Curriculum under review

STEM: The curriculum review will include a greater focus on the basics including English, maths and the sciences.
STEM: The curriculum review will include a greater focus on the basics including English, maths and the sciences.

The first comprehensive review of the entire school curriculum since 1989 was announced by the NSW Government earlier this year.

“The world has changed rapidly since the last comprehensive review in 1989 and we must ensure the curriculum is as strong as it can be,” Premier Ms Berejiklian said.

“We want to ensure our students have every opportunity with the skills needed for the jobs of the future. This includes a greater focus on the basics including English, maths and the sciences."

Education Minister Rob Stokes said the review would implement findings of David Gonski’s latest report into Australian school education. 

“This is a once in a generation chance to examine, declutter, and improve the NSW curriculum to make it simpler to understand and to teach, he said”

The curriculum review also supports the premise that while the goals and values of education remain eternal, the methods of achieving these outcomes have dramatically changed, particularly with the development of information technology over the past 30 years.

Another core component will be ensuring that Australian perspectives are included throughout the curriculum. This will include maintaining a strong emphasis on Australian literature, scientific discoveries and key events that have shaped our history.

“For Australia to continue to mature, we must first have pride in what has made us great,” Mr Stokes said.

Earlier in the year an overhaul of the Personal Development, Health and Physical Education (PDHPE) syllabus from Kindergarten to Year 10 was also announced.

The aim is, from next year, students will be helped to handle the complex and often convoluted questions of modern life.

“The world is unrecognisable compared to just fifteen years ago. Almost unbelievably, students are being taught from a text drafted before social media or smart phones were invented,” Mr Stokes said.

The new syllabus will tackle contemporary issues plaguing students such has how to behave responsibly, safely and sensibly online, along with measures on how to report cyberbullying.

“Bullying is an abhorrent form of abuse that should not be tolerated in any form, including online.” Mr Stokes said.

One of the most significant changes is a greater emphasis being placed on mental health. The new syllabus educates students on how to spot the early warning signs for stress and depression, along with information on how to seek out help.

Key changes for older students also include lessons on how to get students ‘life ready’, with content available on how to write a résumé, properly reply to a job advertisement and practice interview techniques.