Public Consultation on Australian Curriculum Review Coming Soon

On 12 June 2020, education ministers agreed that it was timely to review the Foundation – Year 10 Australian Curriculum, which had been in place since 2015.

Preliminary consultations have informed the Terms of Reference for the Review and more information is on the Review page at the ACARA website.

On 29 April 2021, the public consultation period will open for the proposed revisions to:

  • the Foundation – Year 10 (F–10) Australian Curriculum, including for all the learning areas,
  • the general capabilities, and
  • the cross-curriculum priorities.

A consultation website will be available for interested stakeholders, including Christian schools, to review the proposed revisions to the curriculum and have their say via a survey format. The consultation window will be open until 8 July.

In a recent speech David de Carvalho, ACARA CEO, outlined some of the thinking behind the approach being taken in the Review –

“Ministers have given ACARA the task of improving the Australian Curriculum by refining, updating and decluttering the curriculum to make it more helpful for teachers, which then makes it more accessible for students.

But what do we mean by decluttering? Obviously, it will entail some reduction in content, but that is not the only focus, and arguably not the main one. I’ve heard some stakeholders say that we should be “taking a chainsaw to the curriculum”, but chainsaws are not particularly subtle and can leave an awful mess behind.

I prefer to use the analogy of a hedge-trimmer and pruning secateurs, which not only cut back, but also tidy up, reshape and clear out old and redundant branches to make room for new growth or the grafting on of new elements.

Another way to describe what are hoping to achieve is that we want to give the Australian Curriculum the Marie Kondo treatment,so that –regardless of how much content is left in the curriculum at the end of the process–it is properly organised, logical in its presentation and sequence, coherent, clear and easily accessible. We are hoping that teachers will ‘find joy’ when they see the new curriculum, and are very interested in getting their feedback through the consultation process.

As part of the review, we want to clarify the relationship between the three dimensions of the curriculum; that is, the learning areas, the cross-curriculum priorities, and the general capabilities.

We need to be clear that learning areas have primacy of place in the curriculum and that the cross-curriculum priorities and general capabilities are best taught in the context of the learning areas, not separately.

Furthermore, not every cross-curriculum priority and general capability can be addressed in every learning area. Some learning areas are better suited to the development of particular general capabilities than others, and each of the three cross-curriculum priorities find more natural homes in certain learning areas.

Clearer expectations will give back time to teachers –so they don’t have to spend so much time planning and trying to interpret the curriculum to work out exactly what they are expected to teach. We want them to have more time to linger longer on topics, to make sure students understand what they are taught and are given the opportunity to deepen their understanding of core concepts.”

We are encouraging all Christian schools to start planning for how they may be involved in the consultation process.  This is a major review of one of the foundations of education in Australia and ensuring a Christian perspective is brought to the table will be vital.