The Australian Curriculum is designed to meet the needs of students by delivering a relevant, contemporary and engaging curriculum that builds on the educational goals of the Melbourne Declaration. The Melbourne Declaration identified three key areas that need to be addressed for the benefit of individuals and Australia as a whole. In the Australian Curriculum, these have become priorities that give students the tools and language to engage with and better understand their world at a range of levels. The priorities provide national, regional and global dimensions which will enrich the curriculum through development of considered and focused content that fits naturally within learning areas. They enable the delivery of learning area content at the same time as developing knowledge, understanding and skills relating to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures, Asia and Australia’s Engagement with Asia and/or Sustainability. Incorporation of the priorities will encourage conversations between students, teachers and the wider community.
The Tasmanian Religious Education Curriculum has a fourth cross-curriculum priority: Catholicity.
Cross-curriculum priorities are only addressed through learning areas and do not constitute curriculum on their own, as they do not exist outside of learning areas. Instead, the priorities are identified wherever they are developed or have been applied in content descriptions. They are also identified where they offer opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning in content elaborations. They will have a strong but varying presence depending on their relevance to the learning area.
Each priority has an introductory statement that outlines the reason for its inclusion and describes how it is viewed in the curriculum. The priorities have all been developed around three key concepts that are seen as fundamental to learning for that priority. Each concept is further developed through two or more organising ideas that provide a scaffold for relating and developing content knowledge, understanding and skills for the priority and learning areas. The organising ideas are embedded in the content descriptions and elaborations of each learning area as appropriate.Taken as a whole, the set of organising ideas provides a coherent framework that reflects the essential learning and skills for the priority.
Organising ideas are embedded in a learning area according to the relevance of its content to the organising ideas. An organising idea may draw on content from more than one learning area. Similarly, a single learning area content description or elaboration may cover one or more organising ideas, across one or more of the priorities.
Learning area content that draws on cross-curriculum priorities and the general capabilities at the same time can provide very rich learning experiences for students.