National Curriculum Review and inclusiveness

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Thursday, 16 October 2014 11:47am

Commentary by Anne McGrath, Education Manager, Media Access Australia

The education community has been anticipating the Australian Government’s newly released Review of the Australian Curriculum. The Review is well considered, comprehensive in nature and holds interest for all teachers, including those who work with students with disability and diverse learning needs.

Teacher pointing at mathematics questions on a projector screen in a classroom

The Australian Government established the Review to evaluate the development and implementation of the Australian Curriculum. These documents will now be considered by Education Ministers. The Australian Government has also released an Initial Australian Government Response to the Review documents, which highlights a number of key recommendations.

The Review states that “an area in which the Reviewers are convinced the Australian Curriculum is manifestly deficient is its inclusiveness and accommodation of the learning needs of students with disability”. This is a positive step forward and mention is made in the recommendations to address the issue.

However, there is a perhaps a more subtle point that has ramifications for access to curriculum resources for students with disability and diverse learning needs. The Review states that it has “not strayed into the area of specific classroom resources, believing that teachers are best placed to choose the most appropriate resources for their teaching and learning plans”. On reflection that would seem reasonable, but there is an important issue here that impacts greatly on access to the curriculum for many students. The established trend in schools of supporting curriculum delivery with the use of video and media resources does not always accommodate the need for captioned and/or audio described access for students with diverse learning needs. This is evident when examining the sources of online and downloadable content that schools are currently accessing – a large percentage of sources of content are inaccessible.

This is an issue that needs addressing with education content providers and highlighted to jurisdictions and education sectors, so they can be alert for accessible content to ensure access to the curriculum for all students.

Information for teachers regarding accessible content and where to find it is available in our Education section and also at CAP THAT!

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