Weekly Wrap: April 18, 2019

18 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.


Kids who start school later perform better – study

According to The Educator, a new study of more than 100,000 children by a research team, including academics from UNSW, Australian National University, the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, the University of Melbourne, and the Australian Catholic University, reveals that children who start school later are more ready for the classroom than their younger peers. Not only is the study the largest ever to examine who delays starting school in New South Wales, and how a child’s age when they start school relates to their ‘readiness’ in terms of development, it is also the first time that the magnitude of this relationship has been quantified in the Australian context.

New report sums up key pressures facing teachers

According to Education HQ, the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training has released a report outlining 37 key issues facing teachers. The report outlines issues surrounding teacher selection, induction and mentoring, specialist support, teaching, education and student data, professional development and leadership, early childhood teaching, rural and regional teachers, collaboration and professional learning communities, and teacher welfare.

High achieving graduates targeted for fast-tracked teacher program

According to Education HQ, the Federal Government has announced a new $21 million investment in the controversial High Achieving Teachers Program. Under the program, Teach for Australia and La Trobe University will recruit high achieving graduates from other fields and fast-track their way into the classroom. The Government said that the funding will be used to place more than 300 teachers into disadvantaged schools, with a focus on STEM graduates and those from a regional background.

Homeschooling is on the rise in Australia. Who is doing it and why?

According to The Conversation, across Australia, there are around 20,000 homeschooled students and the numbers are growing. Around 1,100 students were being homeschooled in Queensland in 2013. By 2018, this had increased to 3,232 students. This means that there are around the same number of homeschooled students in Queensland as the population of Brisbane State High School. The numbers are rising in other states too. In New South Wales an estimated 4,700 students were enrolled in homeschool in 2017 compared to around 3,300 in 2013. Around 5,300 children were being homeschooled in Victoria in 2018, compared to 3,545 children in 2013. There are many reasons parents choose to educate their children at home. For some families it will be because of religious beliefs. Geography or financial reasons might stop these families from accessing a suitable private school.

Teachers and parents 'powerless' to stop spread of Instagram and Snapchat fights in Canberra

According to ABC News, a Canberra high school teacher says many staff members feel "powerless" to stop a "24/7 cycle" of cyberbullying and physical violence among their students. Last month the ABC revealed private groups on Instagram and Snapchat hosted disturbing videos of Canberra students as young as 12 involved in fights and brutal bashings. High school teacher Eliot*, who wished to remain anonymous so as not to identify his school or students, said he had witnessed such incidents at his school. He said it was also common practice for physical violence in the playground to develop into ongoing online abuse, often with devastating impacts.

Extra-curricular pursuits go hi-tech as children switch on to coding

According to news.com, coding is shaping up to be the new piano as more children embrace the tech skill as an extracurricular activity. About 50,000 children have signed up for coding with Australia’s largest coding school, Code Camp, since it was launched five years ago, and over 5000 new students join every term. Code4Fun has experienced a similar rise in participation, teaching about 1500 students per week across Sydney. With coding introduced to the NSW school curriculum this year, it’s anticipated that more families will make coding their chosen extra-curricular activity, alongside more traditional sporting and musical pursuits.

'People are frightened of NAPLAN': Australia's testing dilemma

According to Education HQ, after 10 years, calls for an end to NAPLAN are getting louder. They're coming from the teaching profession, many parents, and two previous NSW education ministers. Critics say NAPLAN has narrowed classroom teaching, over-burdened students, misled parents, and sparked a multimillion-dollar coaching industry that preys on anxious parents. As one education insider put it, NAPLAN is "mortally wounded" in its present form.

Griffith University experts delve into what's at stake in NAPLAN debates

According to Education HQ, after 10 years of NAPLAN tests, researchers from Griffith University have drawn out the key debates over the testing regime through a review of the evidence. According to the studies reviewed, the authors suggest, the “high stakes” nature of the test can pressure schools or teachers to focus on performing well in the test rather than the best learning outcomes for students. At the same time, some studies suggested that, “for some schools NAPLAN results have become catalysts for positive changes”.


(NZ) Kindy teacher awarded $30k for hurt and humiliation in 'ground-breaking' workplace bullying case

According to TVNZ, a kindergarten teacher has been awarded $30,000 for hurt and humiliation in what her advocate says is another ground-breaking ruling in a workplace bullying case. CultureSafe NZ, a Hamilton organisation that advocates for victims of workplace bullying, represented South Island kindergarten teacher Jane Barnes after she alleged she had been bullied by her head teacher in May 2015. Ms Barnes was dismissed on medical grounds. But having heard the case, the ERA has awarded her $30,000 for hurt and humiliation, the lost benefit of the employer contribution to the superannuation scheme, and two years discretionary sick leave and costs.

(UK) Social media firms to be penalised for not removing child abuse

According to The Guardian, new laws proposed to tackle social media companies streaming child abuse, extremism, terrorist attacks and cyberbullying have been welcomed by senior police and children’s charities. Launched on Monday, the Online Harms white paper outlines what the government says are tough new laws for internet companies and the ability to enforce them. The white paper, which was revealed in the Guardian last week, will legislate for a new statutory duty of care by social media firms and the appointment of an independent regulator, which is likely to be funded through a levy on the companies. The “harms” that companies could be penalised for include failure to act to take down child abuse, terrorist acts and revenge pornography, as well as behaviours such as cyberbullying, spreading disinformation and encouraging self-harm.

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