National Report on Schooling in Australia 2011

National initiatives and achievements

2.4 Enhancing middle years development

Australian governments are committed to working with all school sectors to ensure that schools provide programs that are responsive to students’ developmental and learning needs in the middle years, and which are challenging, engaging and rewarding (Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians 2008).

Jurisdictions are committed to progressing work in this area on an individual basis, and to sharing and learning from best practice across jurisdictions and school sectors. This commitment is aligned with policy and reform directions outlined in the National Education Agreement (NEA) which contribute to achieving the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) targets relating to enhancing middle years development.

Through COAG, the Australian Government and State and Territory governments have entered into national partnerships for:
  • Improving Teacher Quality

  • Education in Low Socio-economic Status School Communities

  • Literacy and Numeracy.

These partnerships are relevant to the commitment to enhancing middle years development. Participation by the non-government school sectors in these partnerships is determined by State and Territory government processes.
The Improving Teacher Quality National Partnership supports a range of strategies and actions for students in the middle years of schooling, including:
  • preparation of varied and engaging teaching and learning approaches relevant to middle years students, including the use of innovative learning technologies that respond to the needs and characteristics of this unique phase of development

  • providing stimulating and relevant experiences, excursions and school–community links for middle years students, for example in remote, rural and international settings

  • supporting school leaders and middle years teachers to provide learning and teaching programs that engage and motivate all students through innovative, integrated multimodal approaches.

The Low Socio-economic Status School Communities National Partnership assists participating schools in engaging students in the middle years by providing appropriate support that addresses their personal circumstances and local contexts.
The Literacy and Numeracy National Partnership contributes to this commitment in participating schools by providing teachers with the skills and strategies to teach the key concepts in literacy and numeracy from the early years and to extend these skills in the middle and later years.

The development and implementation of the Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum is also central to the provision of challenging, engaging and rewarding programs in the middle years. This initiative is outlined in Part 2.6: National initiatives and achievements – promoting world-class curriculum and assessment and on the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) Australian Curriculum website.