Acting federal Education Minister Stuart Robert has encouraged families to keep sharing their views on the draft new Australian Curriculum, which is undergoing a further round of de-cluttering and editing.

The country’s education ministers met last Friday (4 February) to consider the latest draft prepared by the The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), which was tasked in mid-2020 with overseeing the review.

The new Australian Curriculum – named “version 9.0” – was initially expected to be made available in early 2022, but the review process has been lengthy.

ACARA has been asked to have a new version ready for another review by Education Ministers in April.

Speaking to reporters in Melbourne on Friday, Mr Robert [pictured below] said he was “absolutely” confident the new national curriculum would be ready in time for next year.

“I’m very confident this can be done by April and approved by ministers in April and then to allow the curriculum to move forward from there,” he said.

The latest changes requested by governments

Mr Robert said while the latest draft presented to ministers was 21 percent “lighter” than the previous draft, “we’d like to see it still decluttered more”.

“The Commonwealth and Western Australia continue to have concerns regarding maths and the humanities and social sciences,” he explained.

“Mathematics in terms of the mastery of mathematics, and humanities and social sciences in terms of the volume of work that students are expected to get across,” he said.

The draft history curriculum, he told reporters, “remains very, very busy”.

“There are 69…learning areas within [history], compared to 50 or so in science, but of course, science has 30 more hours within to teach. So one of the concerns we’ve got is that it is still very, very busy.”

Mental health, consent to be included

All ministers agreed more work needed to be done to include mental health for young Australians in the revised health and physical education curriculum.

The need for education on consent was also supported by all ministers, Mr Robert said.

“Chanel Contos from Teach Us Consent was invited to come along and speak to all ministers about the need for consent to be included in the health and physical education curriculum…and there is wide and unanimous agreement from all jurisdictions.”

‘Mums and Dads’ encouraged to keep having their say

Parents were strongly encouraged to share their views on the curriculum review during an initial public consultation period that ran from April 29 – July 8, 2021.

Mr Robert stressed that the view of parents and carers still “really, really matters”.

“I’d encourage mums and dads to be involved in this, to be involved in the reviews, to have a say in terms of what they would like.

“I think that’s very healthy for us.”

Parents ‘rightly expect the very best’

Earlier, he said parents and carers “rightly expect the very, very best when it comes to curriculum, and they expect that we will give them the very best”.

“Many parents I speak to also look at the PISA results, which is international comparison, and over the last 20 years, of course, we in Australia have dropped from 11th to 29th in the world.

“A curriculum is a key part of how we arrest that. An enormous amount of work has been done with the curriculum.”

Read more

Read Acting federal Education minister Stuart Robert’s comments in full.

Find out more about the review process on the ACARA website.

Read some of our previous stories about the Australian Curriculum review here and here.