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Further Advice on Implementation Timelines for New K–10 Syllabuses in English, Mathematics, Science (including K–6 Science and Technology) and History

The implementation for the new K–10 syllabuses was determined by the Board and agreed to by the sectors in 2012. Sectors agreed to an implementation approach that ensured that the introduction of the new syllabuses would be manageable and coordinated. Teachers would be provided with the time needed to ensure that preparation was in place for successful implementation.

The implementation schedule is to form the basis for curriculum planning in all schools. The requirements for non-government schools applying for registration in 2012, 2013 and in the year prior to the implementation of a syllabus are clarified in Official Notice BOS 37/11 Curriculum Requirements for NSW Schools in 2012 and 2013. A further Official Notice BOS 31/12 Registration Applications Due 31 March 2013 provided further specific advice.

Since the announcement, the Board has been asked for clarification on how the schedule applies to the specific circumstances of a number of schools.

The issues raised relate to the meaning of ‘optional’ and how the schedule applies where there are variations to a traditional year-by-year program for particular subjects or where composite classes have been formed.

In primary schools in 2014 all students will study courses based on the new English syllabus. Primary schools also have the option to introduce Mathematics and/or Science and Technology in 2014. It is at the discretion of the school how this occurs. Optional implementation allows schools to trial some aspects of the new syllabus; for example by the development and implementation of one or more new units of work. It provides flexibility for introduction to one or more year groups or a whole cohort. From 2016 with the mandatory implementation of K–6 History all primary schools will be expected to fully implement all of the new syllabuses.

For secondary schools it is important to note that the implementation schedule refers to years of schooling and not to stages. Students in Year 7 and Year 9 cohorts in 2014 will study courses based on the new syllabuses. Classes without Year 7 and Year 9 students (ie Year 8 and Year 10) will study courses based on the current syllabuses.

Where students from Years 7 and 8 or Years 9 and 10 occupy the same class and follow the same program, the presence of Year 7 or Year 9 students determines that all students in that class will follow the new syllabuses in 2014. If, however, two entirely different programs are delivered to the years within a composite class, the Year 8 and/or Year 10 students should continue with the current syllabuses in 2014.

Case studies

The following scenarios outline how implementation requirements are to be interpreted in a range of school situations.

School 1

The school offers 100 hours of History in Years 7 and 9, and 100 hours of Geography in Years 8 and 10.

All Years 7 and 9 students will undertake a course based on the new syllabus. They will not stop halfway through the 100 hours and revert to the old syllabus.

In relation to Geography there is no new syllabus; students continue to study programs based on the current syllabus.

School 2

The school offers 100 hours of History in Years 7 and 10, and 100 hours of Geography in Years 8 and 9.

All Year 7 students will undertake a course based on the new syllabus. They will not stop halfway through the 100 hours and revert to the old syllabus. The Year 10 group, however, will continue with the existing syllabus. In 2015 the Year 10 program will be based on the new syllabus.

In relation to Geography there is no new syllabus; students continue to study programs based on the current syllabus.

School 3

This small school has a single composite class and runs its timetable in Year A and B format.

In the case of K–6 this scenario relates only to English in a mandatory sense in 2014. An English program based on the new syllabuses would be introduced whether the school was in Year A or B. All other syllabuses can be managed within the flexibility that the implementation schedule allows.

For the secondary program the new syllabus should be used with Year 7 and Year 9 students. There may need to be some checking to see that this would not introduce duplication or gaps in the first year of implementation. This relatively uncommon approach would require consideration of the individual circumstances of the school. Schools in doubt should contact the Board.

School 4

The school would like to introduce the new syllabuses to all students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 in 2014.

There is no provision for optional implementation in secondary years. The Year 8 and Year 10 students will have a program based on the current syllabus in 2014. Implementation is for Years 7 and 9 only in 2014.

School 5

This primary school feels that they are ready to introduce the new History syllabus in 2014 and thinks that there are a number of benefits from integrating History with its English program.

The History syllabus is available for optional implementation in 2015 and mandatory implementation in 2016. Programs prior to this would be based on the outcomes of the Board’s K–6 HSIE syllabus.

Syllabuses, however, do not mandate pedagogy, and in the context of delivering HSIE a teacher may wish to put a new emphasis on aspects such as historical skills or to introduce new resources that will be suitable when the new syllabus is implemented.

School 6

This primary school has a teacher who is excited about the new Science and Technology syllabus and wants to introduce it in 2014 with Year 3. Other teachers plan to wait until 2015 to commence this syllabus.

Science and Technology is available for optional implementation in 2014. Schools therefore have flexibility to introduce some aspects of the syllabus, potentially introduce it with a particular year or years or decide to not introduce it at all until 2015.

If a principal can see the merit in a particular approach for the individual school, it is permissible, as long as it complies with the implementation schedule.

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