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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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A new educational resource kit on citizenship will provide school children across the country with a greater understanding of our civic responsibilities and what it means to be an Australian citizen.

The school resource book – I am Australian: Exploring Australian Citizenship – is designed to assist teachers to deliver more in-depth lessons on Australian citizenship and civics to upper primary and lower secondary school students.

The Minister for Immigration and Citizenship, Senator Chris Evans, said the school resource book will help students better understand the meaning and significance of Australian citizenship.

‘Knowledge of Australian citizenship and civic responsibilities is important for all Australians, no matter how they became citizens,’ Senator Evans said.

‘This will be a valuable learning tool for all students, not only for those who have come here from other countries, but also for those who have lived all their lives in Australia.

‘It will also help students appreciate the contribution made to Australia by people from diverse backgrounds, whose journey to Australia was completed when they became citizens.’

The school resource book contains classroom activities which are linked to the curricula of each state and territory and are specifically designed for upper primary and lower secondary school students. The activities relate to Australia’s democratic beliefs, Australian citizen case studies and what it means to be an Australian citizen.

The Department of Immigration and Citizenship (DIAC) has been producing citizenship resources for schools since 2001. The updated school resource book coincides with the 60th anniversary of Australian citizenship.

Since the first citizenship ceremony in 1949, more than four million people from more than 200 countries have become Australian citizens.

Senator Evans launched the new school resource book with Hindmarsh MP Steve Georganas at the Plympton Primary School in Adelaide, where the Minister conducted a citizenship ceremony for a student and his father.

Zhenguo (Ken) Yang, 43, and his son Pengyu (Kevin), 11, from the People’s Republic of China, became Australian citizens after migrating to Australia in 2005. Mr Yang, a network engineer, came to Australia with his wife Qihong (Linda) Ling, who is studying nursing, to pursue better educational and career opportunities for the family.

‘I congratulate Mr Yang and his son Kevin on their decision to become Australian citizens,’ Mr Georganas said.

‘Citizenship represents a commitment to Australia and its people, the values we share and our common future. It also symbolises our sense of belonging to the country where we have been born or have decided to make our home.’

Source  :  http://www.minister.immi.gov.au/media/media-releases/2009/ce09100.htm

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JANNIE and Amanda Klue, their eyes wide with desperation, are staring at two distinctly different futures.
One future embodies the Australian dream: running their own business, living in their own house, building community ties and watching their two children, Jan-Sari, 9, and Pieter-Nick, 6, flourish in an environment that is far removed from their homeland.
The Klues have been living that dream since migrating to the Sunshine Coast from South Africa 22 months ago.
The other future is a bleak one: a barb wire-fenced home with security cameras, guard dogs and streets deemed too unsafe for their children.
The Klues lived that nightmare in South Africa. And now they have been told they must return to it.
Having sold everything before moving to Australian on Christmas Day, 2007, the family must leave the country after their application for a state-sponsored business-owner visa has been rejected.
On Monday, the Klues learned they have until October 19 to get out of the country after they received two-week bridging visas.
In a bid to stave off deportation. Jan-Sari wrote a letter to Anna Bligh this week, in which she pleaded with the premier to help her family.
“We don’t want to leave Australia,” she wrote. 
“My mum and dad has (sic) come to Australia for my brother and my future.”
Mr Klue said on Friday that he had bought a business – Middy’s grocery store at Buderim – as required under the business-owner visa and had ticked every other box, bar one.
He said he couldn’t sufficiently prove to immigration officials that one of the two money-lending businesses he had owned in South Africa was actually his and, as a result, the family didn’t meet the visa’s minimum-assets requirement.
“I thought everything would work out,” Mr Klue said.
“I’m not a fugitive or a criminal … they will show discretion and let commonsense prevail.”
Fighting tears, Mrs Klue described the situation as “unreal”.
“It shouldn’t have come to this,” she said.
Mrs Klue said her children were well-established at Buderim Mountain Primary School and the family now considered themselves Aussies.
An immigration spokeswoman said the Klues simply didn’t meet the criteria for a state-sponsored business-owner visa, and then failed to lodge their appeal against the ruling on time.
She said applicants must show they owned and directly managed a business with a turnover of at least $300,000 for two of the past four fiscal years, or had a successful record as a senior manager.
“Entering Australia on a temporary visa does not mean you have an ongoing right to remain in Australia,” she said.
A spokesman for Ms Bligh said while immigration was a federal government matter, state officials were talking to immigration officials about the Klues’ case.

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Parents of children at private WA schools should brace for fee rises up to four times the inflation rate next year, with new figures showing education costs leapt 37.5 per cent in the past five years.

Elite colleges said it was too early to set next year’s fees but they predicted rises between 5 and 8 per cent.

Principals said big pay rises to State schoolteachers last year in a three-year agreement were driving up fees at private schools because they competed for staff.

Scotch College principal Andrew Syme said fees at private schools had to go up at least 6 per cent to keep pace with teachers’ pay rises before any improvements in service.

Anglican Schools Commission chief executive Peter Laurence said fee rises at low-fee church schools would be similar to last year’s increases of between 6 and 9 per cent.

“Teachers’ pay is the number one driver that’s going to keep increases higher than they used to be a few years ago,” he said.

Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show education costs in Perth, comprising school fees and other miscellaneous costs, have jumped 37.5 per cent since 2004 – the biggest increase registered by any capital city. Canberra had the second biggest leap, with 29.4 per cent.

The rise was driven by a 55.9 per cent lift in fees associated with pre-schools and primary schools. By contrast, pre-school and primary school education costs in Sydney rose almost 23 per cent.

Pre-school and primary school fees have grown faster than the average wage of West Australians which, between 2004 and today, jumped 44 per cent – the biggest rise of any capital city.

The State Government has held down public primary school fees so the increase is mainly for private schools.

A private education in WA costs between $3000 a year for Year 12 tuition at low-fee Catholic schools and $17,000 a year at high-fee independent schools. Many private schools in Sydney and Melbourne charge more than $20,000 a year.

Association of Independent Schools of WA executive director Valerie Gould said the recent teacher pay rises and rising construction costs in the building boom two years ago may have been the big contributors to increased education costs.

WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief economist John Nicolaou said the fact fees were going up so much in the private sector reflected poorly on the public school sector.

He said people were voting with their feet and going to the private sector even while fees were rising, which said something about what parents thought of Government schools.

WA Secondary School Executives Association president Rob Nairn said students in Years 8 to 10 could get an education at a State school for a voluntary contribution of $235 a year. Costs were higher in Years 11 and 12 but much less than in private schools.

Source  :   www.thewest.com.au

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 Welcome to Schools Online, a directory of public schools in Western Australia.

Whether you are a parent keen to find information on programs available at your children’s school, or interested in enrolling your children at a school in your local area, you will find a range of information.

We hope you find Schools Online useful and encourage you to visit other parts of the Department of Education and Training website for information on other special events, initiatives and programs that may be of interest to you.

Source  :  http://www2.eddept.wa.edu.au/schoolprofile/home.do

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Australia is still open for business

Despite the current financial troubles plaguing the world, the Australian government continues to welcome business migrants who want to move to Australia to estab1201173161413australia-flaglish and operate a new business or purchase and operate an existing business.Migration opportunities also exist for people who wish to invest in Government bonds. Australia’s states and territories are competing in a bid to sponsor business people from around the world in an effort to attract investment and suitable migrants to their cities and towns. At the same time the Australian government has been at pains to stress the importance it places on small business in Australia and has rewarded the sector with significant tax relief. On March 28 2009, the Australian government announced more than AUD720 million (SLR 23 billion) of cash-flow relief and further initiatives to support small business are expected in the May budget.

Although the business world has been pessimistic about the impact of the global financial crisis, Australia has been better positioned than most countries to weather the storm. A survey conducted by the Small Business Development Corporation of small business sentiment in Western Australia has found that “there is more optimism within the small business sector than media reports would have us believe”, SBDC Managing Director Mr Stephen Moir said when the survey was released. This may make it a good time for potential business migrants to consider a move to Australia.

Many business people from around the world have already taken advantage of the opportunities offered under Australia’s business migration programme. A total of 6565 business visas were granted in 2008, a 12.5% increase on the 2007 figure. This is about equal to the number of business visas that can be granted before July 2009 under the recently announced cap. New business visa applications are still being accepted and processed as normal and no limits have been announced for 2010. It is not clear what effect the global downturn will have on demand for these visas and whether the caps for 2009 will have an effect on processing times in the future. There would appear to be little reason for the Australian Government to place significant limits on the number of business visas in the future – business migrants create job opportunities in Australia rather than reduce them.

Historically the Australian business visa programme has attracted mostly small to medium business people who are seeking better opportunities for themselves and their families in Australia. In recent years the program has attracted many applicants from countries such as the PRC, Indonesia and South Africa where there has been some political or economic instability and concern for the future.

Australia’s business visa program is targeted at small business owners and senior managers who have a proven track-record of successful business in their country and who have accumulated wealth through their entrepreneurship, which can be invested in Australia. Successful business applicants need to show that their business has recorded sales of more than AUD$300,000 (LSR 27,000,000) in at least two of the past four fiscal years or that they are a senior manager in a significant business, and that they have at least AUD$250,000 (LSR 22,000,000) in personal and business assets which they are willing and able to transfer to Australia. Business migrants who are over 45 or who do not have a good command of English must be sponsored by a state or territory of Australia.

Despite the global downturn, there are good business opportunities in Australia in many sectors and Australia remains very much open for business. In order to encourage business migrants to establish themselves in their area, some Australian states and territories, including Western Australia, offer incentives and assistance packages to qualifying new migrants and small business owners. Many states and territories offer discounted education for children of business migrants.

A successful business visa applicant will first be granted a temporary visa for four years within which time they must relocate themselves and their families to Australia and establish their business in the sponsoring state. Provided the relevant requirements are satisfied during this time, the person can apply for a permanent visa allowing them and their family to remain in Australia indefinitely. After a time, business visa holder can apply for Australian Citizenship should they want Australian nationality.
If you are thinking about migrating to Australia, the time might be now!

Source  :  www.sundaytimes.lk

 
         
 

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Relocating from the UK and now living in Perth I sometimes forget how lucky I am to be here with two young children, the great outdoorperth-children life with the room to roam the parks and gardens of  WA, most with no entry fee. 

Living the outdoor life in Perth City we are lucky enough to have the recreational facilities on our doorstep. 

Kings Park is definately for me the daddy of all parks with the fantastic location and views which managed to bring a tear to my eye the first time I ever went.

There are other free entry parks to enjoy such as Whiteman Park where families can enjoy a day out with cycle paths, walking trails, bbq’s, paddling pool and childrens play areas.  There is a wildlife park there which does charge for entry, you can walk through the Kangaroos and see the Koalas.

Wanneroo has a great park called Rotary Park which has just been refurbished to a very high standard with a fantastic play area for the children, great park for birthday celebrations with bbq’s available.

Also in Wanneroo are the Botanical Gardens with older style gardens, leafy hideaways, waterlily filled ponds and waterfalls.  This has a charge of $4 entry for adults which includes a tea or coffee, free entry for the children.  Mini golf is there which is an extra cost.  It is also great place to listen to free live music on a Friday and Saturday nights.

With all the parks, gardens and beaches in  Perth WA  if you pack a picnic or make use of the barbecue facilities, you can have a great day out without a great deal of cost.

Now I’m off to pick the kids up from school,  grab a pizza from Eable Boys for $10,  go to our local park eat our pizza and the kids can play on a winters day !! 

How Lucky am I.

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Migration Agents – Migrant numbers need to increase to support infrastructure projects

The Migration Institute of Australia (MIA) has warned the government that work on infrastructure projects will be difficult to accomplish following the decision to put australian-immigration-construction-workers restrictions on the skilled migration program.

While the MIA welcomed the Australian immigration ministers decision to increase the number of humanitarian and family reunion Australian visas for the 2009/10 Migration Program, they were less than impressed with the decision to remove a number of trade-level occupations from the skilled occupation list.

“The MIA awaits with great interest to see how the Government proposes to administer the new job-readiness criteria for trade occupations. It’s hard to imagine a one-size-fits-all assessment system of employability,” said Maurene Horder, CEO of the Migration Institute of Australia.

The Government reduced the Australian skilled migration program at the turn of 2009, when the recession was starting to take effect. The planning level for the remainder of the 2008-09 financial year was reduced from 133,500 to 115,000 skilled migration visas and the Critical Skills List (CSL) and priority processing order were both introduced so that the Government could target the skills it needed most.

As of the 01 July 2009, the Australian skilled migration planning levels will be further reduced to 108,100 visas, and the CSL and priority processing order will remain as guidelines for the Department of Immigration and Citizenship’s visa processing officers. This means that sponsored visas and independent visas with skills nominated in the health, engineering and IT sectors will constitute a major part of Australian visa approvals during the start of the next financial year.

Fortunately, the Australian skilled migration program remains flexible to the needs of the Australian economy. While states/territories and employers have been given greater power to target the skills they need, the Immigration Minister Chris Evans also has the ability to extend the planning levels for the Australian skilled migration program and amend the CSL so that certain nominated trades can have priority for processing, if the economy needs a boost in skilled workers.

Senator Evans said in a recent statement that the Government is committing itself to “a long-term planning framework for migration as a key component of the current reform agenda” and that their extension of the family migration scheme is testament to its perception of the importance of family.

“We are recognising the importance of family through this boost which will benefit Australians who seek to have their parents, partners or children join them to live here permanently,” Senator Evans added.

The family stream of the Australian migration program has had 2,500 places added to the Spouse and Fiancée Visa program, 1,000 places to the Parent Visa program, and 300 to the Child Visa program.

Source www.gettingdownunder.com

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Two more swine flu cases in WA, Scotch College student ill

NEARLY 100 staff and students at WA’s exclusive Scotch College are being tested for swine flu after an 11-year-old boy fell ill with the virus.

Eleven-year-old Scotch College student, Harry, who returned from Melbourne on June 1, has tested positive for the H1N1 virus.

A 23-year-old woman, who returned from Melbourne on June 3, was also confirmed to have it.

Harry had flown to Melbourne with a youth football team and on returning to Perth went on a school music camp before developing symptoms.

He did not return to school after the camp because he was feeling sick.

“I had a really burning temperature,” Harry said yesterday from home quarantine.

“It was really hot. I was sweating.”

Harry’s mother, Jennifer, said: “It was a really big shock. If there was no talk of swine flu and no Melbourne issue I would have just thought it was the same old cold or flu he has had before.”

Eighty-nine students and 10 staff also on the Scotch College camp are being tested for the virus and anyone with flu-like symptoms is being urged to stay home.

Four teammates suffering “flu symptoms’

It is believed four other boys in Harry’s football team are suffering from flu-like symptoms.

Scotch College acting principal Peter Freitag said there were no immediate plans to close the school down.

“It would be very difficult to close the school,” he said.

“It’s a boarding school, we have 170 boarders.

“We wouldn’t want to close the school unless we have to.

“At this stage we’re not anywhere near that.”

However, Health Department’s communicable disease control director Paul Effler did not rule out temporarily closing the school if students on the music camp tested positive to swine flu and had since been to school.

WA flu tally reaches four

The Health Department confirmed that WA’s swine flu tally had reached four.

“We are contacting the students, parents and teachers who participated in these events with the young boy and the close contacts of the young woman,” Dr Effler said.

“The close contacts of the cases have been asked to remain in home quarantine and have been provided with anti-viral medication as a precaution.

“The school has been very co-operative in helping us reach students, families and staff in a timely manner.”

More than 1000 cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Australia, with the most in the eastern states.

On Thursday the Health Department issued a statement extending its voluntary quarantine policy for children who have recently travelled to areas affected by swine flu, including Victoria.

Dr Effler said there was no need for the public to panic because in most instances the swine-flu virus appeared to cause a relatively mild illness.

“I would encourage people to make sure they cover their nose and mouth if sneezing or coughing, to wash their hands frequently (and) most importantly, stay home if you are sick to limit the spread of the viruses in our community,” he said.

Dr Effler said people should continue to get their annual influenza vaccine, particularly people in vulnerable groups, including those aged over 65 and under five.

While the influenza vaccine won’t protect against the new strain of swine influenza, it will protect against serious illness caused by seasonal influenza.

If you think you have swine flu phone your doctor or call healthdirect Australia on 1800 022 222. For more information on swine flu visit 

Department of Health website  www.health.wa.gov.au

Source  www.news.com.au

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