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

Author: 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

Masterclass - Unit 4

Our second Masterclass, and the final in our Vision 2020 series, will provide targeted and specific knowledge for Unit 4 of the new QCE English syllabuses English, Literature, English as an Additional Language, and Essential English. English teachers will work with a variety of experts, academics and peer practitioners. Participants will rece...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 20th October 2018
Venue:   QUT, Kelvin Grove
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


From the Physical to the Intellectual

Kathleen Macdonald is presenting From the Physical to the Intellectual on Saturday 20th October, 2018 at Ryan Catholic College from 9:00 to 11:30am. This will be an extended version of the workshop Kathleen is presenting at the State Conference on 18 August. All the details are available here.   ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 20th October 2018
Venue:   Ryan Catholic College
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Beginning Teachers Day

The Beginning Teachers Day this year will be held on Saturday 27 October at University of South Queensland (USQ) Springfield campus, 37 Sinnathamby Blvd, Springfield Central. The Date Claimer and Call for Presenters is available now. Further information on the program is available here This day is designed to meet the needs of pre-ser...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   10:00 AM
Date:   Saturday 27th October 2018
Venue:   Springfield Campus of USQ
Phone Enquiries:   0455 464 000
Email Enquiries:   adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Townsville Breakfast Book Club

Grace Loyden is organising a series of Breakfast Book Clubs starting at 9:00 am on: Sunday 11 February - Burial Rites by Hannah Kent Sunday 21 April - The White Earth by Andrew McGahan Sunday 5 August - Cat's Eye by Margaret Atwood Sunday 28 October - We are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler ...

Category:   Seminar
Start Time:   9:00 AM
Date:   Sunday 28th October 2018
  Repeating On specific dates
Venue:   Jam Corner Restaurant


View all

English Educator of the week

Rachael Christopherson
Brisbane Girls Grammar School

Number of years teaching:
25.  12 years at BGGS

Where else have you taught?
St Edmund's College, Ipswich (all boys)
Mt Alvernia College, Kedron (all girls)
Downlands College, Toowoomba (co-ed boarding with Ag Studies programme)

 

Read more

View all

Blog Feed

Editor of Words'Worth - Expression of interest

Oct 04 2017
Words'Worth is the journal of The Englis...

Grammar myths

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