Gonski calls for school curriculum shakeup

Clay Curtis
May 3, 2018

Students shoudn't just be finishing the year meeting age or year-based expectations but with a full year's worth of extra knowledge, the report by businessman David Gonski says.

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull will today concede Australia's schools "can and must do more" to help students reach their potential, as a landmark report into the nation's education system claims it has "failed" a generation of children.

The ACDE, which represents all the universities and some private providers who teach our future teachers, fully supports recommendations to strengthen the attractiveness of the teaching profession through clearer career pathways, better recognition of expertise, vital lifelong learning through more professional development, and improved management of teacher supply and demand with adequate data and a national strategy.

Federal Education Minister Simon Birmingham is hopeful a new reform agreement can be negotiated with his state counterparts this year, allowing changes to be implemented from 2019.

Accepting the report's 23 recommendations, Mr Turnbull said it was a blueprint for improvement.

Gonski says his latest recommendations are created to be implemented together to turn around the decline in academic performance Australia has experienced since 2000.

The Gonski report says teachers and educators have long recognised problems with the Australia's industrial education model, but schools' attempts to address the issue have been hampered by curriculum delivery, assessment, work practices and the structural environments in which they operate.

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It recommends the structure of the Australian curriculum be revised progressively over the next five years to build a roadmap that sets out the steps required in learning for each subject.

It called for the implementation of a new online assessment tool that teachers could use to diagnose a student's exact level of literacy and numeracy.

The report's recommendations lean on education researcher John Hattie's calls for a "year's growth for a year's input" in learning.

Its chief insight is that Australia needs to shift away from a year-based curriculum to a curriculum expressed as "learning progressions", independent of year or age.

"We know that when schools have the resources they need to give students the individual attention they need, we see improved educational outcomes", AEU president Correna Haythorpe said.

Gonski also wants an independent national inquiry into objectives, curriculum and assessment provisions for Year 11 and 12 students, with findings within 12 months.

"Australia needs to review and change its model for school education", it says. Realistic resources of time, commitment and funding at all levels are imperative if we are to achieve optimal student outcomes and attract the best potential teachers to our profession, ' Professor Aspland says.

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