Everything you wanted to know about ACARA and the national curriculum

ACARA - the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority - is developing the Australian National Curriculum. Introduced in 2014, the national curriculum resulted in significant changes to teaching in Australian schools. We take a closer look at the make up of the ACARA curriculum.

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ACARA National Curriculum

ACARA and the National Curriculum - Who is ACARA?

The curriculum is not implemented by ACARA, but by the respective state and territory curriculum, assessment and certification authorities.

The government explains the role of ACARA: “(It) develops and administers national school curriculum and national assessments, collects and publishes school performance data, provides school curriculum resource services and provides support to teachers.”

Subject-specific curriculum information  
The Australian maths syllabus
The Australian science syllabus

What is the national curriculum?

The national curriculum is still a relatively recent introduction to the classroom and is in different stages of its development, depending on age group and subject. Since 2014, all states and territories have introduced the Foundation – Year 10 part of the Australian curriculum.

ACARA explains: “The Australian Curriculum sets the expectations for what all young Australians should be taught, regardless of where they live in Australia or their background.”

Foundation – Year 10 national curriculum

The Australian curriculum for F-10 students focuses on three key areas: disciplinary knowledge, skills and understanding; general capabilities; and cross-curriculum priorities.

Disciplinary knowledge, skills and understanding are made up of the eight learning areas of the curriculum, including English, mathematics, science, health and physical education, humanities and social sciences, the arts, technologies and languages.

General capabilities is comprised of seven areas, including: literacy, numeracy, ICT capability, critical and creative thinking, personal and social capability, ethical understanding and intercultural understanding.

ACARA says general capabilities is to equip “young Australians to live and work successfully in the 21st century.”

It adds: “Capability encompasses knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions. Students develop capability when they apply knowledge and skills confidently, effectively and appropriately in complex and changing circumstances, in their learning at school and in their lives outside school.”

The third dimension of the F-10 curriculum is cross-curriculum priorities. ACARA explains its role: “The priorities provide national, regional and global dimensions which will enrich the curriculum through the development of considered and focused content that fits naturally within learning areas.

“They enable the delivery of learning area content at the same time as developing knowledge, understanding and skills relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia and/or sustainability.”

Click here for Australian curriculum-aligned resources

Senior secondary national curriculum

The senior secondary curriculum has not been fully integrated yet. However, 15 subjects across English, mathematics, science, history and geography have a curriculum that has been endorsed. It is up to states and territories to implement this.

For more information on ACARA and the curriculum, have a look at their website.

For more information see the senior secondary website.

For information on the practical impact of the ACARA curriculum on teaching in Australia, read our blog.

For more information on the curriculum in the states and territories, visit their respective websites:

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