Programme 2.3 Schools Support

In its national leadership role in school education, the Government funds a range of initiatives to improve outcomes for all Australian students. A number of these programmes support the Students First package of reforms.

Parliament and Civics Education Rebate

The Parliament and Civics Education Rebate programme helps students in Years 4 to 12 access on-site civics and citizenship education in Canberra at Parliament House; the Museum of Australian Democracy and the National Electoral Education Centre at Old Parliament House; the Australian War Memorial; and, where possible, other national civic institutions. The programme supports students in schools more than 150 kilometres from Canberra with rebates paid on a per student basis, from $20 per student for school groups travelling 150 kilometres up to $260 per student for school groups travelling more than 4000 kilometres to Canberra.

In 2013–14, $4.89 million was paid or committed to 1942 schools for 100,225 students.

Helping Children with Autism package

Positive Partnerships, part of the Helping Children with Autism package, supports professional development for teachers, school leaders and other school staff to build their understanding, skills and expertise in working with children with autism spectrum disorder. It also provides workshops and information sessions for parents and carers of school-age students with autism to assist them to work with their child’s teachers, school leaders and other staff. The professional development delivered through Positive Partnerships is accredited by the New South Wales Teachers Institute as well as 12 Australian universities. Parent workshops are open to any parents of school-age children with autism.

During 2013, Positive Partnerships professional development training was provided to 1021 teachers, school leaders and other school staff. Parent and carer training was provided to 1891 parents and carers across Australia. In addition, 11 webinars were delivered to 193 participants across Australia living in rural and remote locations.

National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program

On 19 June 2014, the High Court of Australia in its decision in Williams v the Commonwealth (No. 2) declared the National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Program invalid. As a result of the decision the Government no longer has the capacity to administer the programme.

Online Diagnostic Tools

The Online Diagnostic Tools programme was established in 2010 to provide online tools and resources to assess student learning, and support moving the National Assessment Program (NAP) sample assessments and NAP—Literacy and Numeracy ( NAPLAN) online. Funding for the programme concluded on 30 June 2014.

Achievements include the release of the online School Survey tool and the online delivery of the NAP—Civics and Citizenship ( NAP–CC) sample assessment during October and November 2013. Research has been undertaken into the benefits of online testing, as well as scoping work on the development of a national platform for delivering online assessment, with a view to using this capability for future national testing of the NAP and, potentially, classroom assessments.

Feature Story

Online Diagnostic Tools: Online delivery of National Assessment Programme—Civics and Citizenship in 2013

In April 2012, education ministers agreed that the NAP sample assessment would be delivered online. The first to be delivered online was NAP–CC in 2013. The Government provided $3.8 million in funding to the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority and Education Services Australia to deliver this project as part of the Online Diagnostic Tools programme.

The project involved three stages: a pilot study from September to November 2012, a trial in March 2013 and delivery of the final assessment from October to November 2013. The final assessment involved 680 schools across all sectors and states. Approximately 13,000 students from Years 6 and 10 participated in the main study.

NAP–CC was delivered online successfully in 2013. There was real-time reporting on participation in the assessment event and response data was quickly available for marking. Anecdotal reports suggested that students were engaged with the interactive presentation and preferred it to the printed format.

Learnings from the project will be used to inform work underway to deliver other national assessments online, including NAPLAN.

Teach Next

The Teach Next programme provides an employment-based pathway into teaching for skilled and experienced professionals who were seeking a career change into the profession. The programme will cease following the completion of all current participants by December 2014.

Teach for Australia9

The Teach for Australia programme was established to introduce employment-based pathways into the teaching profession and attract high-calibre graduates who may not have otherwise considered a teaching career. On completion of their two-year placement, participants are awarded a postgraduate qualification. Reflecting the Government’s commitment to ongoing support for Teach for Australia, a new contract for a further three intakes of participants was signed in June 2014.

9 Reported under Programme 2.6 in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio Budget Statements 2013–14.

Grants and Awards

Grants and Awards are used to support a number of initiatives. In 2013–14, $737,000 was provided to the Australian Council of State School Organisations and the Australian Parents’ Council to assist their work at the national level in supporting and promoting parental engagement in education.

National Trade Cadetship

The National Trade Cadetship programme aims to provide opportunities for students to undertake vocational learning and develop work readiness skills. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority has been tasked with the development of the two curriculum components. The development of the Year 9 and 10 curriculum known as ‘Work Studies’ was finalised in June 2014 for consideration by education ministers later in 2014. Development of the Year 11 and 12 curriculum is currently on hold pending the outcome of the work being undertaken to update the Vocational Education in Schools national framework.

Creative Young Stars

The Creative Young Stars programme made grants available for federal Members of Parliament to provide financial assistance for students and young people to participate in artistic, cultural, academic or community-based activities, events or training. Each electorate was allocated $23,500 per financial year to provide 23 grants of $500 for individuals and four grants of $3000 for groups, making 4050 grants per financial year.

The programme’s first and only round operated in 2013–14, with a total of 1461 applications and 962 successful applicants.

Rewards for School Improvement10

The Rewards for School Improvement programme aimed to encourage a nationally consistent approach to school self-evaluation and improvement planning through implementation of the National School Improvement Tool. The national tool was for voluntary use by schools and systems for the purpose of improving teaching and learning. The programme concluded on 30 June 2014.

10 Reported under Programme 2.13 in the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations Portfolio Budget Statements 2013–14.

Performance information

Table 9: Programme 2.3 Schools Support performance information

Parliament and Civics Education Rebate

Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of schools visiting Canberra under the Parliament and Civics Education Rebate 1,980 1,942a

Helping Children with Autism package

Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual

Number of teachers and other school staff attending professional development courses

590 1,021

Number of parents and carers attending workshops and information sessions

1,800 1,891

National School Chaplaincy and Student Welfare Programme

Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual

Number of schools receiving support for chaplaincy or student welfare services

3,527 3,511

Teach Next

Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of Teach Next participants commencing 0 0

Teach for Australia

Deliverables 2013—14 estimate 2013—14 actual
Number of Teach for Australia Associates commenced 50 50

a Number of schools paid or committed to by 30 June 2014. Final figure may vary slightly as schools acquit.  

Feature Story

Feature Story: Maths and Science Participation in 2013–14

The Maths and Science Participation programme aims to improve student learning outcomes in science and maths by invigorating the teaching and learning of science and maths in schools and encouraging more students to undertake science, technology, engineering, mathematics and related studies. Since 2007, more than 4000 partnerships have been created to link practising scientists, mathematicians and information and communications technology ( ICT) professionals with classroom teachers and their students, encouraging more students to undertake science, mathematics and ICT.

During 2013–14, the Mathematics Teachers’ Association of the Northern Territory conducted a successful maths enrichment camp in Central Australia attended by 67 students and 15 teachers. The association also conducted four after-school enrichment programmes in Alice Springs in 2013 and one in Darwin with some 120 students and 25 teachers participating.

Primary Connections: Linking Science with Literacy has produced 31 high-quality science curriculum units which are now freely available online to school teachers and students. Primary Connections was the top search term during the months of March and April 2013 on the Scootle website, indicating teachers’ strong interest in these resources.

Two secondary-aged Indigenous students from Ntaria School (Hermannsburg) participating in a robotics challenge as part of the 5th Annual Maths Enrichment Camp, held at Ti Tree School, Northern Territory, 9-11 August 2013.
Two secondary-aged Indigenous students from Ntaria School (Hermannsburg) participating in a robotics challenge as part of the 5th Annual Maths Enrichment Camp, held at Ti Tree School, Northern Territory, 9-11 August 2013.

Two high-profile events, the first hosted by the Governor-General at Government House and the second hosted by the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development at the John Monash Science School, were convened to discuss science, technology, engineering and mathematics ( STEM) education and to identify opportunities for future collaborations and initiatives. The forums brought together key stakeholders with an interest and expertise in STEM.

Australia’s most talented science and mathematics students were also supported to develop their skills and expertise and to participate in the annual international Olympiad competitions in biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and informatics support. In 2013, 23 of the 24 student participants were awarded a medal.