Weekly Wrap: August 15, 2019

15 August 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.


One in 10 Aussie kids care for someone with a disability or drug dependence – they need help at school

According to The Conversation, children who care for a family member with a disability, mental illness or dependence on alcohol or other drugs are less likely to complete, or do well in, secondary school compared with young people without caring responsibilities. A study, published in the journal Child Indicators Research, compared the levels of school engagement among children who identified as carers with children who didn’t shoulder such responsibilities. In a national school-based survey of 5,220 Australian children aged 8 to 14, more than 450 respondents (9 per cent of the sample) indicated they were looking after a family member with a disability or another serious health issue. More than half of these young carers had responsibilities for a family member with a mental illness or dependence on alcohol or other drugs.


Schools warned compulsory sports carnival participation can put children off exercise for life

According to ABC News, schools are being urged to make competitive events such as running and jumps voluntary at their sports carnivals because of the mental anguish and humiliation it can cause students. Researchers said that while some children thrived on competition, forced participation could produce extreme anxiety in non-athletic students and put them off exercise for life. Mental health researcher Helen Street said that there was nothing to be gained from making children compete against their wishes and schools should be encouraged to rethink the traditional approach to carnivals.


Cash is no answer to failing schools

According to the Financial Review, conventional wisdom holds that student disadvantage is attributed to too little public spending – with Canberra’s entire political spectrum keen to throw more of our dollars at it – or too much parental school choice. But evidence proves neither argument is grounded in reality. CIS recently used NAPLAN data and the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage to identify the Australian schools that are both disadvantaged and high-achieving across the three-year period from 2015 to 2017. The success stories of the disadvantaged schools show that, given the right set of politics and policies, students from low socio-economic backgrounds can be high achievers and consistently perform above the national average for literacy and numeracy. And these schools don’t have more money than other similarly disadvantaged schools. The lesson: helping disadvantaged students succeed is not just a question of how much money is spent, but also how it is spent.


Primary school students to become focus of “zero suicide goal”

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, students in their final years of primary school will be the target of a new national intervention to tackle the growing mental health and suicide crisis among young Australians. The age group will become the new focus of the Morrison government's "zero suicide goal", by boosting funding and resources to identify and treat eating disorders, anxiety and depression. Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt will unveil the new long-term children's mental health strategy this week, aimed at encouraging primary and secondary school students to speak up by building resilience, removing the stigma of their own suffering and seeking help.


Updating Australia’s education goals in Sydney

According to Mirage News, the Morrison Government is working with education stakeholders across the country to renew Australia’s education goals. A consultation session with leaders from the education sector to update the 2008 Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians was held in Sydney today. Nine consultations have already been held around Australia, including at Tennant Creek, Adelaide and Cabramatta, and more than 150 written submissions have been received from stakeholders. The updated Melbourne Declaration will create a nationally consistent future direction for Australian education for the next decade.


How healthy food improves student outcomes

According to The Educator, the learning outcomes and mental health of Victorian students is being challenged by sobering statistics around healthy eating and nutrition. According to the Department of Education’s VCAMS data (2018), Victorian students are getting 40 per cent of their daily energy intake from ‘junk foods’ such as cakes, fast food, confectionary, and sugary drinks, with only 10 per cent of students eating their recommended intake of fruit and vegetables.


Infographic: School attendance and mental health disorders

This infographic from Teacher Magazine draws on data from the Australian Child and Adolescent Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing to present the key statistics on school attendance and mental health disorders.


Australian teachers work longer hours than those in most OECD countries

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Australian secondary school teachers work among the longest hours in their profession in the developed world and spend more time on administration and non-teaching tasks. The working week for Australian secondary school teachers is also getting longer, a survey for the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development has found. The OECD’s Teaching and Learning International Survey, which reviewed teachers in 30 nations, found Australian secondary school teachers work an average of 44.8 hours a week, six hours longer than the international average of 38.8 hours a week.


Anti-PC packs to be sent to 500 NSW schools to stop 'indoctrination'

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, at least 500 P&C groups across NSW will be sent an information pack with advice for parents on identifying if their child is being "indoctrinated" by "radical gender activists" at school. The political lobby group Binary will distribute the packs, launched on Wednesday in NSW Parliament by One Nation MLC Mark Latham, around the state from next week.


Why going to school made Dujuan think there was something wrong with him

According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Dujuan Hoosan speaks three languages, is a traditional healer and the subject of an upcoming documentary. But the 12-year-old received low grades on school report cards and nearly ended up behind bars. Now Dujuan is asking people in positions of power to learn from his story. In a speech read to the Northern Territory Parliament on Tuesday night, Dujuan, who comes from Arrernte and Garrwa Country, said Aboriginal people needed greater autonomy over education and called for a more empathetic response to young offenders.



(China) Schoolchildren in China work overnight to produce Amazon Alexa devices

According to The Guardian, leaked documents show children as young as 16 recruited by Amazon supplier Foxconn working gruelling and illegal hours. Hundreds of schoolchildren have been drafted in to make Amazon’s Alexa devices in China as part of a controversial and often illegal attempt to meet production targets, documents seen by The Guardian reveal. Interviews with workers and leaked documents from Amazon’s supplier Foxconn show that many of the children have been required to work nights and overtime to produce the smart-speaker devices, in breach of Chinese labour laws.


(US) Racist words and acts, like the El Paso shooting, harm children’s health

According to ScienceNews, just days before 22 people were killed in El Paso, Texas, allegedly by an anti-immigrant gunman, the American Academy of Pediatrics warned that racism was harming children’s overall health. Among the people fleeing the shooting at a Walmart on 3 August were young families with children shopping for back-to-school supplies. “Two young parents who sacrificed themselves to shield their 2-month-old infant … were within the age group of young people I serve,” says pediatrician and adolescent medicine specialist Maria Trent of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who sees patients up to age 25. The shooting, she says, highlighted two key risks to children’s health and well-being in the United States: gun violence and racism.

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