18 January 2014

The Abbott Government's cynical curriculum review has been further undermined today with the head of the independent New South Wales Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BoSTES) dismissing any changes to the curriculum next year as neither possible nor appropriate.

BoSTES President, Tom Alegounarias, has emphasised that it took three years for the current national curriculum to be incorporated into the NSW syllabus. He has also underscored the importance of thorough and measured consultation, and defended the current national curriculum "we have consensus among stakeholders that the syllabuses are positive."

This comes just days after more than 100 education experts - Doctors and Professors - were also forced to defend the independence and strength of our national curriculum in an open letter imploring the Government to abandon this ill-timed and unnecessary review.

"With the national curriculum being taught in most classrooms for the first time this year, the timing of the Government's review betrays it's shallow political motives," Shadow Minister for Education, Kate Ellis, said.

"Education experts have been lining up to criticise this cynical political process - a review of something which hasn't even started yet."

Kate Ellis said the Abbott Government seemed intent on trashing the well established processes and structures that ensure independent experts, not politicians, determine the details of what is taught in our classrooms: structures and processes which, until now, have enjoyed bi-partisan support.

"The Abbott Government has no respect for the independence of our curriculum, and no desire to consult genuinely. This is a completely irresponsible approach" Kate Ellis said.

"It took five years, experts from across the country and thousands of submissions to arrive at the current national curriculum. The notion that two people could replicate that work in less than six months is totally ridiculous."

Not only has the Abbott Government thrown school funding into disarray, it has pulled the rug out from under teachers who have been working hard to implement the new national curriculum this year.

"This review started out as a calculated distraction from the Government's broken promises on education funding, but it is now doing very real damage in the classroom by undermining teachers, Kate Ellis said.

"Tony Abbott and Christopher Pyne are out of their depth on education policy. They have demonstrated time-and-time-again a lack of understanding of how the States and the Commonwealth work together on education."

"With less than two weeks before students go back to school, the Abbott Government should instead honour its election commitment to match Labor's school tuning reforms dollar-for-dollar, so that every child can get the individual attention they need."

"Parents, teachers and students deserve so much better."