As the Australian Greens spokesperson for Schools, I am very concerned submissions to the review are not being made public, as originally promised.
Given the high level of interest in the Abbott Government's announced review of the curriculum and concerns about the independence and qualifications of the selected review panel, I feel it is vital this review is conducted with as much transparency as possible.
Therefore, I am working with education groups to provide a guide to the review, with summaries of submissions that have been sent to me, so a more complete list of input to the inquiry is on the public record.
Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of New South Wales
• Acknowledges the time spent on developing and implementing the Australian curriculum and feels that this review is premature... Changes should be given a chance to become embedded and produce sincere results before a review occurs.
• Concerned review 'is a mere distraction from meaningful and useful discussions that would have a greater and more lasting impact on our education systems'.
• Acknowledges that education is a priority for governments however, this priority must not be politically motivated.
NSW Secondary Principals' Council
• Grave concerns regarding the objectivity and the composition of the panel appointed by Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne and the transparency of any review and its outcomes.
• A review of the Australian curriculum 'must be led by educational experts with in-depth knowledge and experience and be proficient, independent members, not those selected by a political party or government'.
• The proposed Australian Curriculum review is 'a real political interference with schools and teachers carrying out their work and delivering the Australian Curriculum to their students to enhance student learning outcomes'.
• Review is a blatant strategy to divert attention from the Government's failure to enact the Gonski recommendations and the full six years funding.
• 'It is insulting to our profession... to purport that the curriculum and teachers are the cause of any poor educational performance'.
English Teachers Association - Western Australia
· ETAWA's very strong preference is for no changes to be made at this time to the English, General Capabilities and Cross Curriculum Priorities elements of the Australian Curriculum.
· Condemns political nature of the inquiry: 'Any such review should be transparent, informed and independent, qualities absent from the current proposal... Precipitous ill-considered change, managed to a political schedule, militates against authentic improvement in teaching practice and threatens any potential student learning achievement. It is a destructive distraction from teaching and learning.'
· Timeline reveals a lack of understanding of teaching and learning processes and administration.
· Do not support the view that there is any significant bias in the curriculum, support the current structure of cross curriculum priorities and general capabilities.
· Rejects any attempt to impose an ideological position on the curriculum. Agues history curriculum is a 'good account of the kind of historical understanding and practice that young Australians should learn'.
· However, APPA suggest improvements could be made, including addressing curriculum overcrowding, inappropriate content and language for primary school students and complexity in the curriculum design and structure.
Christian Schools Australia
· Supports cross-curriculum priorities, but would add a fourth emphasising 'Australia's Western heritage and JudeoChristian influences'.