Ipswich State High School head of science Dr Grant Darnell supervises his Year 10 students. The school has taken a progressive approach to the new national curriculum.
Ipswich State High School head of science Dr Grant Darnell supervises his Year 10 students. The school has taken a progressive approach to the new national curriculum. Claudia Baxter

Curriculum equals work overload

IPSWICH teachers are hitting the books to get their heads around the newly introduced national curriculum, with some spending 40 hours a week studying the syllabus.

While the national curriculum has been hailed as a much-needed change by Queensland Teachers Union and Department of Education and Training, the anticipated workload on teachers has exceeded expectations.

QTU president Kevin Bates said in extreme cases some teachers were spending several hours each afternoon and over weekends coming to grips with the new curriculum.

"There are people who are spending 12 to 13 hours on a weekend and four to five hours a day to keep pace with it," he said.

Mr Bates has called for a delay to the original plan of expanding the curriculum by three more subjects next year, while the lessons learnt from its first year are implemented.

"I think the introduction of any broad-sweeping changes will have its problems. The national curriculum has as many as most because we are talking about fundamental changes," he said.

"The national curriculum is a positive thing and teachers are certainly on board in that regard."

Ipswich State High School principal Simon Riley said the school had assigned a considerable amount of resources preparing teachers for the national curriculum's arrival.

He said changes within the classroom would be ongoing, but so would the students' development as each year of the curriculum passed.

"Last year was a pre-prep year in some ways and yes, we took advantage of that," he said.

"Some teachers will have had to do some extra reading, but they would be teachers who would have done that anyway.

"Change is about the only constant in education for the last 10 years. This is simply another of those things."

Education Queensland deputy director-general Lyn McKenzie said the curriculum's expansion would go ahead as planned.

Ms McKenzie said all Queensland schools, state and non-state, were required to implement history in 2013.

"Teachers and students are adapting well to the introduction of a national curriculum which will improve consistency and continuity among states and territories," she said.

"The department appreciates some teachers may require assistance integrating the national curriculum into classes."



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