Adoniou, Misty, et al: meaning of changes to national curriculum

Adoniou, Misty, Bill Louden & Glenn C. Savage

What will changes to the national curriculum mean for schools? experts respond‘, The Conversation, 23 September 2015

We have been following this issue closely, particularly in relation to the history curriculum, ever since then Education Minister Pyne trumpeted his intention two years ago to make large changes. At our most recent look, we suspected the outcome was becoming less and less significant and so it has proved. (Another comment from Kelsey Halbert.)

Only four of 30 recommendations from Donnelly-Wiltshire have been followed through. ‘Our Judeo-Christian heritage’ seems to have dropped off the agenda though history has been bundled in with ‘like’ subjects to address curriculum crowding. Adoniou says this ‘is what everybody had been doing anyway’.

So, all in all [Adoniou concludes after a quick survey], the curriculum review was much ado about nothing much – just an exercise where a newly incumbent government sprays a policy from a previous government so that it smells more like them.

Louden says the national curriculum will be in place in all Australian schools after 2016 though Savage points to ‘hybrid’ versions existing in jurisdictions and suggests this will remain the case. A long comment from Stephen Matthews confirms this interpretation. Larger, richer jurisdictions will plough their own furrow. Meanwhile, Commonwealth ministerial oversight will come from a different, possibly less ideologically-driven South Australian minister, Senator Simon Birmingham.

David Stephens

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