List of curriculum initiatives, programs and events

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The Arts

The Song Room

The Song Room is supported by the Australian Government to provide ARTS:LIVE, an online core arts education hub providing Australian Curriculum: Arts aligned resources for teachers from F-10 across the five arts forms; visual, dance, drama, music and media.

Australian Children’s Music Foundation

The Australian Children’s Music Foundation is supported by the Australian Government to provide instrumental lessons in juvenile justice centres and disadvantaged schools.

Music Count Us In

Music Australia is supported by the Australian Government to run the Music: Count Us In program, which aims to improve student learning in music by encouraging participation and engagement through an annual event at which more than half a million students, teachers and parents from over 2000 schools sing the same song, at the same time, on the same day.

The Song Makers

The Australian Performing Rights Association is supported by the Australian Government to run the Song Makers program which aims to improve children’s learning and social and emotional wellbeing outcomes through the creation of music, improvisation, arrangement and composition of original works. Secondary school students and teachers are provided with the opportunity to work intensively with prominent Australian songwriters and producers through an artists-in-residence program.

National Music Teachers Mentorship Program

The Sydney Youth Orchestra is supported by the Australian Government to run a National Music Teachers Mentorship Pilot Program for classroom teachers across Australia, utilising its well-established connections within the music and education sectors.

Civics and Citizenship

National Schools Constitutional Convention

The National Schools Constitutional Convention (NSCC) is an annual event, which brings senior secondary students (Years 11 and 12) to Canberra to discuss the Australian Constitution. It is supported by the Australian Government and promotes learning about the Australian Constitution and how it shapes our democracy and promotes understanding of our democratic heritage and traditions. The theme for the 2016 NSCC is Indigenous Australians and the Constitution.

Parliament and Civics Education Rebate (PACER)

PACER is supported by the Australian Government and provides a subsidy to the limit of the available funding for students from Years 4 to 12, travelling more than 150 kilometres, to visit the national capital as part of a civics and citizenship education excursion. Schools must visit Parliament House, Old Parliament House (Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House and/or the National Electoral Education Centre) and the Australian War Memorial and, where possible, participate in an education program at these institutions.

Guidelines and Application Form

History

National History Challenge

The National History Challenge is a national competition for Year 5-12 students, supported by the Australian Government. The Challenge encourages inquiry based learning and the use of primary and secondary sources. Students are invited to submit responses to a set topic in a range of formats: research essays, multimedia presentations, performances and museum displays. The theme for the 2016 Challenge is Triumph or Tradegy?

Simpson Prize

The Simpson Prize is a national competition for Year 9-10 students, which focuses on the Australian ANZAC tradition. It has been supported by the Australian Government. The competition honours John Simpson Kirkpatrick, "the man with the donkey" at Gallipoli. Students are asked to write an essay or prepare an audio-visual presentation on a given statement. The statement for the 2017 prize is The experience of Australian soldiers on the Western Front in 1916 has been largely overlooked in accounts of World War One. Students must use both selected Australian War Memorial sources and their own research. The eight winning students attend ANZAC Day commemorations at Gallipoli or an alternative suitable overseas venue.

Geography

The Australian Government is providing funding to the Royal Geographical Society of Queensland support Australia’s participation at the International Geography Olympiads and Geography’s Big Week Out.

Guidelines

Debating

The Australian Government is providing funding to the Australian Debating Federation to support Australian participation in the World Schools Debating Championships and related equity and development debating programs for schools and teachers.

Guidelines

Mathematics

Mathematics and Informatics Olympiads

The annual International Olympiads in Informatics and Mathematics, supported by the Australian Government, are demanding scholastic events that target senior secondary school students. The Australian Mathematics Trust arranges Australian students’ participation in the International Olympiads, implementing a series of extension programs and assessment procedures that lead to the selection of the Australian student representative teams.

Connect with Maths

The Connect with Maths Project aimed to provide Australian teachers of mathematics at all levels with access to a range of online networks and activities that support quality teaching of mathematics in the context of schools’ implementation of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics. The project was conducted by the Australian Association of Mathematics Teachers and was supported by the Australian Government.

Mathematics and Science Illustrations of Practice

The Australian Institute of Teaching and School Leadership ( AITSL) developed videos which illustrate the National Professional Standards for Teachers in mathematics and science classrooms and them made them available online. These examples of teaching practice occur in science laboratories and classrooms aimed to raise the standard of teaching and, consequently, student engagement in mathematics and science education. The IoPs are accessible here.

Science

Primary Connections – Linking Science with Literacy

Primary Connections – Linking Science with Literacy is led by the Australian Academy of Science and is supported by the Australian Government. Primary Connections consists of rich curriculum resources integrated with teacher professional learning that develop students’ interest in, and knowledge, skills and understanding of, science.

Further funding for this program was announced as part of the 2014-15 Budget. More information about the program is available in the Investing in better science education for Australian school students fact sheet.

Science by Doing

Science by Doing is led by the Australian Academy of Science and is supported by the Australian Government. Through development of high quality curriculum units and professional learning modules, the project aims to improve student learning outcomes in science within secondary schools. Science by Doing will increase student interest and engagement in learning about science and will improve the skills and confidence of secondary school teachers to teach science through inquiry.

Further funding for this program was announced as part of the 2014-15 Budget. More information about the program is available in the Investing in better science education for Australian school students fact sheet.

The National Innovation and Science Agenda – Inspiring all Australians in digital literacy and STEM

A variety of initiatives will be introduced to increase the participation of all school students and the wider community in STEM and improve their digital literacy under the Inspiring all Australians in digital literacy and STEM measure of the National Innovation and Science Agenda, announced on 7 December 2015. These initiatives include:

  • initiatives to inspire curiosity and develop science and maths knowledge in early childhood;
  • online computing challenges for Years 5 and 7 students nationally;
  • ICT summer schools for select students in Years 9 and 10; and
  • support for ICT and school leaders to drive digital literacy across their schools.

There will be a focus on tackling the digital divide by ensuring that students most at risk of falling behind in the digital age are given opportunities to participate and engage.

Funding for these initiatives will be provided over the next two to four years.

More information about the initiatives can be found on the Inspiring all Australians in digital literacy and STEM page.

Restoring the focus on STEM in schools initiatives

As part of its Industry Innovation and Competitiveness Agenda, the Australian Government has committed an extra $12 million to restore the focus on, and increase student uptake of, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in primary and secondary schools across the country. This Restoring the focus on STEM initiative builds on the $5 million allocated in the 2014-15 Budget for the Primary Connections and Science by Doing programms.

Restoring the Focus on STEM aims to increase the number of students studying STEM subjects in school and, ultimately, their engagement in STEM higher education and careers through providing:

  • $7.4 million to develop and implement Mathematics by Inquiry
  • $3.5 million towards Coding Across the Curriculum
  • $0.5 million towards establishing a P-TECH styled education facility
  • $0.6 million to extend national science and mathematics summer schools to include more girls, disadvantaged and Indigenous school students, including those from regional and remote areas.

Scientists and Mathematicians in Schools (SMiS)

Scientist and Mathematicians in Schools (SMiS) aims to stimulate and increase students’ interest and motivation in science, mathematics and ICT, through exposure to the breadth of real world science, mathematics and ICT. To this end, the program links practising scientists, mathematicians and ICT professionals with classroom teachers and their students. The SMiS program helps to broaden students’ awareness of the types and variety of careers related to science, mathematics and ICT.

Physics, Chemistry & Biology Olympiads

The annual International Olympiads in Physics, Chemistry and Biology, supported by the Australian Government, are demanding scholastic events that target senior secondary students. Australian Science Innovations arranges Australian students’ participation in the International Olympiads, implementing a series of extension programs and assessment procedures that lead to the selection of the Australian representative teams.

Australian School Science Information and Support for Teachers and Technicians (ASSIST)

Science ASSIST aims to provide advice and support for teachers of science and school laboratory technicians to ensure excellent teaching and stimulating, safe classroom activities and in particular, practical laboratory activities. The project is managed by the Australian Science Teachers Association and is supported by the Australian Government.

Languages

The Australian Government’s role in languages education is to provide national policy leadership and to encourage and facilitate innovation and the implementation of national priorities by States, Territories and non-government education providers.

Knowing the languages of our key regional partners will assist Australian children to succeed in an increasingly competitive world.

The Australian Government is working to revive the uptake of languages other than English in Australian schools and to highlight the cognitive benefits of early language engagement.

The Australian Government supports the teaching and learning of languages and the understanding of cultures. To this end, it is working with states and territories to ensure the Australian Curriculum: Languages meets community expectations in enabling all students in all schools who want to learn a language to learn it to the same high quality and to measureable achievement standards.

The department engaged the Asia Education Foundation to research ways to enable and encourage more senior secondary students to continue the study of a foreign language in Years 11 and 12. The 2014 Senior Secondary Languages Education Research Final Report is now available.

Early Learning Languages Australia

The Australian Government provided $9.8 million to trial the Early Learning Languages Australia (ELLA) program in 41 preschool services in 2015 to determine the effectiveness of children learning a language through applications (apps) without a proficient language teacher. A total of 35 apps, consisting of seven unique apps for each of the five languages, Arabic, Chinese, Indonesian, French and Japanese, were developed.

Due to the positive outcomes of the 2015 trial, the trial was extended in 2016, with nearly 300 preschool services using a “bring your own device” (BYOD) approach.

Following these successful trials, the Government has invested a further $5.9 million to make ELLA nationally available to preschools from 2017. Preschool services can choose one of seven languages: Arabic, Chinese (Mandarin), French, Indonesian, Japanese, and the newly added Italian and Spanish. In 2018, Hindi and Modern Greek will be added to the list of languages available.