The Curriculum Discourse in
Australia in 2007 and Beyond:
The Future of Schooling in Australia Report
Curriculum Corporation 14th Annual Conference, Sydney Hilton Hotel
12-13 November 2007
Professor Peter Dawkins, Secretary, Department of Education and Early
Childhood Development
The Future of Schooling in Australia Report
• What has changed or become
clearer since the Adelaide
Declaration?
• A broad framework for
designing curriculum
• Towards a national
curriculum
• Enhancing assessment and
reporting
• Other matters
What has changed or become clearer since
the Adelaide Declaration?
• Global environment
–
–
–
–
9/11
Global warming
Information revolution
the rise of China and India
• Research evidence
– the economic impact of school education
– the social impact of school education
Dealing with these challenges of the 21 Century
 Education is crucial for future economic prosperity.
Economic
and technological
 Young people
need the right skills to operate in an
information-rich world.

Education is critical to both understand & address
Environmental
emerging environmental challenges.

Education promotes social cohesion
Social/cultural/ethical
 Key driver for delivering equality of opportunity
 Spiritual, moral, cultural, & physical development
Curriculum: a solid foundation to
enable advanced learning
It is critical that every student achieves/develops:
A solid foundation in skills and knowledge on
which further learning and adult life can be built.
Deep knowledge and skills enabling advanced
learning, ability to create new ideas & translate
them into practical applications.
General capabilities that underpin flexible
thinking, a capacity to work with others, an
ability to move across subject disciplines
Curriculum offering for all students
“All students in Australian schools
should have access to a broad and
comprehensive curriculum that details
the knowledge, understandings, skills
and values to be achieved and provides
a basis for the attainment of high
standards of achievement”
Early Years
• Literacy and numeracy
• Social, emotional and
physical development
Middle and Later Years
• Increasing focus on disciplines within
science, social science and humanities
• Specialised areas of learning
• Problem solving,
synthesising, teamwork
and being able to move
across disciplines
Innovation & creativity
• Fundamental to individual & national
prosperity in a global market place
• Critical in developing responses to both
new and intransigent social challenges
Recognition that new ways of thinking are borne
out of deep knowledge & its application across
disciplines
Learning Areas
Key Disciplines
English
Maths & Science (incl. physics, chemistry and biology)
Languages
The Arts
Humanities & Social Science
• History; Geography; Economics
Learning Areas
Key Disciplines
Other important
areas of learning
English
Health & Physical Ed
Maths & Science (incl: physics,
Technology
Languages
Civics & Citizenship
The Arts
Business
chemistry and biology)
Humanities & Social Science
•History; Geography; Economics
Towards national curricula
“Collaboration between the
States, Territories and
Commonwealth… has put in
place a number of agreements
that provide a framework for
national curricula.”
Towards national curricula
Now a general will to take this
collaboration to the next stage:
– National dialogue
– Sharing best practice
– Using curriculum expertise
– Interest in comparing student
outcomes
– Assisting students who cross
state boundaries
– Economic efficiencies
Towards national curricula: the action plan
States and Territories commit to working
together in collaboration with Catholic and
Independent sectors to share high quality
curriculum material
Developing nationally consistent curricula that:
– Sets core standards and achievement standards
– Provides flexibility for jurisdictions and school sectors
– Establishes standards as a basis for national testing
– Broadens options for students
– Ensures achievement reported on same scale nationally
Assessment and Reporting
• diagnostic assessment is
most important
• parents and students need
reports on progress
• more sample assessment of
students
• school comparisons not
straightforward –value added
measures have promise
Action Plan for Assessment and Reporting
Testing to improve student performance
Working together to:
– improve school capacity to assess performance
– ensure quality national tests & explore sample tests
– share targeted intervention strategies in like schools
Reporting on performance
 reporting in clear language
 reporting at all benchmark levels in national tests
 fair, public reporting on school performance (‘value
added’)
Curriculum, assessment and reporting
- just part of the collaborative agenda
ALSO
• Quality of teaching & school
leadership
• Early childhood
• School retention/transitions
• Improving indigenous outcomes
• Partnerships with parents,
community, business
Future of Schooling : Next Steps
“We ask that State and Territory Ministers for Education
take the report to MCEETYA to seek endorsement and to
establish a process for the development of a new
Declaration on the Future of Schooling in Australia,
drawing on this report. This process should include the
Catholic and Independent school sectors”
Council for the Australian Federation , 25th September
2007
From collaborative federalism to a
discourse about 21st Century curriculum
The Future of Schooling in Australia
report establishes the platform for
further constructive debate about
the future of curriculum in Australia
Dealing with these challenges of the 21 Century
 Education is crucial for future economic prosperity.
Economic
and technological
 Young people
need the right skills to operate in an
information-rich world.

Education is critical to both understand & address
Environmental
emerging environmental challenges.

Education promotes social cohesion
Social/cultural/ethical
 Key driver for delivering equality of opportunity
 Spiritual, moral, cultural, & physical development
Curriculum: a solid foundation to
enable advanced learning
It is critical that every student achieves/develops:
A solid foundation in skills and knowledge on
which further learning and adult life can be built.
Deep knowledge and skills enabling advanced
learning, ability to create new ideas & translate
them into practical applications.
General capabilities that underpin flexible
thinking, a capacity to work with others, an
ability to move across subject disciplines
Learning from Overseas Success: Finland
Report takes note of the
success of curriculum reform
in Finland
– Moved to national standards
– Core content specification
– Flexibility for schools in
timing and methods
Other developments overseas: UK
The UK Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) is
developing a new national curriculum built around two
fundamental aims:
Aim 1: The school curriculum should aim to provide
opportunities for all pupils to learn and to achieve
Aim 2: The school curriculum should aim to promote pupils'
spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and
prepare all pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities
and experiences of life.
Other developments overseas: US
Six US states are
considering ways of
incorporating 21st
century skills into their
curricula:
•Maine
•Massachusetts
•North Carolina
•South Dakota
•West Virginia
•Wisconsin
Summary
• Collaborative federalism approach to curriculum, assessment
and reporting
• Commitment to high quality teaching and learning and the
sharing of best practice
• A process for developing a new Declaration to succeed the
Adelaide Declaration
• This provides an opportunity for a national dialogue about 21st
Century Curriculum building on the Future of Schooling Report
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