10 January 2014

The Abbott Government's announcement today that it will review the Australian curriculum is a cynical and bald-faced move to put politics in the classroom, and is calculated to distract from Tony Abbott's broken promises on education funding.

"This is nothing more than a distraction from broken election promises," Shadow Minister for Education Kate Ellis said today.

Ms Ellis said that education experts, not politicians, should decide what is taught in our schools.

"The independent Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority was set up with bi-partisan support because independent experts, not politicians, should set the curriculum," Ms Ellis said.

"Appointing a former Liberal adviser to review the curriculum is a really disappointing backward step."

The current national curriculum has been independently developed over five years, through consultation and trails, and it has been agreed to by the states and territories - Liberal and Labor. In contrast, the Government has appointed just two people to review the entire curriculum and its implementation by the middle of this year.

"The notion that two people can do, in less than six months, what it has taken academics and experts across the country more than five years, is a complete farce," Ms Ellis said.

"With the national curriculum starting in most schools this year, Christopher Pyne's criticisms of its outcomes are also grossly premature. It's a cheap shot, and a clear indication this review has nothing to do with improving results.

"If the Prime Minister was serious about lifting standards in our schools, he would keep the Government's promise to implement the Gonski funding model, and match Labor dollar-for-dollar over six years. It's the only practical way to make sure every child, in every school, can get the individual attention they need to achieve better results.

The Government has already cut $1.5 billion from the education budget, cancelled all future Trades Training Centres in schools, and promised 'no strings' funding deals that will allow States to slash their education budgets.