Education should not be intended to make people comfortable; it is meant to make them think. Hanna Holborn Gray

One down and a major election still to occur. We are yet to be swamped by an increasing number of promises but there has already been a raft of advertising from a variety of interested groups, plugging what they see as having occurred [or not] and what should occur in the future. As at every previous election, there have also been statements from all parties about what has [or has not been] done by themselves or others. This is only certain to reach considerably greater emphasis over the remaining period up to the election itself. Brace yourself. Headlines below sometimes cover this, but there has been so much available from a wide range of media, it does not need to be gone over again here.

As previously, there have been a range of reports and statements from non-political sources on various aspects of education which can often be overlooked during highly politicised periods. A number have been included below while there are more ready for inclusion in the near future. Meanwhile, you may be interested in some of, if not all, the following items.

  • We indicated last time we would be removing the redirects which had been included with the new version of the site. This has now been completed. It allowed nearly three months for people to come to grips with where things now are. If in doubt, check the main menu or the site map for direct links. Some minor adjustments have also been done with these to make linking easier.
  • ‘The National Quality Framework [NQF] provides a national approach to the regulation of the quality of education and care services across Australia. It’s been five years since the last review in 2014 and it’s time to check back in and see what areas of the NQF can still be improved, including the National Law and National Regulations. We want to capture as many voices as possible by July 2019 during this first phase, and we’d like to hear about what’s most important to you’. Find out more information About the NQF Review here and also this page. The second page will give you access to the survey if you wish to take part.
  • There are numerous blogs about education here and overseas. Some address very specific topics, others take a more general look at education as a whole. One, EduResearch Matters, ‘wants parents, teachers, educational leaders, members of school communities, politicians, journalists and anyone who is interested in education today, to read this blog and give us feedback’. This direct response to research is, in many ways, a little out of the ordinary. There is a wide range of research topics commented on, one example being - Effective teaching methods that work for Indigenous students : latest research, another is What’s good ‘evidence-based’ practice for classrooms ? We asked the teachers, here’s what they said. If you have some input to give, this may be an avenue worth pursuing.
  • Acronyms are rampant in most professional areas. Education is no different. You can go from the simplest forms such as NAPLAN, VET and STEM through to things which are virtually unknown across the wider public such as CHESSN, IELTS and SEPLA. Having given you a run through just a smattering of these, who knows what NCCD stands for ?
  • This is surely one which few people would have come across, yet which refers to something which affects a large number of students across many schools. ‘The Nationally Consistent Collection of Data on School Students with Disability [NCCD] gives Australian schools, parents, guardians and carers, education authorities and the community information about the number of students with disability in schools and the adjustments they receive’. For those with a special interest in this area, as well as those who believe in the importance of supporting every student with a disability, it is of particular importance. You can find out more detail about all aspects of the NCCD via this site.
  • Help us if you can. We are currently working our way through the Competition pages. Step 1 was to look at what existed and remove competitions which no longer appear valid. Most of this has been completed. At the same time we have been collating new possibilities and have a number to add. If you know of any which do not already appear, we would really appreciate a brief email letting us know so we can try to include more quality competitions. Thanks in advance to all those who can assist in this way.

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There seems to be an unending supply of documents being produced about all aspects of education. It proves difficult at times to select only a few for inclusion [‘Life wasn’t meant to be easy’]. Several recent items are listed below that are felt to warrant at least a brief mention. See what you think about each and whether you agree or not. Most items are Australian in origin. Follow each link that piques your particular interest.

Delayed Disaster Impacts on Academic Performance of Primary School Children ‘Social disruption caused by natural disasters often interrupts educational opportunities for children. However, little is known about children’s learning in the following years. This study examined change in academic scores for children variably exposed to a major bushfire in Australia. The findings highlight the extended period of academic impact and identify important opportunities for intervention in the education system to enable children to achieve their academic potential’. PDF document.

Focus on Soft skills, employability and education ‘This issue of Focus on ... presents a snapshot of research that explores soft skills for the 21st century, soft skills and vocational education and training [VET], and examples of soft skill teaching and learning practices’. Extensive range of included information and descriptorsas well as links to both research and opinion pieces related to this this focus.

Future Directions - Hands on Learning ...Keeping Young People connected to Education and Building Capacity for Future Success. Ultimately, this paper proposes practical solutions to address the pressing need to ensure more young people stay engaged and complete education. To better equip students to be connected and confident learners at school, we are calling for federal, state and territory governments to achieve a number of listed steps.

Higher apprenticeships in Australia : what are we talking about ? ‘This research explores the views of industry and other stakeholders on the potential broader use of higher apprenticeships. The report highlights some of the complexities that need to be considered and provides examples of where higher apprenticeships and other similar training programs are being developed and trialed in various industries around Australia’. NCVER.

Overcoming the Odds : A study of Australia’s top-performing disadvantaged schools ‘This study investigated Australia’s top-performing disadvantaged schools, with the aim of finding any common policies and practices that have led to their success. 18 top-performing disadvantaged primary schools [12 of which are in Victoria] were identified on the basis of NAPLAN literacy and numeracy test results. These high-achieving schools do not receive more funding than other similarly disadvantaged school. 9 of these top-performing disadvantaged schools were visited by a researcher for this study, involving interviews with school principals and staff, and observations of literacy and numeracy lessons. Six common themes were found across the nine schools’.

The take up of tertiary education ‘The IRU recently published a discussion paper, Towards a tertiary future, outlining our vision for tertiary education in Australia. A supplemental paper has now been published digging further into Longitudinal Survey of Australian Youth [LSAY] data around applications, acceptances and completions. This includes breakdowns by state, gender, socioeconomic group and metro/non-metro areas’. Data, graphs and an interesting Analysis section.

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