Mark McGowan

Mark McGowan

Minister for Education and Training; South West

    Back to basics as new K-10 syllabus unveiled

    12/12/2007 12:00 PM
     
    12/12/07

    A major new initiative to introduce higher standards and more rigorous course content in Years Kindergarten to 10 was unveiled by Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan today.

    Mr McGowan said the reintroduction of the Kindergarten to Year 10 syllabus at the beginning of the 2008 school year would mark the end of content-free and woolly objectives in education.

    “We want to assure parents that students are being provided with the highest standard of course content possible,” he said.

    “The fad of the 1990s to dispense with syllabus caused considerable anxiety among teachers, many of whom were left without any clear guidance about what to teach or how to assess students.

    “While the new syllabuses won’t be mandated, those who want the comfort of the syllabus and the range of resources that back it up, will be pleased to know they will have them at hand.”

    The Minister said the syllabuses were developed after extensive consultations with teachers, administrators and some of Australia’s finest academics.

    “In fact, more than 6,000 teachers and administrators, including practising early childhood, middle childhood and early adolescence teachers, were consulted as part of its development,” he said.

    Professor Gordon Stanley, who chaired a national panel of academics which reviewed and endorsed the K-10 syllabuses, said they placed Western Australian schools in an excellent position for the introduction of greater consistency in national curriculum.

    “These syllabuses have set a benchmark for other States, providing teachers with the flexibility and direction they need to give students the best learning experiences,” Professor Stanley said.

    “WA now has a curriculum framework and syllabuses with support materials of a quality and standard equal to international best practice.”

    Mr McGowan said the national panel had commended the WA syllabus for its inclusion of historical content as a sound basis for a greater emphasis on the teaching of history.

    “The panel also commended the explicit reference to play in the Early Childhood (K-3) syllabus as a means of supporting learning in the early years,” he said.

    The Minister said the reintroduction of the K-10 syllabus was one of a number of initiatives unveiled this year to ease teachers’ workloads and improve standards in WA schools.

    Other initiatives included:
    • directing schools to devote 50 per cent of teaching time on literacy and numeracy;
    • establishing randomly selected ‘teacher juries’ to review 50 new courses being introduced into senior school;
    • allowing teachers to assess students’ work using traditional percentage marks and grades (not levels and bands);
    • introducing compulsory exams for the majority of Year 11 and 12 students;
    • introducing more rigorous course content, including suggested text lists for English and Literature and compulsory Australian history in the modern history course; and
    • offering a pay deal to teachers - the biggest in the State’s history - that recognises those teachers who are in the most difficult and remote locations.

    The syllabuses and resources could be accessed by public school teachers online at portal.det.wa.edu.au. The syllabuses could also be accessed at http://k10syllabus.curriculum.wa.edu.au/project_home_view

    Mr McGowan said the Government would also be making the syllabus available to WA private schools.

    Minister's office - 9222 9111