Catholic schools ($2,873) and government schools ($752).  

And the more advantaged the school, the more private income it attracted.  

In an article for The Conversation, Hogan said: “Parents in very disadvantaged independent schools paid an average of $1,225 in 2015 per student. This increased to an average of $14,624 in very advantaged independent schools. 

“Parent fees at the most advantaged government schools were $745 in 2015 per student. At the most disadvantaged government schools, parents paid around $299 per student.” 

Private school fees are growing faster than inflation, Hogan added, and are now “one of the biggest financial outlays in the average Australian family”.  

“Only 50 per cent of families with children attending private schools pay fees from their disposable incomes. The rest, according to market-based research by Edstart, increase their credit card debt, take out personal loans, redraw on their mortgage, or borrow money — often from grandparents.” 

And fees have increased in some public schools since 2015, too. 

“Using metropolitan Brisbane schools as an example, Macgregor State High had a 19 per cent increase in fees between 2015 and 2019 — from $576 to $715 respectively,” Hogan said, but added some have actually reduced their fees. 

Hogan pointed out that legislation prevents public schools from attaching parental fees to student enrolments, but added that schools use a range of strategies to promote fee payment, like excluding students from extra-curricular activities and excursions if parents have not paid fees. “This may compel parents to pay to avoid their child’s embarrassment,” she said. 

When it came to other sources of income, like donations and fundraising, very advantaged independent schools received the most funding compared to all other independent schools, while very disadvantaged Catholic and private schools received the most from other income sources, when compared to other schools in their sector.  

“This may be because disadvantaged schools are receiving targeted philanthropy,” Hogan explained. 

The study highlighted potential equity issues when it comes to school fees, she added.

“Income raising is a labour-intensive process that is re-imagining the role of school staff and parents. Raising money relies on entrepreneurial principals, savvy PR staff, engaged parents and parent committees... 

“This is a problem, especially when it comes to public schools.” 

She pointed to research from the United States and United Kingdom that “cautions that an over-reliance on private income could lead to governments shirking some responsibility for resourcing and supporting schools”.  

Hogan said: “The ongoing issue here is one of equity. When schools start relying on private funding (both fees and philanthropy) to augment how basic education services are provided, schools in most need of extra support are the least likely to be able to afford it.” 

As education boss, Mark Scott criticised ATAR. Now he is urged to act on it
By Jordan Baker
March 8, 2021

Critics of the ATAR want incoming Sydney University boss Mark Scott to act on his past condemnation of the tertiary entrance rank and persuade the NSW Vice Chancellor’s committee to change or even dump it.

Two years ago Mr Scott, who has run the NSW Department of Education for almost five years, described the ATAR as a “straitjacket around our kids” and a “rigid, 10-unit boot march” which put relentless pressure on students.

He has said the rank could be based on fewer units and has frequently praised the work of Western Sydney University, which has found students’ success in relevant subjects to be just as accurate at predicting tertiary academic success as a raw ATAR.

New selective school tests focus more on literacy, less on schoolwork
By Jordan Baker
March 8, 2021 

The new-look selective high school tests, to be sat for the first time on Thursday, will put more emphasis on writing and reading ability than the previous one, and reduce the weight given to schools’ assessment of the student’s achievement.

The changes have been welcomed by parents and some tutors, who say literacy has been undervalued in the selection process and there has been too much inconsistency in the marks given by schools.

Supporting inclusive education benefits us all
By Pearl Subban and Umesh Sharma
March 7, 2021 

The old adage, “it takes a village to raise a child”, rings as true today as it did when first coined. In fact, it rings true particularly for communities that accommodate a range of diverse students and include individuals who are differently able.

However, in recent times, supporting students of differing abilities has sometimes been relegated to education support staff, special education teachers and beleaguered parents. Although these individuals are keen to assist children holistically, rather than in an excluded environment, they cannot accomplish this on their own. They need the action and support of the village.

Inclusivity is a basic human right, and a socially just community should embrace these accommodations. Our values and our culture are inextricably linked to the accommodation of student diversity.

Kids in the crossfire: ‘It’s not just that they can’t read - it affects every minute of their day’
Teaching literacy is a new frontier in the culture wars, with students who struggle with this most vital life skill the primary casualties.

While the adults argue, one in five 14-year-olds cannot read well enough, according to the 2019 NAPLAN results, a figure that’s barely improved over a decade of national testing.

By Jordan Baker

MARCH 5, 2021


Latest News

Schools are heading into holiday mode. As borders continue to be locked. QLD starts 26th June
Schools have been open to students for several weeks, but previously parents had the option of their children learning from home. VIC recorded new cases of Covid-19 as second wave looms.

Whats New?

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino announces VCE exams will run from November 9 to December 2, quelling fears the exam timetable would be pushed out by coronavirus.