Weekly Wrap: July 23, 2020

23 July 2020

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.



New Bill “an historic piece of legislation recognising traditional child rearing practices”

The Sector reports that new legislation was introduced to Queensland State Parliament on Thursday 16 July, bringing Torres Strait Islander families and communities in Queensland a step closer to legal recognition of traditional child rearing practices. The historic piece of legislation was introduced by Torres Strait Islander and Member for Cook, Cynthia Lui by way of a Private Member’s Bill, Meriba Omasker Kaziw Kazipa (Torres Strait Islander Traditional Child Rearing Practice) Bill 2020. Delivered to Parliament with the full support of the sitting Government, the Bill was adopted, with Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk saying for generations, Torres Strait Islanders have supported their children and each other in loving supportive extended families, but these family relationships have not been fully recognised in law. “This legislation means children and adults who have grown up with traditional adoptive parents will finally have their legal identity match their cultural identity, supporting and strengthening their connection to community and culture,” she added.


Australia resumes processing international student visas to boost numbers post-coronavirus

SBS News reports that the Federal Government has resumed the processing of student visa applications lodged in locations outside Australia in an attempt to boost the number of international students once borders reopen. Current international students unable to complete their studies within their original visa due to COVID-19 will also be able to lodge a further visa application for free, and additional time will be given to applicants who need to provide English language results. China has urged students to think carefully before choosing to study in Australia due to a spate of racial incidents targeting Asians. Australia's overseas migration intake is expected to shrink by more than 85 per cent on 2018-19 levels this financial year due to widespread travel bans brought on by the coronavirus. Australian universities have warned they are set to lose up to $16 billion in revenue over the next four years due to coronavirus travel restrictions.


State schools brace for enrolment jump as private fees put strain on parents

The Age reports that Victorian state school principals are expecting an increase in student numbers as financially stretched families turn away from private schools. Some schools have reported lower enrolment interest as parents got bogged down by remote learning in term two and the COVID-19 recession. Non-government schools fear the delays are related to families' uncertainty over what they can afford. Some private schools have already offered fee cuts and deferrals, and asked alumni to help pay the fees of students at risk of quitting due to family money pressures. There are no changes to the 2021 enrolment process for Victorian government schools and students can be enrolled in a Victorian government primary school at any time during the year. Catholic Education Melbourne said it was considering extending its secondary school application date. Independent Schools Victoria said it was not aware of any schools reporting delays in enrolment.


Important changes to QLD Child Protection framework to commence 31 August

The Sector reports that Queenslanders seeking work that will bring them into contact with children will no longer be able to commence employment while their application for a Blue Card, as the child protection check is known in Queensland, is pending, effective 31 August 2020. Those who have applied for a Blue Card must wait until their check is fully processed, and their blue card issued, before they are able to commence voluntary or paid work with the commencement of the No Card, No Start policy. The measure, Queensland Attorney-General and Minister for Justice Yvette D’Ath said, is ”aimed squarely at protecting Queensland kids from harm”. Anyone who is found to start or continue in regulated employment without a Blue Card could face a five-year jail term, in certain circumstances, she added. No Card, No Start will bring paid employees into line with volunteers and business operators, preventing someone from employing a person in child-related employment unless the person holds a working with children clearance.


WA Education, Justice, Health departments fail to “fully comply” with working with children checks

WAtoday reports that the West Australian departments of Education, Health and Justice are not "fully" meeting their obligations to ensure every person on their sites who required working with children cards actually had one, a new report by the Auditor General has warned. Auditor General Caroline Spencer said the three entities understood the need for cards, but control weaknesses created a risk that unsuitable individuals could work with children. Procedures for managing working with children checks were not always followed, she said. The Auditor General tabled the Working with Children Checks – Managing Compliance report in WA Parliament on Wednesday last week. A department spokesperson said the WA health system’s policy, procedures and practices would be reviewed, with the OAG recommendations and findings informing this review.


NSW Government releases Guide to Child Safe Standards

The Sector reports that the Office of the Children’s Guardian in New South Wales has created and released a new guide, designed to support organisations, including those in early childhood education and care (ECEC) settings, to implement the Child Safe Standards recommended by the child abuse Royal Commission and endorsed by the NSW Government. A guide to the Child Safe Standards supports organisations to develop and put in place strategies to keep children safe, and is part of the development of an approach to putting the Child Safe Standards at the heart of work undertaken by the Office of the Children’s Guardian in overseeing and regulating organisations, NSW Children’s Guardian Janet Schorer said. The guide shows organisations how to implement each of the 10 Child Safe Standards, and will help organisations identify key risks to child safety and decide what action can be taken to better protect children.


Tehan invites submissions on education disability standards

The Sector reports that the Federal Government is calling for public submissions into a review of the Disability Standards for Education 2005, which play a key role in ensuring students with disability can access and participate in education without any barriers. “The standards help students with disability and their families know their rights and make clear the obligations of all education providers – from preschool and kindergarten through to vocational education providers and universities” Federal Minister for Education, Dan Tehan said. During the 2015 review of the Standards, stakeholders highlighted the need for support around practical implementation of the Standards, which led to the development of Exemplars of Practice which demonstrate how the Standards can be used to support better learning outcomes and educational experiences for students in early learning, schools, vocational education, and higher education settings. An extensive community consultation process will be held from 16 July to 25 September, providing an opportunity for the public to share experiences and ideas.


NSW seeks new vocational training options for school students

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that new pathways are being planned to lead students through courses that would combine vocational education and training with subjects taught at school and university. TAFE NSW managing director Steffen Faurby revealed the plan he is discussing with universities and businessman David Gonski who is conducting a government review into the state's vocational education and training sector. "For me it makes the world of sense to put a program in place where we make the pathway for students from high school in and out of vocational education and university as easy as possible," Mr Faurby said. News of the plan comes as NSW confirms it will match its proportional share of the Federal Government's $500 million commitment to a new "JobTrainer" scheme to run courses for thousands of workers to equip them with skills needed for the pandemic recovery. The federal plan forecasts the creation of 108,600 training places in NSW that could require about $160 million from the state government, subject to negotiation.


Kids want more fun in financial literacy – survey

The Educator reports that in Australia, there has been a push in recent years for schools to improve education in financial literacy – and with good reason. An OECD international student assessment report found around 20 per cent of 15-year-olds in Australia do not have basic financial literacy. As the world enters into what is likely to be a proacted economic downturn, boosting financial literacy programs for young people is more important than ever. However, the success of financial literacy programs depends on how engaged students are in this subject – and right now, it’s not very much. A new UK survey of 1,600 children has found that only a quarter (27 per cent) of children enjoy learning about money at school. According to the survey, the top three things that children believe would make learning about money more fun are jokes and funny stuff, games, and using “real” money in “real” situations.


Students head back to school amid coronavirus nerves

The Sydney Morning Herald reports that health authorities are confident hygiene and social distancing measures will reduce the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks in schools as NSW students return to class for term three. Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said the NSW Department of Education had "strong, COVID-safe practices". Dr Chant urged parents to maintain a safe physical distance when dropping off and picking up their children, and said while masks were a personal decision for families, children often did not use them properly, which could lead to further risk. While NSW Health research found transmission rates were low between school students, a major study from South Korea involving thousands of coronavirus cases found rates were as high as adults among those aged between 10 and 19. However, the director of the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance, Kristine Macartney, said the Korean study looked at transmission within households rather than at school.


SA teachers told to prepare for second wave of online learning

InDaily reports that public school teachers have been ordered to start planning in advance for a possible return to home schooling amid fears the resurgence of COVID-19 in Melbourne could make its way to South Australia. Education Minister John Gardner heralded the start of Term 3 by claiming there was “no better place to be in the world right now than South Australia”, due to the work of health officials to slow the spread of COVID-19. “We have led the nation in school attendance since last term, and we believe this has placed our students in an excellent position to succeed in their studies this year,” he said. “The return of school formals, socials, camps and excursions will certainly be welcomed by students, who earlier in the year may have feared these activities may not occur in 2020.” Exams are also scheduled to occur as planned, with the SACE board this morning confirming that written exams, which are worth up to 30 per cent of a Year 12 student’s final grade, would take place under normal arrangements in October and November.


Updated information on COVID-19 health directions and restrictions for ACT public schools

The ACT Government has announced that, on the advice of the Chief Health Officer, the ACT Government has paused its easing of restrictions and ACT schools will remain at Step 2.2 of the Easing of Restrictions Roadmap for Public Schools until health advice changes. Students across all years will continue with on-campus learning and schools should continue to support remote learning for students who are vulnerable to COVID-19. Under Stage 2.2 overnight excursions to Birrigai, interstate excursions and camps, parent-teacher interviews that bring large numbers of parents and teachers together, larger assemblies, gatherings and performances of more than 100 people, on-site discos and celebrations and face to face fundraising events involving adults are not allowed. Schools will continue to limit the number of adults on school grounds, however where scheduled events are planned (such as one on one parent-teacher interviews and small assemblies of less than 100 people) parents can attend the school.


Teens face assault charges as anti-Semitic bullying probe launched

The Herald Sun reports that six teens have been charged over allegedly attacking a classmate as Education Minister James Merlino launched an independent probe into anti-Semitic bullying. The Herald Sun understands that a boy, 14, was assaulted and robbed in a park in Hampton after being lured there in the middle of the night by a girl from school. But when he arrived, he was allegedly set upon by a group of teens, in early April. Six youths, aged between 14 and 16, have been charged with robbery and assault. The alleged attack followed claims the boy was subject to persistent bullying by students at a public high school in Melbourne’s south east over two years. The child’s parents wrote to Mr Merlino at the weekend after revelations of another matter where two brothers left the same school over anti-Semitic bullying, which included being subjected to chants of “Heil Hitler’’.



“I was hit so many times:” Child abuse rampant in Japanese sport, report reveals (Japan)

SBS’s Dateline reports that child athletes in Japan are suffering physical, sexual and verbal abuse when training, the Human Rights Watch has revealed in a report detailing the experience of young athletes from 50 sports in the country. The accounts of abuse by more than 800 former child athletes include being punched in the face, kicked, beaten with objects. These accounts, detailed in the 67-page report, shows that Japan’s history of corporal punishment in sport, known as taibastu in Japanese, is commonplace in sports throughout Japanese schools, federations and elite sports. The incidents, and the media reports that followed, led to widespread reforms in the 2010s, including a Declaration on the Elimination of Violence in Sports in 2013 and Comprehensive Guideline for Athletic Club Activities in 2018. The Human Rights Watch claims these initiatives fall short of the actions needed to protect children, which includes a national law to protest child athletes from abuse, rather than allowing sports organisations to design their own systems of response.


Called the N-word by teachers: Students describe racism at New Zealand schools (New Zealand)

Stuff reports that when @Ngati_Frybread posed a question on their Instagram meme page asking Māori and Pasifika to share their experiences of racism at school, the responses came thick and fast. @Ngati_Frybread, who doesn’t want their real name used, has started a petition calling on the Government to address systemic racism in education. The longstanding racial inequality in New Zealand’s education system is well-documented. UNICEF ranked New Zealand 33rd out of 38 countries in terms of educational equality and the Ministry of Education has said there is "consistent evidence that the education system has underserved Māori learners and whānau over an extended period". The petition has gained more than 4000 signatures in a week. The Ministry of Education did not comment on the specific demands of the petition but Secretary for Education Iona Holsted said “We all know racism exists in New Zealand, and many students experience it. This affects their emotional, social, and academic experience of school.”


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