Tasmanian government schools will adopt a four-term year from 2013. The news article can be found here.
“Education Minister Nick McKim said yesterday he had accepted the recommendations of an 18-member advisory group which found widespread support for the change.
However, the public-sector teachers union remains opposed.
Mr McKim said the change from the present three-term year could be made easily and with minimal cost.
“This gives us 18 months to make sure that we implement this change smoothly and in full consultation with all stakeholders,” he said.
“The group advised me there is compelling evidence that students experience learning loss over long summer holidays and that this issue could be partially addressed by moving to a four-term school year.
“I’m confident that in making the decision I have we are maximising the opportunity to deliver the best possible education outcomes to students in government schools.”
Non-government schools are expected to follow suit.
Changes will need to be negotiated to the award covering state school teachers, but otherwise the switch would cause minimal disruption, Mr McKim said.
“There is no increase in the number of school days from our current three-term school year and also no change in the number of holidays for teachers,” he said.
“I believe this will lead to a smoother implementation of the national curriculum. The reason for that is that the national curriculum is based on two semesters and there are two semesters in a year and, obviously, it will be easier to implement that national curriculum if we have a natural break in the middle of the year.”
The proposed term dates for 2013 will overlap but not match interstate school holidays.
Liberal education spokesman Michael Ferguson welcomed the announcement.
“I’m glad to see Mr McKim adopting the Liberal policy of going to four terms and now I call on the minister to adopt our other policies which include standing up for our regional education and schools that he previously said he wanted to shut down,” Mr Ferguson said.
“We also want to see a matching of the Liberals’ policy to take our high schools to year 12 as well.
“If he’s hoping that simply moving to four terms while slashing $190 million out of his education budget is going to result in improved education outcomes, he’s crazy.
“It’s just not going to happen.”
He said the decision to announce the change on the same day the Public Education Alliance was launched was cynical.
“Mr McKim has had this report for months and he’s chosen to release it on a day when he’s under the microscope for his failed education policies,” he said.
Launching the alliance yesterday, Australian Education Union state president Leanne Wright said teachers remained opposed to the four-term year but had bigger issues to deal with after the State Budget.
“The four-term year is an issue of concern to our members – but our members have much greater concerns at the moment in relation to proposed spending cuts in public education,” she said.
Tasmanian State School Parents and Friends president Jenny Grossmith said parents were in favour.
“I believe that at this point of time parents will end up concentrating more on the budgetary cuts that are affecting their school,” she said.
The school terms for 2013 would be:
- February 4 to April 19.
- May 6 to July 5
- July 22 to September 27
- October 14 to December 19″
So finally Tasmania is coming into line with the mainland. Private schools are expected to follow but this has not been confirmed yet.
The holidays are planned to overlap with mainland school holidays but not be exactly the same periods.
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