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

Diving Deep into External Assessment

Student and teacher events: Diving Deep into the Analytical Essay Latest update Detailed information statement and instructions were sent to schools on Wednesday 2nd September. A copy is available here for your information Pre-recorded materials open to registered participants from 3pm,  with live discussion in half hour bloc...

Category:   Student (and teacher) Event
Start Time:   3:00 PM
Date:   Wednesday 30th September 2020
Venue:   Online
Phone Enquiries:   0455464000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Diving Deep into the Analytical Essay for teachers

The Teacher workshop  information and links will be sent to registered participants on Thursday morning Teachers can view the webinar session Preparing Students for the EA on Saturday morning then participate in our live discussion. Or you can choose to run your own workshops later.  Pre-recorded material will be available f...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Monday 12th October 2020
Venue:   Online
Phone Enquiries:   0455464000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


SCCC Resource sharing

Andrew Snee and the Senior English staff at  Southern Cross Catholic College would like to share some of the teaching strategies and modelling/scaffolding resources that have been implemented and devised for the demands of general English. From analysing representations of prejudice and alienation in literary texts to creating engaging im...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 17th October 2020
Venue:   Online
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Early Career Conference 2020: Diving Deep into Teaching

This event for teachers in their first five years of teaching and those who are new to the teaching of English will submerge you in a new, colourful, and enchanting world where you can engage with your peers. it is also a 'not to be missed' event for preservice teachers.  This event has been re-scheduled for Saturday 24 Octob...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 24th October 2020
Venue:   Wynnum SHS
Venue Address:   25 Peel Street, MANLY
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Essential English - Community of Practice Event

Essential English is new for everyone in 2020. We have all been busy creating rigorous and engaging programs for our students and guiding them through a period of extraordinary change and disruption. Now we're ready to take some time out for us. Our community of practice event is an opportunity for us to share some of the exciting work we...

Category:   Workshop
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 7th November 2020
Venue:   Citipointe Christian College
Phone Enquiries:   0455464000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


< 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