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Karmel Report: Schools in Australia

Australia, 1972-1974

After the federal Labor government, led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam, won office in 1972 it moved quickly to implement its election promises for school reform.

The Interim Committee for the Australian Schools Commission was appointed in December 1972, to be chaired by Professor Peter Karmel. The Committee was to examine the position of government and non-government primary and secondary schools throughout Australia and make recommendations on their needs and on ways of meeting the needs.… Continue Reading »

Public and private in Australian schooling

Australia, 1788-2010

The words public and private have been used in attempts to describe the ownership, governance and purposes of Australian schools and education from close to the beginnings of British colonisation in 1788. They are concepts that had little meaning for Indigenous society before, and for some time after initial colonisation.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The meanings of these words shift over time.… Continue Reading »

Films with students, teachers and schooling

Australia, 1920-2010

Australian films have depicted schools, teachers and school students at least from the 1920s. The films listed here are not documentaries, nor are they the films usually produced by state education departments for school use.

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The representations of schools, teachers and students in these feature films derive from a range of sources that include the creative imaginations of the writers, directors and actors, among many others, who made them.… Continue Reading »

Adelaide school of social history: childhood, family and education

Australia, 1976-2000

From the mid-1970s through the 1990s, a group of historians came together in Adelaide, South Australia, to research and write new social histories of education, childhood and youth. The central figure was Ian Davey, a historian at the University of Adelaide based in its Education Department from 1976 to 1994. Many of these Adelaide scholars, though not all, had their doctorates supervised by him.… Continue Reading »

Picot Report/”Tomorrow’s Schools”

New Zealand, 1945-2013

A prescription for radical change

The Picot Report, 1988

In April 1988 Administering for Excellence, the report of a taskforce headed by Brian Picot, identified ‘serious weaknesses’ in New Zealand’s three-tiered 110 year-old education system that in its view justified replacement by an entirely new two-tiered structure. The Taskforce envisaged the replacement of the Department of Education by a Ministry of Education and the abolition of regional education boards.… Continue Reading »

Home Science at the University of Otago

New Zealand, 1911-1936

The belief that an academic education in home science would lead to the proper treatment of infants and children, better management of homes and improvements in the nation’s health motivated three philanthropists, John Studholme, Dr F.C. Batchelor and Dr Frederick Truby King in their efforts to establish a home science programme at the University of Otago.… Continue Reading »

State aid to non-government schools

Australia, 1788-2013

The provision of state aid (government financial assistance) to non-government (independent and Roman Catholic) schools has been a major source of debate in Australian education from late colonial times. For nearly a century a policy of providing no direct state aid to non-government schools was supported by Australian governments at all levels.… Continue Reading »

Teaching and pedagogy (2)

Australia, 1850-2010

From the 1850s there was a fundamental reform in school instruction, brought about by the introduction of classroom teaching. Even into the twenty-first century, the classroom is the most common departure point for a great range of educational activities that occur in schools.

This reform was supported by the introduction of systematic teacher training and education, especially for those employed in public schools.… Continue Reading »

Pupil Teachers to Junior Teachers

South Australia, 1873-1913

Pupil teachers were introduced into South Australia to remedy a growing shortage of teachers for government subsidised schools as the colony expanded during a period of increasing prosperity in the early 1870s. It needed to introduce its own teacher training system to ensure both future and immediate supply of teachers to meet the demand.… Continue Reading »

Public high schools, the foundations

Australia, 1870-1920

This form of post-elementary schooling was introduced from late in the nineteenth century in the Australian colonies and then states. Cities and towns in the United States and Scotland began introducing public high schools from earlier in the nineteenth century, but the Australian colonies held to the English tradition that church and private grammar schools and academies (see glossary) would be the main providers of post-elementary education through most of the nineteenth century.

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