Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

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ACARA’s response to call for ‘food curriculum’

4 May 2015

An article in the Adelaide Advertiser (28 April) called for a ‘food curriculum’.

In the Australian Curriculum students learn about food and nutrition, where their food comes from, how it is produced and how they can prepare it. Students are taught about food and nutrition in health and physical education from Foundation to Year 10 and in the technologies learning area through design and technologies from Foundation to Year 8. Beyond Year 8, students may elect to study further in subjects specialising in food.

In the health and physical education curriculum, students develop knowledge and understanding of nutrition principles to enable them to make healthy food choices and consider the range of influences on these choices. In design and technologies, students develop understandings of contemporary technology related food issues such as ‘convenience’ foods, highly processed foods, food packaging and food transport.

See more on the Australian Curriculum website.

Religion in the Australian Curriculum

11 August 2014

The Australian Curriculum offers students in all schools – whether faith-based or secular – an opportunity to learn about religions, spirituality and ethical beliefs. In the curriculum, religion is represented as a study ‘about religion’ rather than study about a particular religious faith. In subjects such as history and civics and citizenship, the focus is on learning about religious identity and diversity, the role and significance of religion in our society, and identifying various religious traditions and key developments in religion.

There is coverage of religion both in Australia and in a global context, which provides an opportunity for educators to include a local community perspective with global connections.


The Australian Curriculum: a robust and world-class curriculum

1 August 2014

In reference to comments about the concept of national curriculum in today’s Courier Mail, ACARA believes the Australian Curriculum is a robust and world-class curriculum which will shape young Australians to be confident and engaged global citizens.

For over two decades Australia has been moving towards a national approach to schooling, including a national curriculum.

More than 20 years later and after a series of collaborative efforts among the states and territories, the first truly Australian Curriculum is available for use for Australian schools.

It is a world-class national curriculum, building on the best of our current curricula and shaped by comparison with the best from overseas. Curriculum is only one part of the story of school learning. The curriculum comes alive in the hands of teachers who make expert decisions about the learning experiences each student needs to succeed. In Australia, the curriculum is also facilitated by state and territory curriculum and school authorities.

An Australian Curriculum means that no matter where students live they now have access to the same content and their achievements will be judged against the same standards. It gives teachers stability to focus on the quality of their teaching, while being a living document that can evolve and change.

ACARA has been invited to present our work on the Australian Curriculum to colleagues around the world and we know that it is generating much interest. Australia is recognised as one of the leaders in education and a worthy partner in international collaborations. We also know that we have not accomplished this alone. We recognise the generous and often passionate contributions of countless stakeholders in shaping the curriculum, reaching settlements that do not compromise on quality and now supporting each other to implement new curriculum for our young people.

We have not yet seen the true benefits of a national curriculum – it is only in July 2014 that we have made education history by completing curriculum in all eight learning areas - but we are confident that young people and the nation will be better off as a result of the work done by tens of thousands during the last few years.

We can be rest assured that quality education is not a distant dream for our children.




15 July 2014

The Australian Curriculum sets high expectations for what all young Australians should be taught, regardless of where they live. Schools and teachers are responsible for the organisation and context in which learning takes place and they will make decisions that are appropriate and respond to their students’ needs and interests.

In addition to setting high content standards, the Australian Curriculum provides ideas about how the content might be taught. The Australian Curriculum does not specify how the content must be taught. The final decision lies with teachers.

The Australian Curriculum has been developed through rigorous national processes drawing on the best national talent and expertise to develop the curriculum. Each learning area and subject has taken between two and three years to develop.

In developing the Australian Curriculum, we have sought feedback from experts in other countries to ensure that the Australian Curriculum reflects not just best practice and high expectations in Australia, but also internationally.

For any year of schooling, the Australian Curriculum is written with the intention that it should not take up more than 80 per cent of the total teaching time available in schools. In Years 9 and 10, this reduces to 49 per cent of available teaching time.

Linking NAPLAN to the Australian Curriculum allows us to gauge the impact on curriculum on student results in national and international assessments. The first national data will be available when NAPLAN is aligned with the curriculum;  this is scheduled to take place in 2016.


Are children taught about taxes and financial literacy in school?

9 July 2014

Financial literacy is covered in the Australian curriculum in both Foundation – Year 10 mathematics and the Years 5–10 economics and business curriculum.

In the F–10 Australian Curriculum, mathematics explicitly develops financial literacy in Years 1–10 through the sub-strand of money and financial mathematics. The focus is on developing an understanding of the value of money and equipping students with the skills to effectively manage money and carry out financial transactions. The Australian Curriculum: Mathematics can be found at the Australian Curriculum website.

The Australian Curriculum: Economics and Business, which formally commences in Year 5, builds on the knowledge, understanding and proficiencies in the F–10 Australian Curriculum: Mathematics. This curriculum also introduces Year 9 students to taxation, developing their understanding of their obligations as participants in the workplace. The Australian Curriculum: Economics and Business can be found at the Australian Curriculum website.

Are children taught about natural disasters in school?

3 July 2014

Australian children are taught about natural disasters in a number of aspects across the Australian Curriculum.

In the geography curriculum, Year 5 students are taught about natural disasters such as bushfires and floods. In Year 7, students learn about hydrological hazards, and in Year 8, geomorphological hazards (causes and human responses, including readiness).

In the design and technologies curriculum, there are elaborations on disasters. Year 7 and 8 students may critique competing factors that influence the design of services; for example, a natural disaster warning system for a community.

In Year 3 and 4, an elaboration explores factors that impact on design decisions; for example, considering the demographics of an area or the impact of natural disasters on design of constructed environments such as the structural design of buildings in Japan to withstand earthquakes.


Addressing body image in the Australian Curriculum

3 July 2014

Research shows that children who have strong social and emotional skills are less likely to be dissatisfied with their body image. That is why the Australian Curriculum has a strong focus on developing these skills within the health and physical education component of the curriculum.

The curriculum looks at building body awareness, confidence and a commitment to making healthy and active everyday choices. The messaging children and young people receive about their ideal body weight plays a huge role in body satisfaction. From Year 1 and 2 onwards, students look at how various health messages and advertising can influence their actions, behaviours and beliefs as part of the curriculum.

ACARA is committed to ensuring students receive a holistic education, encompassing a wide variety of subjects that help them develop into healthy, well-adjusted adults.


Latin: a choice amongst many

20 June 2014

The story 'Absurdus Maximus' (the Courier Mail, 20 June) is an absurdity itself.

It is disappointing that the Courier Mail and its journalist chose to ignore the facts provided to them by ACARA. This is sensationalist journalism at its best and an attempt to politicise the Australian curriculum.

Latin will not be 'dragged back into Australian schools' as reported. Instead, schools will simply have a wider choice of languages to teach in the classroom. Schools can currently offer Latin to their students, the inclusion of the language in the national curriculum introduces consistency to the current offering.

It is schools that decide the languages they want to teach. Some schools may choose to offer Latin as a language to study. Some may not. It is their choice as that choice exists now.

The more language options available for schools, the more likely students will continue to study a language through to their senior year. A government aim is for 40 per cent of Year 12 students to studying a second language in a decade - ACARA is supporting this initiative by offering world class curriculum improving the learning for all young Australians.

The languages selected for development and inclusion in the curriculum by ACARA followed extensive consultation in 2011. There was support for the development of classical languages, along with a range of others. Eleven languages have been, or are being, developed. A further five additional languages including Turkish, Hindi, AUSLAN and Classical Greek and Latin have been funded for development.

Rob Randall
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority

Response to AFR story: coding in the curriculum

20 June 2014

The article in the Australian Financial Review "Should schools teach coding as part of the curriculum?" by Misa Han (18 June) contains inaccuracies.

The statement that no coding is taught in schools is incorrect. Many Australian schools currently do teach coding to their students.

In addition, the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has Digital Technologies curriculum available for use by schools. A key part of this curriculum is students developing coding skills from the first year of schooling, just as they do in the UK.

Rob Randall
Chief Executive Officer
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority