As a parent, giving your child the best education possible is one of the most important actions you can do for their future. But something most parents don’t focus on is understanding the curriculum. The Australian curriculum consists of the framework all schools follow nationally and is governed by guidelines applicable to every student. Let’s look at what makes up the curriculum for Australian students in this post.
The Australian Curriculum
The Australian Curriculum outlines the core knowledge and skills students should learn in primary and secondary education. It was developed through a combination of teachers and education authorities to cover all key learning areas essential for a well-rounded education. From South Melbourne primary schools to high schools in Cairns, the curriculum is the backbone of the entire education system here in Australia.
Key Learning Areas
It consists of eight key learning areas, each providing a comprehensive education for students. English and Mathematics are core subjects in the curriculum, focusing on developing communication skills, numeracy and problem-solving abilities. Science is involved with the understanding of the natural and physical world, and Humanities and Social Sciences include subjects such as history, geography, civics and economics.
In addition to the core subject, students also study languages which focus on developing foreign language skills and cultural understanding. Arts are also included and encompass visual arts, music and drama, allowing students to express themselves creatively. Health and Physical Education focuses on sports, healthy habits, and personal well-being, while Technologies focuses on developing digital literacy and understanding various technological innovations.
Levels of the Curriculum
The Australian Curriculum is organised into levels corresponding to different stages of a student’s education. Here, we’ll take a closer look at each level, outlining the learning goals and outcomes for students in each stage.
Primary School Grade 1 – Grade 6
Grade 1 – 6 is focused on primary education and foundational skills that are usually developed in the earlier years. Typically students start basic but, by the end, will be expected to develop their literacy and numeracy skills in preparation for high school. While not a primary focus, they will also learn more about specialised topics in history, music and art.
High School Year 7 – Year 12
Year 7 – 10 usually focuses on developing knowledge and skills across various subjects in preparation for tertiary education. They will significantly deepen their understanding of English, mathematics, science, and humanities with a higher focus on developing critical thinking and research skills. The last two years will be focused on their final assessment, which will be on specialised topics of their choosing as they prepare for the next stage of their lives.
The Assessment System
The Australian curriculum has an assessment system that evaluates students’ progress and informs teachers, parents, and students about their learning achievements. The system is designed to ensure that all students are given equal opportunities to demonstrate their knowledge and skills and that teachers can identify areas for improvement and adjust their teaching accordingly.
One of the critical components of the assessment system is the NAPLAN test, short for the National Assessment Program of Literacy and Numeracy. This is taken by students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9 to assess literacy and numeracy skills. It also provides a snapshot of their abilities in these areas and is used to identify students who may require additional support or assistance.
In addition to NAPLAN, teachers use various assessment strategies to evaluate learning, including formative and summative assessments. Formative assessments are ongoing assessments that provide feedback to students and teachers about learning progress. In contrast, summative assessments are typically used at the end of a unit of work to determine how well students have achieved the learning goals.
Parent Teacher Interviews
To keep parents informed about their child’s progress, schools provide regular reports that outline the student’s strengths and areas for improvement. Parent-teacher conferences are also held regularly to discuss the students learning and to develop strategies to support their ongoing progress.
The Australian school curriculum is the backbone of your child’s education. It provides a comprehensive framework for their learning and, if executed successfully, will set them up for success in the future. If you understand the curriculum, it will help you support your child’s journey, so after learning this information, we encourage parents to get more involved.