Home >  Blog >  Barry Spurr's contribution to the Australian Curriculum review

Barry Spurr's contribution to the Australian Curriculum review

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 22 December 2014

Under the heading "English expertise", a version of the letter below appeared in The Australian on Monday 22 December 2014. Underlined words were deleted and the bracketed ones inserted.  They also rearranged my four paragraphs into three and removed the quotation marks. Having deleted the words "about whom there have been no allegations of racism" in the final paragraph, the paper failed to remove the now unnecessary preceding comma.

Barry Spurr and the review of the Australian English Curriculum

Ivan Kennedy (Letters, 20-21/12) avers that, from his personal experience, academic Barry Spurr is not a racist, and that therefore there is no need to "revisit" his contribution to the review of the English component of the Australian Curriculum. Kennedy (This) misses the point.

The publication of some of Spurr's emails served to focus public attention on his involvement in the curriculum review as a commissioned "subject specialist". But, whatever people may think of their content and whether they were serious or not, those emails are not the real reason that Spurr's recommendations about the school English curriculum should be accorded little weight.

The review report contains no detail about the process by which Spurr and Dr Fiona Mueller were chosen out of all those in the country who could legitimately be considered to be experts on the content and teaching of English in primary and secondary schools.

In addition, there is no evidence to indicate that the views of Spurr and Mueller, about whom there have been no allegations of racism, can be regarded as generally representative of the views of the many others in the country who have a similar degree of expertise. Spurr and Mueller are perfectly entitled to their opinions, but those individual opinions should have little influence.

Garry Collins
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)
Stafford Heights, QLD

Garry Collins, AATE PresidentAuthor: Garry Collins, AATE President
About: Garry Collins is the Immediate Past President of ETAQ and began a 2 year term as AATE President on 1 January 2014. A retired high school English teacher, he now works in the School of Education at the University of Queensland as a sessional tutor in English curriculum courses.
Tags: Curriculum matters

Post comment

Upcoming Events

May Masterclass 2021

THE CHALLENGE OF TEACHING ANALYSIS: DO WE NEED TO CHANGE OUR PRACTICES? Teaching the process of analysing texts in order for students to produce a spoken or written response remains amongst the most exciting and difficult challenges we face as a community of English teachers. Most recently, the high-stakes nature of unseen examinations fo...

Category:   Master class
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 15th May 2021
Venue:   University of Queensland
Phone Enquiries:   0455464000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


JCU Spectacular

Join Dr Claire Hansen for a two-hour session on teaching Macbeth. We'll dive into an exploration of the language of Macbeth and teaching strategies to engage students with Shakespeare's Scottish play.  The workshop will also explore learning activities for Macbeth created by the Shakespeare Reloaded project. This event is ful...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 22nd May 2021
Venue:   ZOOM
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Grammar Day

A grammar workshop will be held at Elanora State High School  on Saturday 29 May 2021 to assist attendees to develop their understandings of grammar in order to fully comprehend and to effectively teach the Australia Curriculum: English (AC:E). Also highly relevant to Years 11 & 12. This will be an updated re-run of the activity ...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 29th May 2021
Venue:   Elanora State High School
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Voices in the past,Voice in the present

Nicole Broadley and Susan McCosker will present a workshop on Saturday 24 July 2021. The workshop will deal with two texts Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and Stranger Things by the Duffer Brothers.  This presentation will be via zoom and will run from 9:00 till 11:00 am. For further information, download the flyer. Registrat...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 24th July 2021
Venue:   ZOOM
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Teacher event - external assessment

The second series of pre-external examination events will be held for teachers on Saturday 7 August as a face-to-face event and online. Recorded materials will remain available to all participants online until the examination week in October. Date Claimer giving further information is available for download ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 7th August 2021
Venue:   St Laurence's College
Phone Enquiries:   0455464000


< Previous | 1 | 2 | Next >
View all

Latest News

View all

Blog Feed

Grammar myths

Sep 12 2017
An edited version of the letter below was pu...

Impact on learning

Sep 12 2017
The following letter was submitted to The Au...
Read all

Testimonials

Read All

This is the first time I have been to an ETAQ conference and it was really sensational to get so much at all of the sessions.

ETAQ conferences always have sessions that make me excited to be a teacher.

I know that ETAQ conferences in the past have never disappointed - valuable, relevant, practical, inspiring so I came again.

Read All

Newsletter

Receive updates
from ETAQ

PO Box 3375, STAFFORD,
Queensland, Australia, 4053
(07) 3284 3718
ABN: 17 689 278 512

Connect to a great range of people who are passionate about English and have their finger on the pulse.

Be Connected