Student diversity

ACARA is committed to the development of a high-quality curriculum for all Australian students that promotes excellence and equity in education. All students are entitled to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning programs drawn from a challenging curriculum that addresses their individual learning needs. The Australian Curriculum recognises that the needs of all students encompass cognitive, affective, physical, social, and aesthetic curriculum experiences.

The Australian Curriculum – accessible for all young Australians

The Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (MCEETYA, 2008) provides the policy framework for the Australian Curriculum. It includes two goals:

  • Australian schooling promotes equity and excellence.
  • All young Australians become successful learners, confident and creative individuals and active and informed citizens.            

The Australian Curriculum has been designed to address these goals with the objectives of the Australian Curriculum being the same for all students. These objectives are based on a set of propositions, outlined in the Shape of the Australian Curriculum v4.0, which guide the development of the Australian Curriculum as a curriculum for all learners. These propositions include:

  • The understanding that each student can learn and the needs of every student are important.
  • A recognition of the entitlement of each student to knowledge, understanding and skills that provide a foundation for successful and lifelong learning and participation in the Australian community.
  • High expectations to be set for each student as teachers account for the current level of learning of individual students and the different rates at which students develop.
  • The acknowledgement that the needs and interests of students will vary, and that schools and teachers will plan from the curriculum in ways that respond to those needs and interests.
  • The three-dimensional design of the Australian Curriculum, comprising learning areas, general capabilities and cross-curriculum priorities, provides teachers with flexibility to cater for the diverse needs of students across Australia and personalise learning.
More detailed advice is being developed for schools and teachers on using the Australian Curriculum to meet diverse learning needs and will be available under Student diversity on the Australian Curriculum website.

Students with disability

The Disability Discrimination Act (1992) and the Disability Standards for Education (2005) require education and training service providers to support the rights of students with disability to access the curriculum on the same basis as students without a disability. Students with disability are entitled to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning opportunities drawn from age equivalent Australian Curriculum content on the same basis as students without disability. For more information, go to the 'Students with disability' webpage.

Gifted and talented students

Students who are gifted and talented have a right to rigorous, relevant and engaging learning activities drawn from a challenging curriculum that addresses their individual learning needs. Teachers can use the Australian Curriculum flexibly to meet the individual learning needs of gifted and talented students.
Teachers can enrich student learning by providing students with opportunities to work with learning area content in more depth or breadth; encompassing specific aspects of the general capabilities learning continua (for example, the higher order cognitive skills of the Critical and creative thinking capability); and/or focusing on cross-curriculum priorities. Teachers can also accelerate student learning by drawing on content from later levels in the Australian Curriculum and/or from local state and territory teaching and learning materials. For more information, go to the 'Gifted and talented students' webpage.

Teaching students with English as an Additional Language or Dialect (EAL/D)

As part of its commitment to supporting equity of access to the Australian Curriculum for all students, ACARA has developed the English as an Additional Language or Dialect: Teacher Resource. This resource is designed to support teachers across the learning areas as they develop teaching and learning programs using the Australian Curriculum with students for whom English is an additional language or dialect (EAL/D).Visit the Australian Curriculum website for more information.

Equity and Diversity Advisory Group

The Equity and Diversity Advisory Group consists of equity and diversity experts covering Foundation – Year 12 who are based in schools, universities, curriculum authorities, professional associations and organisations.

The Equity and Diversity Advisory Group assists ACARA’s curriculum development process through providing expert advice and recommendations on matters relating to equity and diversity to ensure the Australian Curriculum is inclusive of, and accessible for, all students.

Members of the advisory group bring a range of expertise in working with students with diverse needs and from diverse contexts across Australia including:

  • Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
  • students for whom English is an additional language or dialect
  • students from rural and remote contexts
  • students from low socio-economic settings
  • students with disability
  • gifted and talented students
  • students with diverse personal or cultural backgrounds or religious affiliations
  • students with a combination of equity and diversity needs.