SEEKING INPUT: Professor Geoff Masters, chief executive officer and a member of the Board of the Australian Council for Educational Research, is leading the NSW curriculum review.
SEEKING INPUT: Professor Geoff Masters, chief executive officer and a member of the Board of the Australian Council for Educational Research, is leading the NSW curriculum review. Jasmine Minhas

School curriculum in for serious shake-up

THE first major review of the whole-school curriculum in almost 30 years is under way.

Leading the review for the NSW Education Standards Authority is Professor Geoff Masters, who visited Coffs Harbour on Monday to hear input from local teachers, principals and community members on how to best prepare young people for a changing future.

"The government has announced this review and considers it timely and appropriate that we have a look at the current curriculum and how well we're preparing young people for their futures,” Prof Masters said.

"What we're doing is we're focusing on the long term, the big picture. It's not about going in and fixing part of the existing syllabus, it's what should the curriculum look like? It's the big issues - are we trying to cover too much?

"Because society itself is changing, there's a question about what the community expects from schools,” he said.

"The current curriculum has been doing a good job but the world itself is changing, technology is changing the world in which we're living. Information is much more accessible now than it used to be.”

Prof Masters said one of the major issues consistent across the sites visited so far was teachers, particularly secondary teachers, feeling they were required to teach on too many topics.

"There are concerns about how crowded the curriculum is, how much schools are expected to deal with now.

"People are increasingly looking to schools to address issues which perhaps were once addressed within families or religious institutions.

"Teachers are having to cover a lot of different topics, deal with a lot of different issues, and that's detracting from their ability to really focus on core curriculum.”

The report will be completed by the end of next year but Prof Masters hopes the consultations and submissions will result in some directions beginning to emerge late this year.



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