The Australian Curriculum sets out the core knowledge, understanding, skills and general capabilities important for all Australian students. It describes a learning entitlement of students as a foundation for their future learning, growth and active participation in the Australian community and makes clear what all young Australians should learn as they progress through schooling. It is the foundation for high quality teaching to meet the needs of all Australian students and acknowledges that the needs and interests of students will vary, and that schools and teachers will plan from the curriculum in ways that respond to those needs and interests. The Australian Curriculum sets out what all young people should be taught through the specification of curriculum content and the learning expected at points in their schooling through the specification of achievement standards.
The Melbourne Declaration in its educational goals for young Australians commits to supporting all young Australians to become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens, and promotes equity and excellence in education.
The general capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that, together with curriculum content in each learning area and the cross-curriculum priorities, will assist students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century. They complement the key learning outcomes of the Early Years Learning Framework (COAG 2009) – that children have a strong sense of identity and wellbeing, are connected with and contribute to their world, are confident and involved learners and effective communicators.
The Australian Curriculum has been written to equip young Australians with the skills, knowledge and understanding that will enable them to engage effectively with and prosper in a globalised world. Students will gain personal and social benefits, be better equipped to make sense of the world in which they live and make an important contribution to building the social, intellectual and creative capital of our nation.
Accordingly, the Australian Curriculum must be both relevant to the lives of students and address the contemporary issues they face. With these considerations and the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians in mind, the curriculum gives special attention to these three priorities:
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
Cross-curriculum priorities are embedded in all learning areas. They will have a strong but varying presence depending on their relevance to the learning areas.
The Australian Curriculum will eventually be developed for all learning areas with English, Mathematics, Science and History being currently implemented by schools during 2011-2013. This curriculum is published online and can be accessed at http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au.