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Frequently asked questions

Click on the links below for answers to the following questions.

Why is the Board of Studies developing new syllabuses for English, mathematics, science and history?

The Board of Studies began its syllabus development process following state and territory education Ministers endorsement of the Australian curriculum content descriptions for K–10 English, mathematics, science and history in December 2010.

Implementation of the Australian curriculum is the responsibility of states and territories. In NSW, curriculum is delivered via syllabuses approved by the Minister for Education. The Board of Studies NSW develops syllabuses for use by all NSW schools.

Will teachers have the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft syllabuses for K–10 English, mathematics, science and history?

Consultation will be conducted in Terms 2 and 3, 2011. Teachers and the wider community are encouraged to review the draft syllabuses and complete the online survey published on the Board of Studies website. Feedback can also be provided through participation in a consultation meeting in regional and metropolitan areas of NSW during Terms 2 and 3.

What does the Australian curriculum mean for NSW schools?

The Board of Studies has advised that NSW schools should continue to use the existing Board of Studies NSW K–12 syllabuses in 2011.

Once the Australian curriculum for a learning area is approved by the NSW Minister for Education and Training the Board of Studies will commence its syllabus development process. The new syllabuses, while incorporating the Australian curriculum, will retain many of the features that are familiar to and appreciated by NSW teachers.

The Board of Studies will provide notification and information about changes to syllabuses as they are approved.

The Board’s syllabus development work will entail engagement with teachers and other key stakeholders. An implementation schedule will be developed in full consultation with NSW teacher and principal sectors across all sectors.

How will the Australian curriculum affect assessment and credentialling?

Credentialling, and related assessment requirements and processes, will remain the responsibility of states and territories, which in NSW means the Board of Studies.

Similarly, how the curriculum is taught and assessed (other than for a credential) remains the responsibility of each education sector. As such, models, approaches and practices to which schools are committed need not be affected by an Australian curriculum.

The School Certificate and the Higher School Certificate will continue to remain the responsibility of NSW and the Board of Studies.

What is happening to subjects not included in the initial curriculum development?

Phase 1 will involve the learning areas of English, mathematics, science and history. Phase 2 includes the development of curriculum for languages, geography and the arts. Further details about phase 3 subjects are to be determined. Any learning area not included in the Australian curriculum development will continue to be the responsibility of state and territory education authorities.

The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) has answers to many key questions on its website, including 'why have an Australian curriculum?', 'what does the Australian curriculum look like?' and 'what are the Australian curriculum development timelines?'

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