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Feds to review national schools curriculum

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Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has announced a review of national schools curriculum, saying it will address criticism that it is too rigid, prescriptive and overcrowded.

He has appointed two critics of Labor’s reforms – former teacher Kevin Donnelly and business professor Ken Wiltshire – to head the review, which he said would provide students with a more robust curriculum.

Pyne does not want to prejudge the review, but said there had been criticism of the national curriculum over a “lengthy period of time”.

“Criticism has ranged from it being overcrowded and heavily prescriptive and rigid, through to the necessity to have themes that form the national curriculum at the moment,” he told reporters in Adelaide on Friday.

Pyne questioned the need for the three current curriculum themes: Australia’s place in Asia, indigenous Australia and sustainability.

“Now there is some question about whether those themes fit with maths and science for example,” he said.

Wiltshire once dismissed Kevin Rudd’s self-described education revolution as “about six dot points in search of a rationale”.

He chaired the review of the Queensland school curriculum under the Goss Labor government.

Donnelly is director of Education Standards Institute and author of Australia’s Education Revolution: How Kevin Rudd Won and Lost the Education Wars.

He is a critic of Labor’s education reforms, including the Gonski review.

He was also a chief of staff to cabinet minister Kevin Andrews in 2004.

Donnelly taught for 18 years in government and non-government schools and was a branch president of the Victorian Secondary Teachers Association.

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