Proposed Changes to NSW HSC and Syllabus In 2019

I had done way too much over time (not paid) for my day job recently and late to the party to this issue. There had been a lot of different articles on this topic, I am just going to use one as a reference which is Sweeping changes to HSC and syllabus proposed by government review from smh.com.au

I will quote a few lines to summarize the article to give you an idea of what has been proposed.

The biggest rethink of the curriculum in 30 years also suggests paring back primary school content to focus on literacy, numeracy and emotional development, more minimum standards, and a restructure of the syllabus around attainment levels rather than year levels.

In early years, literacy, numeracy and social and emotional development should be “prioritised over other areas of the curriculum and resourced to ensure every student is on track in their learning,” the report said.

Students in the middle years of school should study and meet minimum standards in a
“specified range of subjects” that would include knowledge of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures. They should also study a language other than English in primary school.

The primary and secondary curriculum should be restructured around so-called ‘attainment levels’, which would create a series of benchmarks against which students’ long-term progress could be measured, independent of their age or year.

smh.com.au

Let me use my take, this is simplification and refocus of the current syllabus of both primary and secondary level. I will throw in my opinion based on my own experience of the NSW education system.

First, at the primary level, I think a pretty good job has been done on the literacy side of things. There is a lot of focus from the school put in on the literacy in my kid’s school and similar feedback I get from the other parents in other schools as well. I cannot say the same for the numeracy side of things, there are too many comprehension types of questions and not enough basic skills imparted. Math often turns into a difficult subject for many kids were at the primary level this should not be the case.

Also personally I believe by far the majority of the responsibility for the social and emotional development rests with the parents.

Secondly, at the secondary level, there are definitely too many subjects not enough required basic skills imparted. Up to high school, we should be concentrating on teaching young people the fundamentals like math, computer skills etc.

Take math as an example I meet numerous of people at work that after graduating high school who does not know how to calculate GST portion if something sells for ten dollars. Simple things like that may seem trivial and none important, but can actually make a lot of difference in kind of work people do and how efficient they are done.

Lastly, we need to teach kids how to think and judge things on their own. On subjects such as History, we need to teach the kids why things happen the way they do. Judge and consider things scientifically and objectively.

One thing I noted in the current society of the echoing chamber of the internet, just about everybody just searches and read on the things they like and agrees with which is understandable. However, this merely amplifies one’s existing position rather than understand and learn about another side of the argument. Primary and early secondary schools are rare opportunities that we can shape and influence the kids before they get dump into the deep end of the internet.

This is not just for schools, but mostly for the parents as well, we need to pitch in and do our part if we wish for a better education for our kids.

If you have any further questions please feel free to contact me at the About Us page or leave a comment.

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Hallett Cove East Primary School

This is the school zone map for Hallett Cove East Primary School in South Australia. You can search for a particular school or address in the search box in the top right-hand corner of the embedded map or zoom into an area of interest on the map.

Please note there are a number of different ways the term school zone is referred, they can be also called school catchment, intake areas etc. Some of the schools have defined school zone, while the others are based on the closest distance between the student’s resident to the nearest school.

For the final confirmation please contact the school in question and you can find the Full South Australian Primary School Zone Map by following this link.

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School Parenting Experience Entry #3 (First Term School Holiday Summary)

Now that school holiday is over, I think it is time to go over what happened during that. My wife had met the teacher and brought home a stack of holiday work. We got stacks of home reading book enough for two weeks. There are also items such as number sheet, letter and word pronunciation sheet. New sight word as well, this time is blue word. I also got the task of practicing writing A to Z as well.

I made good progress with the blue sight word before the holiday, so started on green words with him as well. He is doing well with this set and he got all done already as well before the break finished. I started on the red words as well, this set feels more difficult to me and probably will take a while to for him to get it down pat. What I found useful in learning sight words is reading books with the particular words in them, this seems to help a lot.

I made reasonable progress with the rest of tasks, I have been trying to at least get 15 to 30 minutes each day going over the items described earlier. His writing is still pretty weak, he can write them, but not too pretty to look at. In comparison my daughter at same age already writes decently, I guess I still have a lot of catching up to do. Wife is planning to start the son on piano next week, I am sure how well he takes it.

School Parenting Experience Entry #2 (First Term Summary)

I regret that I had not through about document this experience earlier. However that being said, better later than never I guess. First term for the first few weeks, I basically tried to teach my son how to read and pronounce letters and do the daily book reading. I was and still do the daily book reading for my son every day, he enjoys them greatly.

He got handed his first set of sight words which is called Golden Words. This is a set of twelve words together consist twenty five percent of total English words used. I had a lot of trouble help him through this set of words. Pretty sure it took me about four or five weeks before he remembered them. The second set got twenty words in them, despite more words this set was much easier for me. This set took my son about three weeks to pass the test. The third set was called blue words and consisted of only ten words. This took me about one week to teach my son, however he had not got a chance to get it tested with his teacher. So with the onset of school holiday, I have started teaching his Green words which is a set of twenty words. This set feels harder for me and may took me a while and I will try to get it learnt before school starts back up again. For comparison most of kids in his class are already towards end of twelve word set before the conclusion of first school term.

Also every week students in the class will have their turn to present an item called news week. This could be their favorite lullabies, what festival they celebrate etc. There are also other activities like Easter Parade etc as well which is fun for both students and parents to attend. There are also weekly assembly meeting which students gets present awards they have received, I have attended a few, these are pretty good as well. Often they will have various of performance such as music bands etc as well. My wife and I usual taking turning attending the events where possible, both of us work full time so it is about the best compromise that we could make.

School Parenting Experience Entry #1 (Introduction)

I have two school age children currently enrolled in one of the public school in Upper North Shore Sydney area. The elder one is in year 2 and young one just started Kindergarten. My wife handled most of after school parenting relating to the education aspect for my eldest children. With my youngest who is a boy entered into Kindergarten, I have been handling his after school educations.

I think what I will do is blog about what I have done and progress every few days or whenever there is important events happening. This entry will be an introduction and just going over the background.

First it is very common in the North Shore area for the parents to hold back their children one year to enter the school even if they already met the entrance age requirement. My son’s birth is close to the to middle of the year and we did not choose to delay the schooling, he is by far the youngest in his whole class.

My children’s experience with Kindergarten is that school concentrate on their reading, writing and oral, primarily English skills. There are also many other activities, like painting, computer class etc. There are usually English for second language (ESL) teachers in Sydney public schools that after assessment when entering school, he or she maybe placed into additional ESL classes to reinforce their English skills. My son is doing two one hour ESL class each week.

With Kindergarten the pattern goes learning the sight words, starting from Golden to Lemon words, in total twelve sets. This is accompanying by incrementally more complex daily book reading. What I will do is to try and keep a sort of progress report on this. I am sure I am missing some stuff, but the details should improve once I start with better record keeping.