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Weekly Wrap: November 23, 2023

23/11/23
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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 Ideagen CompliSpace.

 

Australia

The Best Educators 2023 Hot List Revealed

In partnership with the Positive Education Schools Association (PESA), the Educator's Hot List 2023 has been released, recognising outstanding educators across Australia. The Educator received thousands of nominations, and their selection process was based on the overall impact of the nominees’ work in the K-12 sector over the past year. Fifty nominees stood out from the rest and were recognised for their hard work during unprecedented times.

 

Study Reveals Complexity of Bullying and Calls for Nuanced Prevention Strategies

According to The Educator, new research from Flinders University reveals that bullying is often misunderstood and oversimplified. The study included interviews with over 800 students, parents and teachers across three countries. The findings highlight the complexity of bullying, including the different types of bullying and the motivations behind it. The study also discusses the impact that terminology has on effective prevention strategies; educators and young people are often unable to recognise the difference between “bullying” and “peer aggression”. The article emphasises the need for a more nuanced and comprehensive approach to tackling bullying in schools, suggesting that teachers guide their class to be “bully adverse” from the start of the school year, as involving students in this issue helps to give them ownership.

 

Study Reveals COVID-19's Adverse Effects on Australian Students' Education

According to the Australian National University and its 10-year GENERATION study, the COVID-19 pandemic has taken a significant toll on young Australians' education. Investigating the experiences of over 18,000 Year 10 students from 300 high schools, more than half (52 per cent) of students reported that their learning was negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with a further 59 per cent expressing that they felt unprepared for the 2022 school year. Lead researcher at ANU, Professor Ben Edwards, reiterated the importance of helping those students who missed out to "catch up in the vital learning and opportunities they missed during the pandemic." The survey also covered other issues such as student aspirations, higher education, and extracurricular activities.

 

New Framework to Enhance Education Outcomes in Australia

The Medical Journal of Australia discusses the current state of education in Australia and proposes a new framework for improving student outcomes. The article addresses the persistent achievement gap between students from different backgrounds, as well as issues such as declining literacy rates and mental health concerns among students. It suggests adopting an approach that focuses on building strong foundations in early childhood education, enhancing teacher training and support, and creating more inclusive and supportive school environments.

 

Children Across Australia Ditch the Classroom to Protest Climate Change

Thousands of school students are expected to take a day off to attend a national climate change protest, according to News Au. Inspired by 20-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, the School Strike 4 Climate protests urge the government to take more action against climate change. The article discusses the controversy surrounding students skipping school to protest, with Education Departments in both NSW and Victoria stating that schools will not accept “downloadable sick notes”, deeming them “not a legitimate medical certificate.”

 

New Project Revolutionises Literacy and Numeracy Education for NSW Students with Disability

The Educator reports that the NSW Department of Education has developed the Assessment for Complex Learners (AfCL) project, aiming to transform literacy and numeracy education for students with disability. The AfCL introduces online tools to tailor learning approaches for students with complex needs and support teachers with assessing, planning, reporting, and student transitions. It also provides a common language between parents, therapists and educators to understand student development and focus areas for progress. Nicole Rigele, project advisor, stated: "Teachers, school leaders, and Student Learning and Support Officers (SLSO) who participated in the trial provided consistent feedback that the tools are useful, save time, are relevant, easy to use, and support assessment, planning, reporting, and student transitions."

 

Victorian Government Faces Criticism Over Gender-Neutral Toilets in Schools

The Victorian Government is facing backlash for allegedly "threatening" parents who questioned the introduction of gender-neutral toilets in schools, The Educator states. A concerned parent initiated a petition upon discovering plans to combine the male and female restrooms into a unified facility. This has sparked a heated debate between the Government and some parents, with concerns raised about student safety and privacy. Senator Henderson made the following statement on the matter: “It is clear the concerns of many parents are not being heard, some of whom have now withdrawn their children from the school.”

 

Criticism Grows Over VCE Exam Handling in Victoria

A recent Herald Sun article reports that The Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority (VCAA) has faced criticism for its handling of this year's VCE exams, with eight errors being discovered thus far. Despite previous statements from outgoing CEO Stephen Gniel supporting an external audit, the VCAA has now announced that it will conduct an internal review in collaboration with the Department of Education. This decision has been deemed "unacceptable" by Opposition spokesperson for education Jess Wilson, who believes an independent review is necessary to uncover the root causes of these mistakes. In addition, students have formed a petition demanding transparency and accountability from the VCAA, with over 200 signatures in just two days. The delayed release of financial reports has also raised concerns about the agency's performance and leadership. The VCAA has stated that any necessary changes will be implemented before the 2024 VCE exams.

 

New Program Diversity in Construction through Career-Based Learning

The Understanding Building and Construction Program (UBCP) promotes diversity in the traditionally male-dominated construction industry. It provides targeted career-based learning for young women and gender diverse students. The ACT Government aims for 10 per cent female employment in the construction industry and sees UBCP as a way to achieve that goal. UBCP aligns with the Future of Education Strategy, bringing real-life learning into the classroom. Students have had positive experiences and are encouraged by the Government to take every opportunity, understand their worth, and pursue a career in this industry.

 

 

International

Study Shows Alarming Rates of Chronic Absenteeism Among US Students in 2021-22

A recent study by Attendance Works revealed that nearly 30 per cent of US students faced chronic absenteeism in the 2021-22 school year. High-poverty schools and big cities were particularly affected, with 69 per cent and 60 per cent experiencing chronic absenteeism, respectively. The study found that 5.3 million students in big cities, 5.1 million in suburbs, and 2.6 million in rural areas faced chronic absenteeism. This trend negatively impacts student achievement and poses a threat to post-pandemic recovery efforts, emphasising the need for comprehensive district responses to address chronic absenteeism and support educational success.

 

 

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