The Australian Curriculum Foundation to Year 12 will be a web-based publication – teachers will access it on-line here. The ACARA (Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority) website is www.acara.edu.au In September 2015 the Education Council, Council of Australian Governments, signed off the Australian curriculum- Health and Physical Education. There are currently two versions online; Version7.5 and the more recent version 8.1 Version 8.1 is the version amended after the Donnelly Wiltshire review which took place in 2014.
As with other learning areas in the Australian Curriculum, the HPE Curriculum, has followed a process based on a Curriculum Design Paper produced by ACARA. In developing the Australian Curriculum the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians was a key reference. The curriculum has been designed to meet the declaration goal that ‘All young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed citizens’.
Direction on the purpose, structure and organisation of the HPE Curriculum has been given through a shaping paper; the Shape of the Australian Curriculum- Health and Physical Education. There has been widespread consultation on the shaping paper and the Australian Curriculum –HPE.
The Australian Curriculum for all learning areas gives special attention to three Cross curriculum priorities –
For students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century they require knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions. These are called General Capabilities and there are seven of them that are acknowledged in every learning area-
The General capabilities will be identified in the content descriptions.
The structure of the curriculum is as follows:
There are 3 sub-strands under each strand;
Personal, social and community health (PSCH):
Movement and physical activity (MPA)
The content in the sub-strands is taught through areas of learning. For both strands these areas of learning are;
There are 2 elements to the organisation of the content: 1) the learner (student) and, 2) the knowledge, understanding and skills to be taught. The learner is represented in band descriptions. Band descriptions emphasise the interrelated nature of the two strands, give information about what is appropriate for that stage(s) of schooling and provide an overview of the health and movement content for the year level(s.) The HPE curriculum has six band levels;
For each band there are content descriptions. Content descriptions describe the knowledge, understanding and skills teachers are expected to teach and students are expected to learn. They have been organised under the six sub-strands.
There is a code for the content descriptions; ACPPS is for content descriptions in the Personal, Social and Community Health strand while ACPMP is for content descriptions in the Movement and Physical Activity strand. The content descriptions are numbered from 001 (in the Foundation/Prep year Health) to 107 (Movement on the 9 and 10 band).
The numbering is mostly consistent but because some content descriptions have been removed on the advice of the review there are some inconsistencies. To assist teachers to develop a common understanding of the content descriptions intent each content description will have a number of content elaborations which will have an annotation to a General Capability.
The states and territories are responsible for implementation of the curriculum. The Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) has developed advice, guidelines and resources incorporating the Australian Curriculum. For information on implementation and time allocation for learning areas go to the QCAA website.
A notional time allocation of 80 hours per year is used as a guide by writers they develop the Australian Curriculum: Health and Physical Education. It is important to note this notional time allocation for Health and Physical Education does not include extra-curricular school sport programs. Decisions regarding time allocation for each learning area remain a responsibility of the states and territories.
The QCAA in collaboration with state, independent and Catholic school sectors has developed advice about time allocations and entitlement as a starting point for decisions about timetabling.
Ongoing formative assessment is used to monitor student learning and to provide feedback to teachers to enhance their teaching. Summative assessment assists schools in reporting student achievement. Achievement Standards that outline what students understand and can do at the end of the band are given i.e., at the end of Foundation, Year 2, Year 4, Year 6, Year 8 and Year 10.
ACARA has stated that jurisdictions are to use current approaches to assessment and reporting. Information about approaches to assessment and reporting for the Australian Curriculum can be found on the QCAA website.
There is a relatively long history of PE specialist teachers being employed in Queensland primary schools. Decisions about the employment of PE specialist teachers are the responsibility of employing agencies such as The Department of Education and Training Queensland and Catholic Education Offices.
There is nothing within the draft Australian HPE Curriculum that would appear to preclude the use of PE specialist teachers to contribute to the delivery of this curriculum entitlement. Indeed, the organisation of the document into strands, one of which shares a focus with the existing responsibilities of many primary school PE specialist teachers may encourage the status quo in this regard as schools and curriculum leaders explore and devise implementation strategies for the new curriculum.