Weekly Wrap: April 11, 2019

Published
11 April 2019

The information in the Weekly Wrap is aggregated from other news sources to provide you with news that is relevant to the education sector across Australia and worldwide. Each paragraph is a summary of the subject matter covered in the particular news article. The information does not necessarily reflect the views of CompliSpace.


AUSTRALIA

Budget 2019: What it means for schools

In this article, The Educator summarises key impacts the Federal Budget will have on schools:

  • The Federal Government has promised to commit around $30m to all schools for upgrades to libraries, classrooms and playground equipment. The funding will see every federal electorate in Australia offered $200,000 in “local school community” money.
  • The Government also pledged $453m to extend pre-school education, enabling 350,000 children to receive 15 hours of quality early learning per week in the year before school.
  • Overall, the Federal Government has committed around $300bn to all Australian schools – a total increase of 63 per cent.
  • Labor is promising to deliver the biggest investment in public schools in Australian history if it is elected in May. The Opposition’s $14bn, 10-year education plan will see more than 13,000 extra teachers flow into Australia’s public schools, which have been struggling with resource shortages and burgeoning enrolments.

Federal Budget 2019: Local schools, education focus in pre-election budget

According to Perth Now, school kids are being offered new swing sets, slides and library books in the pre-election federal budget. Every federal electorate across Australia will be given $200,000 to spend on "priority projects" across their school communities. "No one knows the needs of a local school better than the school community itself, its parents and teachers," Treasurer Josh Frydenberg told Parliament on Tuesday night. "Funding will be available for projects such as upgrades to libraries, classrooms and play equipment." The $30.2 million has been set aside in the 2019/20 financial year, but there is no funding allocated in the budget papers for the three years after that. Despite concerted attacks from Labor and the unions, the government argues its spending on public, independent and Catholic schools is at an "all-time high" and will continue to grow over the next decade. Recurring funding for schools hits $19.9 billion in 2019, an average of $5097 per student.

Federal Budget gets an ‘F’ for Education Funding

According to a Queensland Government Media Release, Queensland Education Minister Grace Grace has slammed Scott Morrison and Josh Frydenberg’s “hollow rhetoric” on education in the Federal Budget. “Last night in his budget address, Josh Frydenberg described education as “the first defence of the nation” and “critical to our prosperity, harmony and advancement as a country”,” Ms Grace said. “However, the budget papers reveal that these words are nothing but hollow rhetoric. The detail in the budget papers expose the Morrison Government’s failure in relation to providing fair, sector-blind education funding, including any increased funding for students with a disability. Perhaps the greatest failure with regards to education funding is the lack of a concrete, long-term funding commitment to universal access for kindergarten in the year before school.” Ms Grace said the budget also failed to provide Queensland’s public schools with their fair share of additional funding similar to the $1.2 billion slush fund being provided to non-government schools as a “choice and affordability fund.”

Indigenous students improving, but not fast enough to close gap this century

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, indigenous students' literacy and numeracy skills have improved at twice the rate of their peers' over the past 10 years, but not fast enough to close the education gap before next century. The 2018 national NAPLAN report shows strong growth among Indigenous primary school students across all indicators since testing began in 2008. Students from non-English speaking backgrounds have also improved. Across the general population, there has also been improvement in years 5 and 9 numeracy, years 3 and 5 reading and spelling, and years 3 and 7 grammar over the decade, but writing has gone backwards since 2008. Indigenous year 3 students have improved at a rate of 7.4 per cent, compared with 4.2 per cent among the wider population, while their year 5 counterparts have improved at a rate of 5 per cent, compared with 2.2 per cent.

The amount of time Australian mothers spend ferrying their children around

According to The Herald Sun, helicopter parenting is causing Australian mums to spend one hour and twenty minutes in the car every day — much of it ferrying kids around. Dads spend the same amount of time in the car but are much more likely to be driving to work, an international study from the University of Melbourne has found. The study, led by Professor of Sociology and Social Policy Lyn Craig, compared the driving done by more than 14,000 men and women from Australia, the UK, Spain and Finland. It found men in the UK and Australia drive twice as often for work compared to women, and women drive twice as much for household-related and parenting reasons.

Bush schools are increasing in Australia and teachers say they're achieving amazing results

According to ABC News, each week, students at a small regional school on the New South Wales mid-north coast spend a day in the bush, exploring, experimenting, creating and getting dirty. The students are part of a new bush school program at the Manning Adventist School, outside Taree, one of the latest Australian schools to embrace outdoor learning. The concept has its origins in Europe where 'forest schools' have been popular for decades. Elsewhere in Australia, some primary schools have taken the outdoor learning model a step further by becoming full bush schools, where students spend the majority of their time learning outdoors every day. They are also reporting positive changes in their students and strong demand for places.

Self-harm 'contagion effect' among children and teens

According to The Age, more than 5000 children and teenagers were taken to hospital for self-harm in Victoria over two years, as school counsellors and psychologists grow increasingly concerned a "contagion effect" is driving an alarming trend. Primary and secondary school students were among the 5291 patients who had deliberately injured themselves so severely that they needed to be admitted to hospital for treatment in 2016 and 2017, VicHealth data shows. School counsellors and psychologists say that they are seeing growing numbers of secondary school students self-harming, amid rising rates of mental health problems among youth. “There is a contagion effect going on,” said Professor Marilyn Campbell, spokeswoman for the Australian Psychologists and Counsellors in Schools (APACS). "It has been normalised ... they are seeing a whole lot of self-harm depicted on social media or on TV, and they think ‘maybe that will work for me’.”

Father saves son after suicide attempt, urges parents to watch for signs of bullying, depression

According to ABC News, a Queensland father who saved his young son from a suicide attempt says he wants other parents to learn from his mistakes. The family want their gut-wrenching ordeal to serve as a warning to other parents. The father said parents should not underestimate the devastating impacts that bullying can have, even on very young children. "We knew it [bullying] was happening, but we talked to him and we would tell him 'they're just words, you've got to be the bigger man'," he said. “We failed to read those little signs … and being his age, we thought that a lot of his anger and frustration was him going through the change of life and becoming a teenager." One of Australia's foremost authorities on youth mental health, Patrick McGorry, has commended the family on their decision to share their story. "Telling stories and exposing things that people want to sweep under the carpet is the way to solve the problem — it is the first step," he said. "We've actually got to find ways to discuss it safely and it's perfectly possible to do that.”

Principals sound the alarm on mental illness in primary school kids

According to The Age, school children as young as five are self-harming, exhibiting significant behavioural issues and suffering anxiety, and primary school principals say they are struggling to respond. “Children as young as prep and grade 1 are having such significant behavioural issues that whole classes of students are having to be removed because they are destroying the classroom,” says Anne-Maree Kliman, president of the Victorian Principals Association. “I have had students as young as grade 2 telling me they wanted to die.” As the royal commission into Victoria’s mental health system begins community consultation sessions this week, Ms Kliman met with Education Minister James Merlino and urged him to dispatch mental health workers to primary schools and increase access to primary welfare officers.

Ed-tech start-ups breaking new ground

According to The Educator, cloud computing is not only changing the way organisations operate but is presenting a plethora of new job opportunities for students, who will soon be entering a workforce dominated by this technology. The most in-demand cloud computing skills today are Amazon Web Services (AWS), Java, Linux, software development, DevOps, Docker and Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS). Today, AWS announced that the AWS EdStart global program, designed to help education technology start-ups build teaching and learning solutions on the AWS Cloud, has enabled School Bytes to streamline school payment systems, and Saasyan to protect children against cyber-bullying, online predators and inappropriate content.

Continuous and meaningful professional development crucial for teachers

According to The Australian, high-quality, continuous professional learning (as opposed to one-off, snapshot professional ­development) is critical for keeping teachers’ skills and knowledge relevant. However, too many teachers participate in professional development that is disconnected and too ad hoc to improve classroom teaching skills. Passive, single-session professional development activities with little connection to a school’s context and long-term vision waste teachers’ time and government money, and have little or no impact on students’ learning outcomes. This was one of the main findings in the recent Victorian Auditor-General’s report on professional learning in Victorian public schools.

INTERNATIONAL

(US and NZ) “Incredible”: US teacher's 'mental health whiteboard' gains worldwide attention

According to Newshub, a method a teacher is using to monitor the mental wellbeing of students in their classroom has been praised after going viral online. The idea encourages students to anonymously let their teacher know how they are feeling at the start of each school week. Each child writes their name on the back of a post-it note and places it beside one of six categories ranging from "I'm great" to "I'm having a tough time and wouldn't mind a check-in". The teacher then takes time throughout the week to privately chat to struggling students to see if they want to talk about what's going on in their life. Over the past week the Facebook post by Tara Mitchell Holman, from Cincinnati, has been shared over 176,000 times and sparked overwhelmingly positive responses.

(US) Rethinking sex ed for the #MeToo moment: A ‘hugely significant’ study shows that strengthening education on relationships and consent can change the culture

According to LA School Report, experts say that more comprehensive sex education could change the culture in the United States by preparing students for healthy relationships and preventing sexual violence. A new study shows that learning refusal skills can protect students from later sexual assaults, which researchers say indicates that improving sex ed should be the next step for the #MeToo movement — a way to both protect students from being victimised and prevent them from perpetrating assaults.

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