Introduction

ACARA is committed to the development of a high-quality curriculum for all Australian students, one that promotes excellence and equity in education. All students are entitled to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning programs drawn from a challenging curriculum that addresses their individual learning needs.

Teachers will use the Australian Curriculum to develop teaching and learning programs that build on students’ interests, strengths, goals and learning needs, and address the cognitive, affective, physical, social and aesthetic needs of all students.

Purpose

These materials are presented as a resource for principals, schools and teachers. They are intended to:

  • help ensure that all students are able to access and participate in the Australian Curriculum
  • provide advice as to how the three-dimensional design of the Australian Curriculum may be used to address the learning needs of all students
  • provide specific advice with regard to meeting the learning needs of students with disability, gifted and talented students,  and students for whom English is an additional language or dialect
  • provide examples illustrating how students with diverse needs can access and participate in the Australian Curriculum.

An Australian Curriculum for all students

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA, 2008) (Melbourne Declaration) provides the policy framework for the Australian Curriculum. It includes two goals:

Goal 1: Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence.

Goal 2: All young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens.

The ways in which the Australian Curriculum has been designed to address these goals are detailed in The Shape of the Australian Curriculum Version 4 (ACARA, 2012). The propositions that shape the development of the Australian Curriculum establish expectations that the Australian Curriculum is appropriate for all students. These propositions include:

  • that each student can learn and that the needs of every student are important
  • that each student is entitled to knowledge, understanding and skills that provide a foundation for successful and lifelong learning and participation in the Australian community
  • that high expectations should be set for each student as teachers account for the current level of learning of individual students and the different rates at which students develop
  • 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 Melbourne Declaration emphasises the importance of knowledge, understanding and skills from each learning area, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities as the basis for a curriculum designed to support 21st-century learning. The Australian Curriculum is formed by these three dimensions, and it is the relationship between these dimensions that provides flexibility for schools and teachers to ‘promote personalised learning that aims to fulfil the diverse capabilities of each young Australian’ (MCEETYA, 2008, p. 7).