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New Australian Curriculum Update - Information for Parents

Tuesday, 25 October 2011
PhotographThis update provides an overview of the design and development of the Australian Curriculum.

Further information is available at and

LATEST ACARA UPDATE HERE (as at 25 October 2011): Scroll to bottom.

The Australian Curriculum:

  • sets what all students are to be taught (content) and the quality of learning expected by years or bands of schooling (achievement standards)
  • affirms the central importance of discipline-based knowledge and skills as well as general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities

The Australian Curriculum aims to:

  • help to ensure all young Australians are equipped with the skills, knowledge and capabilities that provide a foundation for successful and lifelong learning and participation in the Australian community
  • make clear to teachers what is to be taught across the years of schooling
  • make clear to students what they should learn and the quality of the learning expected of them

Catering for the Diversity of Students:

  • There is flexibility for teachers to shape classroom programs to take into account:
  • the different rates at which students develop
  • the diverse range of learning needs in the class
  • Schools and teachers will continue to apply their professional judgment about how to best reflect local and regional circumstances, educational philosophies and learning environments
  • The Australian Curriculum is based on the assumptions that each student can learn and the needs of every student are important. It enables high expectations to be set for each student as teachers account for the current levels of learning of individual students and the different rates at which students develop.

The Shape of the Curriculum:

There are three core areas of the Australian Curriculum:
  • Learning areas (content descriptions and achievement standards)
  • General capabilities
  • Cross-curriculum priorities

What will Curriculum Content look like from Foundation (Kinder in NSW) to Year 10?

Rationale and aims
  • outline the purpose and structure of the learning area

Content descriptions

  • core knowledge, understandings and skills – what students will be taught
  • accompanied by content elaborations that illustrate and exemplify content

Achievement standards

  • describe the quality of learning typically expected of students
  • accompanied by work samples that illustrate and exemplify

General Capabilities:

The general capabilities in the Australian Curriculum are:
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Information and Communication Technology competence
  • Critical and creative thinking
  • Ethical behaviour
  • Personal and social competence
  • Intercultural understanding
The general capabilities are incorporated into learning area content in ways that are appropriate to each learning area

Cross-Curriculum Priorities:

Three cross-curriculum priorities:
  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
  • Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability
The cross-curriculum priorities are embedded in all learning areas as appropriate
They are designed to support relevance and address contemporary issues

Assessment and Reporting:

  • The Australian Curriculum achievement standards provide a basis for assessment and reporting
  • ACARA is working with states and territories towards a nationally-consistent approach to reporting
  • States and territories will continue to determine assessment and reporting approaches until there is a nationally-consistent approach

The Australian Curriculum aims to deliver the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians and develop a world-class, 21st century Australian Curriculum for all young Australians, including those who may move across state and territory boundaries throughout their schooling years.

The Melbourne Decalration can be found here


For more information, visit: