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Australian Curriculum

What are the cross-curriculum priorities?

There are three cross-curriculum priorities that deserve particular attention in the Australian Curriculum. These are:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures
  • Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia
  • Sustainability

Why have they been included in the Australian Curriculum?

The Australian Curriculum must be both relevant to the lives of students and address the contemporary issues they face. With this, and the education goals of the Melbourne Declaration in mind, the curriculum gives special attention to three priorities.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures will allow all young Australians the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, their significance for Australia and the impact these have had, and continue to have, on our world.

Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia will allow all young Australians to develop a better understanding of the countries and cultures of the Asia region. Students will develop an appreciation of the economic, political and cultural interconnections that Australia has with the region.

Sustainability will allow all young Australians to develop an appreciation of the need for more sustainable patterns of living, and to build the capacities for thinking and acting that are necessary to create a more sustainable future.

How are these priorities evident in the Australian Curriculum?

The cross-curriculum priorities are embedded in all learning areas as appropriate. When planning teaching and learning programs for the Australian curriculum, teachers will notice that the three cross-curriculum priorities have a strong but varying presence depending on their relevance to the learning area.

For example, in the Australian Curriculum: English, students’ study of literature provides an opportunity to raise their awareness of literary traditions from a range of cultures, including those from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and the Asian region.

Within each learning area, individual content descriptions and elaborations have been tagged to show links to the cross-curriculum priorities.

How does the Australian Curriculum recognise the diversity of learners?

The Australian Curriculum promotes excellence and equity in education.  The Australian Curriculum is based on the assumptions that each student can learn and the needs of every student are important. It enables high expectations to be set for each student as teachers account for the current levels of learning of individual students and the different rates at which students develop.

Students in Australian classrooms have multiple, diverse, and changing needs that are shaped by individual learning histories and abilities as well as cultural, language backgrounds and socio-economic factors.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA) is working with state and territory education authorities to support the implementation of the Australian Curriculum and will produce advice about using the curriculum to address the diversity of student learning. Further advice about using the curriculum with students with special education needs is available on the Australian curriculum website.