October 2014 Newsletter
October 2014 Newsletter

Foundation News


NEW! Expressions of Interest - Primezone Partner Schools 2015
The Federal Department of Education has partnered with the Primary Industries Education Foundation to implement the program ‘Agriculture in Education’. One of the key elements of this program is the appointment of 13 ‘Primezone Partner Schools’  (2 in WA, SA, Vic, NSW, Qld and 1 in each of ACT and the NT) to operate as centres of excellence to support Food and Fibre Education broadly and the Agriculture in Education program specifically.

PIEF is calling for expressions of interest from schools and their communities to be part of this trial of Primezone Partner schools. 

In addition to the responses to the selection criteria, final decisions will be made to ensure there is an equitable spread of schools from urban/regional/rural locations as well as from primary and secondary schools. 

Expressions of interest open on Friday the 31st of October and close on Friday the 21st of November 2014. Schools will be appointed ‘Primezone Partner Schools’ for the duration of the 2015 school year.

(NOTE: Hagley Farm School in Tasmania has been directly selected as a ‘pilot school’ for 2015. It is intended to appoint a new Tasmanian school for the 2016 school year).

For more information please email PIEF CEO Ben Stockwin at


PIEF/Landcare Curriculum Resources now available
Curriculum resources developed by PIEF and Landcare are now available online. These Junior Landcare resources were developed to encourage more schools to better understand where their food comes from and participate in Landcare activities such as creating school gardens and building a closer connection with the land.  The ‘How To Guides’ are designed to give students and teachers an understanding of how to run Junior Landcare projects in and around the school. The ’How To Guides’ were produced through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme.

PIEF Sausage Sizzle Winners
Birmingham Primary School, in Victoria were the winners of the PIEF sausage sizzle given away as a prize at the National Science Education Conference of the Australian Science Teachers Association (CONASTA). Students enjoyed their sausage sizzle while celebrating "footy day" at the school. You can see more photos on their BLOG

Students enjoying their sausage sizzle on footy day

Resources on Primezone


NEW! Food Across the Asia Region
F - 2
Geography and Technologies 
This learning sequence examines how people from across the countries of the Asia region access their food using the plants and animals in their region and how they design and create different cuisines.


NEW! Rice growing across the Asia region
Years 3 - 4
Geography and Technologies
This learning sequence examines where and how rice is grown and harvested throughout the Asia region.

NEW! Sustainable Farming in South and South-East Asia
Years 5 - 6
Geography and Technologies
This learning sequence examines methods of conserving and recycling nutrients in food and fibre production in the countries of Asia.

NEW! Water management in the Asia region
Years 7 - 8
Geography and Technologies
This learning sequence examines water management in the Asia region and how it has an impact on food and fibre production.

Member News


NEW! MLA Primary School Guides

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) have released three new primary school guides:
Greener Farms – Stage 1
This study guide takes early primary students through a farmer’s role in protecting and managing the land, preserving and increasing biodiversity and feeding the world. It covers Foundations of Science Understanding for Years 1 and 2 and Science Inquiry Skills linked to Year 2.

Farming Through History – Stage 2
This study guide looks at the historical context of cattle and sheep farming and how farming, environment and community interact in remote and urban Australia. It covers Australian Science Curriculum links and aligns strongly to the literacy and history syllabus for Years 3 and 4.

Future Foods – Stage 3
This guide is a valuable resource for the study of sustainable farming for the future of food production. Linking with Stage 3 Australian Curriculum Science syllabus, it has been developed for the Science Understanding, Science Human Endeavour and Science Inquiry Skills strands for Years 5 and 6.


Industry News

Feast of Knowledge for Pathway Planners and Teachers

The third in a series of Feast of Knowledge initiatives took place in Southern Tasmania on the 2nd of October with pathway planners and teachers visiting a variety of food and tourism industry sites including horticulture, dairy, apple and viticulture enterprises to hear first-hand from industry leaders about skill needs, career pathways and jobs of the future. The day was deliberately organised to cross-pollinate participants with inspirational testimonies from different industries to showcase the diversity of primary industry and tourism career opportunities in Tasmania. 

Week of Tastes 2014
Through a series of sensory exercises and interaction with a local food producer, 4500 year 3/4 students from NSW, Victoria and Tasmania this year learned how to appreciate food, taste new foods and learn of diverse careers relating to food supply. Week of Tastes will be offering this same experience in primary schools in August 2015.

           Students display their decorated chefs hats, part of Week of Tastes 2014

Quality workforce handbook for the beef industry

The Queensland government has recently released the Quality Workforce Handbook for the beef industry in order to make the industry better equipped to recruit, develop and retain its future workforce. The new Quality Workforce Handbook contains a range of tools to assist beef sector employers and potential employees, including position descriptions, salary-package calculators and career pathway models. These tools will benefit the industry by enabling a consistent approach to workforce management and development as well as highlighting the long-term career opportunities for  potential employees. The handbook is available HERE.

Enrolments for Diploma of Horticulture by distance in early 2015

Riverina Institute TAFE's Diploma of Horticulture by distance education will be enrolling new students in early 2015. Eligible students who wish to upgrade their horticulture qualification to a higher level can enrol now and pay later through VET Fee Help. Follow Riverina Institute of FACEBOOK for information on enrolment dates.

Wool4SchoolTM National design competition 
Wool4SchoolTM is a real life fashion design experience tailored for the classroom, with big rewards to be won for both students and teachers. Open to years 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11 design and technology, textile designs, home economics and visual art students, Wool4SchoolTM sets the challenge to design an original outfit made from one of the world’s most innovative and natural fibres – Australian Merino wool. There are endless resources that provide an easy-to-teach project in line with learning aims for Year 7 to 11.


WA Food and Fibre professional development takes to the arena

The inaugural Food and Fibre Education Professional Development Workshop for primary teachers was recently held in the Royal Agricultural Society building at Claremont Showgrounds. This initiative was a collaborative effort of the WA Department of Education’s Agricultural Education directorate and the Department of Agriculture and Food WA. The program was designed to raise awareness of agricultural industries and issues, and to showcase opportunities for mainstream primary teachers to incorporate this context using the vehicle of Australian Curriculum. It is expected that the workshops will be a regular part of the Agricultural Education directorate’s extension into the primary space. The workshop also complements the work DAFWA”s AgLinkEd Primary Awareness programs that operate at each of the agricultural colleges. For more information, contact Alysia Kepert, Agricultural Education, WA Department of Education.

Professional development at Claremont Showgrounds in Perth.

Ag College is a bit different in the UK

We enjoyed this YouTube clip from Easton & Otley College promoting their courses and careers in agriculture.
PICSE Newsletter
The September edition of the PICSE Newsletter is available HERE.
School Food Matters (UK)
With a mission to ensure that every child enjoys fresh sustainable food at school and understands where their food comes from, School Food Matters works with schools, parents and children to improve school meals and support food education through cooking, growing and links with local farms. Their program has recently been evaluated and the Executive Summary is available HERE. It contains some useful tips and information for any school wishing to replicate their school meals or gardens program.

"Bug Attack" inspires plant science investigations

Over 300 entries from 93 schools around Australia have been recognised for their efforts in the 2014 DAFF Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science Competition. This year's theme was "Bug Attack!" which saw students focus on the biology of bugs and their habits in stored grain - a topical problem for the grains industry. Tasks included experiments with rust-red flour beetles, a common pest in grain storage, and also trapping and identifying insects that invaded school gardens. Students also created bugs from craft and textile materials in the 'art in agriculture' section of the competition. 

School News


Lansdowne Crescent PS wins National Junior Landcare award

School children from Tasmania's Lansdowne Crescent Primary School are National Landcare winners. The grade five students won the Junior Landcare Award after developing a digital-friendly, environmental and history trail in their local park. The trail, through the Knocklofty Reserve in Hobart, uses QR codes which can be scanned on smart phones or tablets, linking them to a Land to Sea website.


Gin Gin SHS Students go to the cattle sales 

GGAP and Certificate II Agriculture students from Gin Gin State High School travelled to Biggenden to attend the fortnightly meatworks and store cattle sale. A yarding of over 1600 head of cattle ensured that students witnessed a lively sale. Many had not been to a cattle sale before and were impressed with the size of the event and the way in which the cattle were managed. Students had the opportunity to view weighing and loading and soon worked out what the Auctioneers’ fast paced chant meant, with buyers only too happy to explain the terminology of the sale. There were a few Brahman bulls that the students took a fancy to, but they decided the school bus wouldn’t accommodate a bull on the trip back to school. The trip provided a great culmination to the GGAP program, which focussed on Beef cattle and Sustainable Farming. 

Gin Gin SHS students at the Biggenden cattle sales

Community rallies around Coonamble High School agriculture

Ten years ago, Coonamble High School had between 5 - 6 students studying agriculture. This number has swelled to around 70 students in recent years. The demand made agriculture teacher, Adam Macrae realise the school needed to increase the activities available to students. Working with Council and the local community, the school has access to dilapidated cattle yards which in their current state can only be used as holding yards. With a grant from the RAS Foundation to buy a fully equipped, modern trailer with the tools for undertaking the job, Coonamble High School students are helping to replace the yards. Project Mentor, Harry Andrews from DHA Welding, says the benefit of the trailer is that students are undertaking the work with the same tools and equipment used by industry, meaning they are safer and the students are gaining skills that will make them job ready when they leave school. To learn more, you can watch this VIDEO made by the school which outlines the project. 

Conferences and Professional Development

Free professional development opportunities from the Department of Fisheries (WA)

30 October 2014
Hillarys, Western Australia
Teachers will learn about Department of Fisheries’ excursion activities and how to implement Marine WATERs into classroom teaching. This term, the focus will be on activities for Year 3-6 students (relief and pre-service teachers welcome too). This session will provide the chance to try hands on activities and receive take away, hard-copy resources and a certificate of attendance. 

Young Beef Producers Forum
20 - 21 November 2014
Roma, Queensland
The Young Beef Producers Forum (YBPF) is a two day conference focused on providing educational, networking and capacity building opportunities for under 40 year olds with an interest in the beef industry. YBPF is run by the Future Farmers Network and is aimed at equipping young beef producers to make a difference in all aspects of their lives, including on-farm, off-farm, family, personal and business related areas. 

National Conference for Environmental Educators - Reminder

2 - 5 November 2014
Hobart, Tasmania
PIEF is taking a lead role in the year's Association of Australian Environmental Educators conference and showcasing many wonderful examples of sustainability in action and resources that embed sustainable production in the curriculum.

Save the date!
2016 National Association of Agricultural Educators Conference

10 - 15 January 2016
Western Australia
The conference will incorporate a tour, beginning in Perth and finishing on the South coast at Denmark, staying at two campuses of the WA Colleges of Agriculture. At the conclusion of the conference, participants can choose to begin their own south-west tour, or travel back to Perth. Conference organisers are happy to provide advice on suitable places to visit. Please contact Alysia Kepert for further information. 

Grants, Prizes and Awards

CLOSING SOON! National Science Week 2015 grants 

There's a total of $500,000 available National Science Week activities next year with grants of between $2000 and $25,000 available. Applications for projects that present science in new ways to new audiences in new places are especially encouraged. The guidelines are HERE.
Applications close 23 October 2014
NOW OPEN! RASF Community Future Grant (NSW)
The RAS Foundation Community Futures Grant Program encourages and champions rural youth leadership through the provision of up to $25,000 to fund community projects that address a need or issue in a town.  The RASF funds projects in rural and regional NSW that will result in enhanced social and economic outcomes for the wider community.
Applications close 8 December 2014

PIEF gratefully acknowledges the continued support
of its members


If you are interested in membership of PIEF, please contact our CEO, Ben Stockwin on 0427 931 148 or email

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