Wednesday 01 Oct 2014
Constitution Education Fund Australia

Frequently Asked Questions

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In what way can the CEFA School Parliaments (CSPs) be implemented in schools? 

Here at CEFA we understand that each school is unique, therefore we advocate a variety of strategies depending on the type of school and its priorities.We show teachers who attend CSP Professional Development 4 main pathways in which the CSP can be implemented in your school.

  1.  As a co-curricula activity, a club that includes any student regardless of age or academic ability.

  2. Within the curriculum, e.g Year 10 Commerce (NSW) Option 6 Political Involvement, or Year 9 Australian Political Studies (Vic) or Stage 3 Civics and Citizenship - Victorian Essential Learning Standards Level 4 and level 6

  3.  As an enhancement to any existing student leadership structure to reflect our federal system of government
  4.  Incorporating the CSP within a Middle School program

What makes the CSP different from YMCA Youth Parliament or the SRC State Congress?  

 The YMCA Youth Parliament, SRC State Congresses and other Civics and Citizenship Education (CCE) activities are all terrific events for young Australians and CEFA promotes and works with all CCE providers to offer as many opportunities for students to become engaged in educating for democracy. One of the main differences between CSP's is that we train teachers to initiate a large-scale long-term initiative that remains in school indefinitely, allowing our students to be a part of a democratic process throughout their school life, not for a ‘one-off’ annual event.Research states that if we can immerse students in a continual ‘hands on’ learning activity then we are more likely to guide our students toward deeper learning. Many external CCE events and activities cater to either a small percentage of students or those who may be academically advanced, CSP's are grass roots programs designed to engage as many students as possible regardless of academic ability or subject choice.

Does the election have to use the preferential voting system in CSP?

In some cases the number of students in the school or the number of students wishing to be a part of the House of Representatives election doesn’t allow for an authentic preferential election, in these cases we advocate that the school conducts the election to suit their individual needs. 

Who becomes the Governor-General in the school after implementation of the CSP? 

Each school can make this decision. In some schools the co-ordinating teacher takes on the Governor-General role and the principal becomes the head of state. Some schools install the principal as the Governor-General. 

What does CEFA offer our school in the way of support if we find we are having difficulty during the implementation process? 

Here at CEFA we have had years of experience with civics programs and our staff offer workshops, teleconferencing, resource materials and both online and on site support to assist and advise through any part of the implementation process at no cost to your school.
Please contact the Administrator of CEFA's Parliaments in Schools initiative on 1800 009 855  or to ascertain when the next Professional Development will be held in your state and whether your school is eligible for funding towards teacher release for training. 

Do the students form political parties such as the ALP or Liberal parties? 

No. We do not advocate that the political parties formed during CSP process have any connection or affiliation with current political parties in existence. Students form political parties that pertain to their own interests and ideologies. The CPS initiative is a purely educational initiative and CEFA is a non-partisan charitable trust, whose sole purpose is to educate young Australian about our democracy? 

What happens to our school’s SRC in CEFA's Parliaments in Schools? 

The Parliaments in Schools was designed to enhance the status of the SRC, and to utilise this student leadership organisation in the educational value of the project. In most cases schools have incorporated the SRC as their upper house (senate) creating the bi-cameral system of student leadership. Anecdotal evidence to date is showing that in many cases the SRC’s role and its status in the school improves. We have found that The CSP addresses many of the key principles in the concept of the SRC existence. CEFA believes that there are reciprocal benefits for both The Parliamentary Club and the Student Representative Council, as they exist in schools together. 

How long does the CSP take to implement?   

Implementation time varies from school to school. At this stage our evaluations are showing that school implementation times have varied from 2 months to 10 months. We understand that each school can have particular issues that are peculiar to them. Issues such as; a full compliment of extra-curricula activities for the calendar year, the lack of interested staff, waiting for the appropriate time in the year to implement i.e. start of school year, after Year 12 complete HSC, when enough interest and a core membership has been achieved etc. Stating a distinct time frame places undue pressure on co-ordinating teachers and schools. Here at CEFA we are more inclined to allow the school to choose the appropriate time frame that suits them and successfully implement a meaningful civics activity. 

How authentic is the CSP program in the school setting?    

The CSP is designed to accurately reflect our system of government.There are some instances where authenticity is difficult to attain, however we suggest student engagement to be a major priority when implementing the initiative for the first time, not attaining absolute authenticity.

Generally, it is difficult to motivate young people to be interested in politics, electoral process etc so we strive to show teachers a variety of teaching strategies to inspire students to become involved in this major Civics and Citizenship project.


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