Concerns ACARA Prep-Year 10 review not doing enough to declutter curriculum

1 March, 2021

Queensland’s representatives on ACARA’s Prep-Year 10 Australian Curriculum Review have raised significant concerns to the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA), based on revised drafts of the curriculum.

The key concerns are:

  • An insufficient decluttering to reduce overcrowding in the curriculum;
  • An extension of the scope and scale of the review beyond the terms of reference by proposing greater than expected changes;
  • The absence of an overarching framework and alignment; and
  • Associated issues with abridged consultation processes.

The QCAA is in charge of the Queensland response to the review which feeds into the national review and is providing regular updates on its overall progress.

IEU and the Queensland Teachers’ Union (QTU) representatives continue to advocate on behalf of all Queensland teachers through QCAA’s state-based Learning-Area Reference Groups (LARGS).

IEU-QNT Branch Secretary Terry Burke said these were significant concerns for Queensland teachers and, by extension, those in the Northern Territory as both jurisdictions have adopted the Australian Curriculum without modification.

“Other states and territories, like Victoria, modify the curriculum to a ‘Victorian version’, so they don’t feel the full-extent of how content heavy the curriculum is.

“Refining and reducing the amount of content in the curriculum is a key aim of the review and is a priority within its Terms of Reference, so this is a crucial outcome for teachers who repeatedly express their frustration over the cluttered curriculum.

“Our union representatives continue to stress the importance and necessity of alleviating workload pressures in the LARGS,” Mr Burke said.

What is the review?

Last year the Education Council sought a review of the Foundation (Prep)-Year 10 Australian Curriculum, with a special focus on Mathematics and Technologies, alongside conceptual work in Science.

It aims to be completed by the end of 2021, with a final report in early 2022.

The review’s aim is to “improve the F-10 Australian Curriculum by refining, realigning and decluttering the content of the curriculum within its existing structure and underpinned by the education goals of the Alice Springs (Mparntwe) Education Declaration (2019).”

Specifically, the review is supposed to:

  • Refine and reduce the amount of content across all eight learning areas of the curriculum, with a priority on the primary years, to focus on essential content or core concepts.
  • Improve the quality of content descriptions and achievement standards by removing ambiguity and unnecessary duplication and ensuring consistency and clarity of language and cognitive demand.
  • Rationalise and improve content elaborations, ensuring they are fit for purpose and they suggest to teachers the most authentic ways to treat general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities when teaching the learning area content.
  • Improve the digital presentation of the curriculum in line with agreed content changes and user experience requirements.

Our union will continue to provide updates to members of the progress of the review, and advocate on behalf of members to ensure the any changes reflect the needs and professional judgements of practicing teachers.

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