Subject specialist chosen for Australian Curriculum Review

7 May 2014

Professor Barry Spurr has been selected as a specialist in literature for the Australian Curriculum Review as the country moves towards a controversial national curriculum.

The Australian Government has called for specialists in various fields to assist in the review, which is being led by Professor Ken Wiltshire and Dr Kevin Donnelly. As announced by the Department of Education, "the review will help ensure the curriculum improves student outcomes, as part of a focus on putting students first."

Barry Spurr
Professor Barry Spurr has been selected as a specialist in literature for the Australian Curriculum Review.

Chosen for his extensive experience in teaching literature and writing on curriculum issues, Professor Spurr is keen to make sure that English literature has a robust presence in the curriculum.

"I think it's important in any curriculum that there is enough material there to cover different people's aptitudes and interests and the teachers too, of course. It's got to be teacher friendly," he said.

Given recent concern about Australia's literacy ranking in comparison to other countries, the Department of Education has acknowledged that there is "room for improvement."

"Australia has been slipping in those rankings and people, particularly parents, are wondering why, and so there needs to be a good look at the national curriculum," Professor Spurr said.

"I will be looking closely at the interrelationship between literature, literacy and language."

Professor Spurr revealed that he will be evaluating literature from Foundation through to year 12 and is adamant that the curriculum be comprehensive, yet flexible.

"I want to make a positive and constructive contribution to the teaching of and enjoyment of literature in English in the schooling of children in Australia," he said of his new role.

Work has commenced and the report will be made public when the review is completed by mid-2014.

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