Curriculum needs to shift focus, say Catholic schools

Curriculum needs to shift focus, say Catholic schools

The review of the NSW curriculum needs to deliver a new vision to help the state’s young people confidently take their place in a constantly changing world, Catholic Schools NSW (CSNSW) said today.

CSNSW CEO, Dallas McInerney, said a new, longer-term vision for both curriculum design and content is needed to deliver more flexibility and autonomy for schools.

“The review must also examine the HSC’s objectives and the undue emphasis it often receives,” McInerney said.

“We must examine whether the current distinction between vocational and other subjects is apt.”

According to McInerney, curriculum design needs to be more flexible as the current approach is perceived to undermine the professional judgment and expertise of teachers.

“The curriculum, and potentially the structure of schooling, needs to adapt so that we can be more responsive to transformative change in the world and meet the needs of a new generation of learners,” he said.

“A more student-centred approach would shift the focus from the content to the student and support personalised learning, mapped on a scale that reflects each student’s progress rather than their age.”

McInerney said this would take into account the diversity of students’ prior learning achievements and life experiences, empowering them to explore their interests and passions, and take ownership of their learning

“Curriculum and assessment practices should be flexible, build on learners’ strengths, support academic and social capabilities and cater for each student’s learning needs,” he said.

“Teachers should be supported to differentiate the curriculum to meet the diverse learning needs of each student.”

McInerney said the curriculum must be integrated with other elements of the education ‘eco-system’ - pedagogy, assessment, credentialing, regulatory requirements and the structure of schooling.

“Assessment practices must be more flexible to be more relevant and accessible to all students, who should have the opportunity to demonstrate in multiple ways what they have learned and avoid the exclusive reliance placed on traditional approaches to assessment,” he said.

“The NSW Education Act needs to be reviewed to rearticulate the purposes of schooling in NSW, given the changes over the past 20 years and the need for a future orientation.”