National Curriculum Review: Christopher Pyne Says 'Students And Teachers Are Swamped', Calls For Reform

Hale School students, Perth. Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images

Education Minister Christopher Pyne has supported the reforms outlined in the newly released national curriculum review, which says the current system is overcrowded and complicated, making it tough for teachers, students and parents to comprehend.

The final report by Queensland University professor Ken Wiltshire and education consultant Kevin Donnelly proposes 30 key recommendations for improving the national curriculum, including changes to individual school subjects.

Pyne says the federal government hopes to adopt the guidance put forward in the review but will need the assistance and cooperation of state and territory governments, when they meet in December, in order to implement changes.

“The review confirms what all education ministers are hearing from parents and teacher, that there’s simply too much to try to learn and students and teachers are swamped,” Pyne said.

“I think the states and territories will believe this [review] is a step forward in a positive direction,” he said.

“I would like to see most of it adopted… There is nothing in it that I can see that the states and territories would baulked because nothing is trying to drive a political agenda.”

He added that a strong national curriculum was the foundation stone for high-performing education systems worldwide.

The review identifies the need for a number of pivotal modifications to the current curriculum:

  • There should be fewer subjects, especially in primary school education
  • Gaps have been uncovered in the content of each subject
  • A failure to adequately cater to students with disabilities
  • Too complicated for parents to understand
  • Abandon cross-curriculum priorities of racial perspectives in every subject
  • The question of whether the overall curriculum was balanced
  • The current curriculum lacks a holistic vision

“Overcrowding means that teachers are finding it difficult to implement the Australian curriculum and cover all the content in each subject,” the Australian government said in response to the review.

“It also means that students are not necessarily getting the right amount of time devoted to the content in each subject that they really need.”

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