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WA’s peak parent group has slammed a plan to test pre-primary students next year as a waste of money, saying it’s “ridiculous” to assess children as young as four.

As part of its strategy to improve literacy and numeracy across WA, the Education Department will start to roll out the 30-minute assessments in the first term in public schools. The Sunday Times can reveal some of the sample questions likely to be used in the so-called “on entry assessments”, which are aimed at picking up early problems.

Pre-primary students in public schools will be asked to: Speak about a certain topic, such as friends or favourite games, for two to three minutes. Estimate how many teddy bears are in a cup. Put objects, from smallest to tallest, in order. Count backwards. Match dots with a number on a page.

WA Council of State School Organisations president Rob Fry attacked the $2 million plan, saying he expected parents to be angered by the “ineffective” results.

“I just find this truly remarkable when you’re dealing with children of such a young age,” he said.

“If you get an exceptionally shy child, you’re asking a four-year-old to talk on a subject for two minutes and some of them won’t want to say anything at that age. Does that mean they’ve got a literacy problem? No, they might be shy.

“It’s ineffective and you are going to get such diverse responses between a child coming from an indigenous community to a child living in a Perth suburb with a highly socially active family.”

School Support Programs executive director David Axworthy said the Education Department based its tests on the Victorian model because it was the “best tool to meet the needs of WA children”. It would also enable shared resources between the states.

“It will leave WA well placed for the introduction of the national curriculum when it is produced in 2011,” he said.

WA Primary Principals Association president Steve Breen supported the plan because it would allow teachers to set benchmarks and adapt their programs to suit children’s needs.

Education Minister Liz Constable said children at risk of falling behind would be identified earlier, allowing urgent action to be taken.

Under the plan, students in 50 schools will be tested in term one before all public schools will have access to the assessments in the final term. From 2011, each pre-primary student will be tested at the start of the year.

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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The Broome to Fremantle Ocean Race will be a part of the 7,500 nautical mile Around Australia Race and Rally event.

Bob Williams the CEO of Ocean Events Pty Ltd, the Western Australian company behind the 2011 ‘Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally’ has spent the last few days in Broome, located in the Kimberley Region of Western Australia, and an important stop-over port for both the Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally.

Williams has been meeting with local authorities and business people discussing the event coming to Broome waters in August and September 2011.

‘I couldn’t be more pleased with the reception that I have received in Broome and the enthusiasm for our event. Broome people will make this a memorable stop-over port that everybody associated with both the Race and Rally yachts will thoroughly enjoy.’

Incorporated into the 2011 Around Australia Ocean Race is the Broome to Fremantle Ocean Race. The Perpetual Broome to Fremantle Ocean Race Trophy is designed and manufactured in Broome by the internationally renowned pearl jewellery company Linneys of Broome.

Principal owner of Linneys Mr Bill Reed yesterday gave Bob Williams and Broome Shire President Mr Graeme Campbell the first viewing of of the trophy.

Linneys apprentice Joshua Gower is the proud craftsman of this fine trophy a copy of which will be taken home by the winning skippers of the 2011 Broome to Fremantle Ocean Race.

Originally founded as a pearling port over a hundred years ago, Broome now boasts a multicultural population of many nationalities lured here by the promise of finding their fortunes. Asian, European and Aboriginal cultures have all blended to create a captivatingly friendly and flamboyant personality that is the heart and soul of Broome.

Broome pearls are recognised as the best in the world and pearling remains one of the town’s major industries.

Broome has a permanent population of 15,000 which expands to 40,000 around the time of the Broome Cup Week horse racing carnival (August) attracting visitors from all over Australia and around the world.

The crews of the Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally yachts, shore crew, family, friends, supporters, sponsors, and local and international media people are bound to be captivated by Broome – one of Western Australia’s and Australia’s best loved tourist attractions.

‘Since we opened the doors for Slot Reservations we have been staggered by the responses for both the Race and Rally – still about neck and neck in event preferences at this stage.

Skandia – 2011 Around Australia Ocean Race and Rally for Cruisers  Andrea Francolini ©  

 

‘We’ve heading towards 100 boats now from 100 foot super maxis to Transatlantic racers, from cruising and racing catamarans and many cruising monohulls and the reservations just keep rolling in and we expect that at this rate we will have a total of around 300 reservations.

‘It’s very gratifying to see such interest in the event. It’s plain that the event has such national and international appeal with Event Slot Reservations coming in from South Africa, Europe, the USA, and New Zealand already.

‘Some very significant Australian yacht clubs have chosen to join with us in planning and running this major event and we will be making announcements about that in coming days.

‘Please get your Slot Reservations in as soon as possible, the news is spreading internationally now!!’

Got to www.sailaroundaustralia.com.au to read more and fill in your Slot Reservation now

Source  :  www.sail-world.com

 

 

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PREMIER Colin Barnett may ask the Federal Government to relax foreign worker allowances to prevent labour shortages at major WA projects.

WA faces severe shortages of skilled workers in 2011, when there is expected to be peak activity in WA’s resources sector, Mr Barnett told a media conference in Perth yesterday.

The premier’s comments come as a large Chinese steel maker, Ansteel, contemplates the viability of developing WA’s first steel mill.

Other massive projects planned for the state include Woodside Petroleum Ltd’s Pluto Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project, Chevron’s Gorgon LNG project, a new deep water port at Oakajee and CITIC Pacific’s Sino Iron project.

“I expect we will face serious skills shortages if these projects go together at the same time,” Mr Barnett said.

“Hopefully,  we can build these projects with Australian labour but I expect there will be skill shortages, in particular trades areas.

“We need to be prepared to bring in some of their (Chinese) workers.”

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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SOCCEROOS coach Pim Verbeek looks to have secured the services of promising Perth-born Middlesborough defender Rhys Williams.

The youngster turned down Wales to pledge his international future to Australia. pim-verbeek
The 20-year-old, who has a Welsh grandfather, has played 10 times for the Wales under-21 side but is yet to kick a ball for the senior line-up despite being called into the squad several times.

Williams had recently threatened to commit to Wales after being overlooked for the Socceroos but Verbeek, who is in Europe keeping tabs on Australia’s overseas-based players, has convinced the versatile defender to pursue his dream of playing for Australia.

Williams’ fate now lies with FIFA’s transfer committee but if he gets the rubber stamp he could be eligible to be selected for Australia’s World Cup qualifier in Qatar on June 6.

“Rhys has informed us that he wants now to play for Australia,” Wales spokesman Ceri Stennett said of Williams, who can play in central defence or at right back.

“The wheels are now in motion, and a decision will be made by FIFA’s transfer committee.

“But it looks like a fait accompli now.”

Williams, who left Australia at 16 to become a trainee at Middlesborough, made a name for himself this season on loan at promotion-chasing Championship club Burnley.

He impressed in 17 appearances with the club before being forced to return to Middlesborough before the promotion playoffs after failing to have his loan deal extended.

Burnley will face Reading on Wednesday morning (AEST) for a place in the promotion playoff final against Sheffield United.

Williams was not in Middlesbrough’s squad for Tuesday’s 3-1 loss to Newcastle, which consigned them to almost certain relegation, but he could feature in their final two games of the season.

His displays for the Middlesbrough reserves prior to joining Burnley earned him a contract extension with the club until June 2011 and also attracted the attention of Welsh under 21s coach Brian Flynn.

Williams first forced himself into the senior Wales set-up for last September’s qualifier against Azerbaijan but was yet to make his senior debut which, under FIFA regulations, would have meant he could not play for Australia.

His manager Gary Williams said in March the player saw his future with Wales because he had not had contact from anyone else, but hinted he was still interested in playing for Australia.

Wales said they would not be hurried into giving him a cap just to ensure he he was tied to them and, with his 21st birthday looming, Verbeek has now convinced Williams he has a future with the Socceroos.

www.news.com.au


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The federal government will commit to paid parental leave from January 2011 for those earning less that $150,000 a year, federal Treasurer Wayne Swan says.

Mr Swan, who will hand down his second budget on Tuesday, said the scheme will pay the federal minimum wage for 18 weeks and will be funded by the government, not business.

“This is a very significant reform,” Mr Swan told the Nine Network.

“The scheme must be introduced in a measured and responsible way, particularly taking into account a global recession.”

He said the early years of a child’s life are important for prospects in later life, while the quality of family life is impacted by the quality of work life.

“We have got to get that balance between work and family right, and paid parental leave is an essential reform,” he said.

“We are one of only two countries in the western world that doesn’t have paid parental leave.”

He said the scheme will be of particular benefit to low and middle income earners.

“Where the primary carer’s income is over $150,000 they won’t be eligible,” he said.

“We are very mindful that this significant reform must be progressed in a measured and responsible way.”

http://www.thewest.com.au

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