ACARA news, March 2015

Australian Curriculum website updated

31 March 2015

Six language curricula made available

ACARA has made six language curricula available (Arabic, German, Korean, Modern Greek, Spanish and Vietnamese) on the Australian Curriculum website for Foundation – Year 10. Japanese curriculum will be made available next week.

The curricula are awaiting final endorsement from the Education Council comprising federal, state and territory education ministers; however, they are now available for states and territories to use in their jurisdictions.

This is the second group of language curricula to be released by ACARA (Chinese, French, Indonesian and Italian curricula were released in July 2014). Further languages to follow are Turkish, Hindi, AUSLAN, Classical Greek and Latin.

See the language curricula on the Australian Curriculum website .

Primary illustrations

In another update to the Australian Curriculum website, a series of 20 videos has been released to illustrate the management of the Australian Curriculum within primary schools. These videos provide primary school leadership teams with information about different approaches being taken to manage the Australian Curriculum.

Each primary school describes the steps they have taken to manage the Australian Curriculum. Planning proformas, timetables or other documents that help to demonstrate their work are now available on the Australian Curriculum website.

The primary schools in the videos represent government, Catholic and independent school sectors from across Australia. These schools are from metropolitan, rural and remote areas and range in size from 130 to over 700 students.

See the videos on the Australian Curriculum website .

ACARA responds to an article in the Australian

31 March 2015

The article 'Civil society remade: citizenship becomes a fluid idea at school' ( The Australian , 28 March 2015) contains numerous factual inaccuracies.

The Australian Curriculum – civics and citizenship is a robust and world-class curriculum that will shape young Australians to be confident and engaged citizens. Developing and implementing the Australian Curriculum has been a collaborative effort, which included using experts from across our Australia, spanning years of rigorous writing, development and consultation. It is a world-class national curriculum, and shaped by comparison with the best from overseas. The curriculum comes alive in the hands of teachers who make expert decisions about the learning experiences each student needs to succeed.

The Australian Curriculum – civics and citizenship does not prescribe specific texts to be studied in schools. Most school authorities, along with individual schools, determine what will be studied in classrooms. Some school and curriculum authorities provide lists of recommended texts.
To read what the Australian Curriculum actually says about the study of civics and citizenship, rather than individual views, visit the Australian Curriculum website .

Blog: A national HPE curriculum – what difference will it make?

26 March 2015
ACARA CEO, Robert Randall, recently penned a blog post for the Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation (ACHPER) on the Australian Curriculum: health and physical education

Robert will be a keynote presenter at the upcoming ACHPER international conference in April.

Read the blog post

Australian Government review of the My School website

22 March 2015

ACARA welcomes the Australian Government’s review of the My School website .

My School provides a set of quality data that schools, teachers, parents and the wider community can use to help ensure that every child in every classroom receives a high-quality education.

ACARA welcomes any discussion on ways to improve My School – to ensure that My School continues to be a useful resource for improving student learning.

Robert Randall
Chief Executive Officer

National Day of Action against bullying and violence

20 March 2015

Today will see more than 890,000 students across Australia join together to take a stand against bullying and violence with anti-bullying events happening in every state and territory.

Chair of the COAG Education Council and Queensland Education Minister, Kate Jones, says this national day of action, which started in 2011, raises the profile about what schools are doing to create safe and supportive learning environments for young people – free from bullying, harassment and violence.

Recognising bullying behaviour , dealing with bullying and harassment and understanding its impact on relationships (including online relationships) are just some of the areas covered in the Australian Curriculum: health and physical education .

Teachers, parents and students can also visit the Bullying. No Way! website to find resources for dealing with bullying, including fact sheets, tips and advice, and lesson plans to support classroom teaching.

ACARA hosts phonics forum

20 March 2015

As part of ACARA’s work in responding to key matters highlighted in the Australian Government’s Review of the Australian Curriculum, as agreed by education ministers, today ACARA is holding a phonics forum. The forum brings together a range of phonics experts to consult on ways to strengthen phonics in the Australian Curriculum: English .

Strengthening the presence of phonics and phonemic awareness is one component of the four themes identified in the Australian Government’s response to the review – uncrowding the curriculum, parental engagement, improving accessibility and rebalancing the curriculum – which ACARA has been tasked to action.

National Assessment Program (NAP) – science literacy trials start today

16 March 2015

Fifty schools and over 1,000 Year 6 students from New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria will participate in the NAP – science literacy field trials between 16 and 27 March.

NAP sample assessments test students’ skills and understanding in the areas of science literacy, civics and citizenship, and information and communication technology literacy on a rolling three-yearly basis. Only selected groups of students in Year 6 participate in these sample assessments.

The NAP – science literacy trials test the logistics of performing the assessments, check the quality of the test questions, clarify the administrative procedures and allow for any arising issues to be fixed before the actual assessments are carried out later in the year.

Schools taking part in the NAP sample assessments benefit by having the opportunity to engage with state-of-the-art assessment materials, which are being delivered online for this assessment and form a part of the wider move to bring all NAP assessments – including NAPLAN – online. Participating schools in this trial will be provided with an ‘online technical readiness test’ prior to the assessments.

ACARA's statement regarding league tables published in the Canberra Times

10 March 2015
My School league tables: ACARA's response

ACARA's My School website provides quality data to assist schools, teachers, parents and the wider community to know more about schools.

A key feature of the My School website is that the data are presented in context, taking account of the socio-educational background of a school’s students. Using this information, fair comparisons can be made. ACARA opposes the use of simplistic league tables that result in unfair comparisons between schools.

Robert Randall
Chief Ecexutive Officer

The Australian Government’s Review of the Australian Curriculum

05 March 2015

At today’s Education Council meeting, education ministers agreed to recommendations, proposed by ACARA, to respond to the Australian Government’s Review of the Australian Curriculum

ACARA’s Chair, Professor Barry McGaw, represented ACARA at the meeting, with Robert Randall, ACARA’s CEO.

Professor McGaw said today, “We are pleased that the Education Council has endorsed our proposal and extremely grateful to ACARA’s staff, partners and stakeholders for the enormous amount of work they have done in these early weeks of the new year to get us to this point. There is, of course, more to be done, but we have established a secure base on which to proceed”.

Read ' A better national curriculum for all Australian students' media statement by Hon Christopher Pyne, Minister for Education and Training.

My School updated for 2015

05 March 2015

Today, the My School website has been updated with the latest 2015 data, including the results from the 2014 National Assessment Program – literacy and numeracy (NAPLAN) tests.

ACARA’s Chair, Professor Barry McGaw, says: “ My School contains a set of quality data that schools, teachers, parents and the wider community can use to help ensure that every child in every classroom receives a high quality education”.

Professor McGaw says that My School allows for fair comparisons to be made between schools with similar students.

My School allows for comparisons of results from schools with students from similar socio-educational backgrounds using the index of community socio-educational advantage (ICSEA) scale. ICSEA enables fair comparisons to be made between schools with similar students,” says Professor McGaw.

ICSEA is the level of the school’s educational advantage and is calculated using information about parents’ occupation, parents’ education, school geographical location and the proportion of Indigenous students at the school. A school’s ICSEA value represents the level of the educational advantage of the school's students. ACARA has developed an infographic explaining ICSEA in plain English (PDF 395 kb) .

The 2015 My School release contains:

  • the latest (2014) profile and population data on each school
  • outcomes from the 2014 round of NAPLAN testing
  • seven years of performance data for comparison
  • student attendance data based on Indigenous status
  • a refreshed look and feel
  • the latest financial figures on each school, including capital expenditure and sources of funding.

See the .

Read our media release (PDF 61 kb)

The value of the My School website was reiterated in recent research undertaken by Colmar Brunton , which has also been released today by ACARA.

To use My School, you will need Internet Explorer 9 or above, or an alternate browser such as Firefox or Chrom e.