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Implementation Advice for New Geography K–10 Syllabus
The implementation for the new Geography K–10 Syllabus was determined by the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) and agreed to by the sectors in 2015. Sectors agreed to an implementation approach that ensured that the introduction of the new syllabus would be manageable. Teachers would be provided with the time needed to ensure that preparation was in place for successful implementation. The implementation schedule is to form the basis for curriculum planning in all schools. The following provides clarification on how the schedule applies to the specific circumstances of a number of schools.
The issues raised relate to the meaning of ‘optional’ and how the schedule applies where there are variations to a traditional year-by-year program for particular subjects or where composite classes have been formed.
In primary schools in 2016 all students will study courses based on the new History syllabus. Primary schools also have the option to introduce Geography in 2016. It is at the discretion of the school how this occurs. Optional implementation allows schools to trial some aspects of the new syllabus; for example by the development and implementation of one or more new units. It provides flexibility for introduction to one or more Year groups or a whole cohort. From 2017 with the mandatory implementation of K–6 Geography all primary schools will be expected to fully implement all of the new K–10 syllabuses.
For secondary schools it is important to note that the implementation schedule refers to Years of schooling and not to Stages. Students in Year 7 and Year 9 cohorts in 2017 will study courses based on the new syllabus. Classes without Year 7 and Year 9 students (ie Year 8 and Year 10) will study courses based on the current syllabuses.
Where students from Years 7 and 8 or Years 9 and 10 occupy the same class and follow the same program, the presence of Year 7 or Year 9 students determines that all students in that class will follow the new syllabus in 2017. If, however, two entirely different programs are delivered to the Years within a composite class, the Year 8 and/or Year 10 students should continue with the current syllabus in 2017.
NSW syllabuses do not mandate pedagogy, and in the context of delivering the new Geography K–10 syllabus a teacher may wish to put a new emphasis on aspects such as geographical skills or to introduce new resources that will be suitable when the syllabus is implemented.
The following scenarios outline how implementation requirements are to be interpreted in a range of school situations.
This primary school has a teacher who is excited about the new Geography syllabus and wants to introduce it in 2016 with Year 3. Other teachers plan to wait until 2017 to commence this syllabus.
Geography is available for optional implementation in 2016 in primary schools. Schools therefore have flexibility to introduce some aspects of the syllabus, potentially introduce it with a particular Year or Years or decide to not introduce it at all until 2017.
If a Principal can see the merit in a particular approach for the individual school, it is permissible, as long as it complies with the implementation schedule.
The school offers 100 hours of Geography in Years 7 and 9, and 100 hours of History in Years 8 and 10. All Years 7 and 9 students will undertake a course based on the new syllabus. They will not stop halfway through the 100 hours and revert to the old syllabus.
The school offers 100 hours of Geography in Years 7 and 10, and 100 hours of History in Years 8 and 9.
All Year 7 students will undertake a course based on the new syllabus. They will not stop halfway through the 100 hours and revert to the old syllabus. The Year 10 group, however, will continue with the existing syllabus. In 2018 the Year 10 program will be based on the new syllabus.
The school would like to introduce the new syllabus to all students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 in 2017.
There is no provision for optional implementation in secondary years. The Year 8 and Year 10 students will have a program based on the current syllabus in 2017. Implementation of the new syllabus is for Years 7 and 9 only in 2017.
This small school has a single composite class and runs its timetable in Year A and B format.
In 2017 a Geography program based on the new syllabus would be introduced whether the school was in Year A or B. All other syllabuses can be managed within the flexibility that the implementation schedule allows.
For the secondary program the new syllabus should be used with Year 7 and Year 9 students. There may need to be some checking to see that this would not introduce duplication or gaps in the first year of implementation. This relatively uncommon approach would require consideration of the individual circumstances of the school. Schools in doubt should contact NESA.