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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 Quinns Rocks couple in their 50’s have wasted no time coming forward to claim an $820,000 win from last weekend’s Saturday Lotto draw.

The couple said that the prize money is the “icing on the cake” and will allow them to retire earlier than they’d expected.

They have decided to keep the win a secret from all family and friends.

The winning ticket was purchased at Ocean Keys Lottery Centre in Clarkson.

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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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For travellers who are REALLY on a budget and are looking for a way to skim a few bucks off their travel expenses, why not consider sleeping in an airport?singapore02_std 

Why spend money on a night in the airport hotel when an inflatable raft on the airport floor is free? Sure, it may sound a little cheap and degrading at first, but read-on and you’ll soon discover a travel community, that for 13 years has been sharing their airport sleeping experiences and travel advice with fellow airport sleepers around the world. Airport sleeping is no longer just for the poor young backpacker. Nowadays, you’ll find travellers of all ages and income brackets stretched out on airport floors around the world.

So now, sit back….get out your travel itinerary and read the latest airport reviews.  You are about to discover which airports you can sleep in safely and comfortably and those which you should avoid altogether on your next trip.  Your friends and family may look at you funny when you return with your airport stories, but as you’ll read here and on our blog, that’s only part of the adventure.  

Whether you sleep in an airport overnight by choice or get stuck in the airport due to an airline problem or weather delay, let sleepinginairports.net help you make your stay more tolerable.  Together with a hearty dose of your sense of adventure, unnecessary airport hotels are about to become a travel expense of your past!

Visit  :  www.sleepinginairports.net

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AN Australian family who met Michael Jackson more than 20 years ago and became lifelong friends was devastated by the pop star’s surprise death.

Joy Robson, mother of choreographer Wade Robson, said her family could not come to terms with the news the King of Pop was dead.          Michael_Jackson_1971_got_to_be_there

”We are all in shock right now,” Ms Robson, sobbing heavily, said.

”We’re devastated.”

A Los Angeles County Coroner’s office spokesman has confirmed Jackson had died.

Lieutenant Fred Corral told CNN Jackson, 50, was pronounced dead at 2:26pm (0726 AEST) local time after reportedly suffering a cardiac arrest.

The Robsons, formerly of Brisbane, befriended Jackson when Wade, at the age of five, won a dance competition in Australia where first prize was a meeting with the star.

When Jackson toured Australia in 1987 the pop star invited Wade to perform at his Brisbane concert.

Robsons, formerly of Brisbane, befriended Jackson when Wade, at the age of five, won a dance competition in Australia where first prize was a meeting with the star.When Jackson toured Australia in 1987

Two years later, with the help of Jackson, the Robsons moved to the US so Wade could pursue his dancing career.

Wade appeared in three of Jackson’s music videos, Black or White, Jam and Heal the World and today, at the age of 26, is one of the world’s most renowned choreographers, hosting his own MTV series The Wade Robson Project, working with Britney Spears and N’SYNC and winning two Emmy Awards.

Wade, Ms Robson and her daughter, Chantal, were called as witnesses at Jackson’s 2005 molestation trial in California.

Jackson was eventually acquitted.

The Robsons spent many nights at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. After Jackson’s acquittal in 2005, the Robsons were again in tears, but back then it was tears of happiness.

”I’ve never questioned Michael,” Ms Robson said in 2005.

”That’s the bottom line. I’ve never ever had a second of a concern.

”I don’t care what people say of me.

”You have to know Michael to understand.

”I’ve always said to Michael I wished the world could know the Michael we do.

”He’s not what the media makes him out to be.”

Jackson, aged 50, died in Los Angeles today, although a cause of death is yet to be officially announced.

Jackson was not breathing when Los Angeles Fire Department paramedics responded to a call at Jackson’s $US100,000 ($A124,378.11) a month rented mansion in the exclusive LA suburb of Holmby Hills, just after midday.

He was taken to the nearby UCLA Medical Centre but was pronounced dead.

RIP

Source  :  www.news.com.au

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ROVE McManus and Tasma Walton have tied the knot in a secret ceremony on a beach in Broome, Western Australia.  rove

They were married yesterday and celebrated the day with a small group of close family and friends.

It was Tasma who proposed to Rove, having first asked his mother for her blessing. There are no honeymoon plans and both Rove and Tasma will be returning to the east coast for work commitments.

Tasma said: “The day was everything we hoped for: simple, quiet and intimate, in a beautiful Broome landscape with a small group of family and close friends celebrating beside us.

Rove said: “Tasma and I are very happy and look forward to that continuing for a long time to come. It was wonderful to get to share that happiness with both our families and friends around us.”

Tasma wore a white, vintage 1970’s sundress. Rove wore no shoes.

The news comes as a shock given Walton, just two weeks ago, shut down the prospect of imminent marriage, saying: “Beyond this year, we’ll see what happens”.

News of their relationship hit the headlines in October 2007, a year after McManus lost his wife, Belinda Emmett, to cancer.

In a recent interview with the Herald Sun, McManus, renowned for guarding his privacy, confessed he was in a state of happiness that, two years ago, he’d have thought impossible.

“Yes, and not only that, it’s wonderful to have someone to share it with again,” he said.

Read full article in  http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,25649256-5012974,00.html  :

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