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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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Morley is set to get a revamp – with the $50 million Coventry Square development now out for public comment.                                      

“This is a great step forward for us,” said Greg Poland, the principal of The Strzelecki Group development company that plans to build the project.

“Once the six-week public consultation period has finished we can then start transforming the old Coventry’s warehouse into the ultimate tourist and shopping precinct.”

As well as being built in the heart of Morley – beside the Centro Galleria shopping mall – Coventry Square will be a major part of the new town centre for the City of Bayswater.

If approved, the development will house more than 200 specialty stores, selling everything from fashion, to local arts and crafts.

Mr Poland said the development would include restaurants, cafes, a microbrewery and a fresh food section dedicated to organic produce.

“At a time when the economy is slowing down, Coventry Square will be a real shot in the arm for Morley and the City of Bayswater by creating hundreds of new small businesses and jobs for about 1000 people,” he said.

The Strzelecki Group hopes to open Coventry Square in April next year.

Source  :   www.watoday.com.au

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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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