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A victory for parents: Western Australian Government agrees to sign up to Howard Government plans for higher standards and values in schools.



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Media Release

A VICTORY FOR PARENTS -WESTERN AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT

AGREES TO SIGN UP TO HOWARD GOVERNMENT PLANS

FOR HIGHER STANDARDS AND VALUES IN SCHOOLS

21 June 2005 MIN 1134/05

Western Australian state school parents and their children will be the main beneficiaries of the Western Australian Government’s decision to agree to the Australian Government’s plan for higher standards and values in Australian schools.

Following the passage of the Australian Government’s $33 billion school funding Bill last December (the Schools Assistance Act 2004), the Western Australian Government was offered a record $1.06 billion to help fund its state schools - with a requirement that a number of conditions be met (see below).

This offer of $1.06 billion for the 2005-2008 period is a 34.8% increase over the previous funding period and includes a massive 91.2% increase in school capital works funding.

Western Australia has now agreed to the offer, including the following conditions. Funding will now flow immediately and students and parents can now look forward to:

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Plain English Report cards - Meaningless, jargon-filled report cards will be a thing of the past with the agreement of Western Australia that their state schools will provide plain English report cards to parents which will include their child’s achievement reported against the standard expected of them in that year of schooling, and relative to the child’s class mates. This will also mean a return to the “A”, “B”, “C”, “D”, “E” style of reporting or its equivalent. (see attached sample report card)

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National Consistency in Schooling - There will be a common starting age for schooling across the nation by 2010. Additionally, national testing standards will be introduced in key subject areas and curriculum outcomes will become more consistent.

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Publicly available school performance information - Parents will now receive meaningful information to help them make an informed decision when choosing a school for their child, with individual schools having to report on a range of performance indicators.

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More power to school principals - Schools principals will have a greater say on who teaches in their school and more influence over school budgets and other management decisions.

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The explicit teaching of Australian values in schools including requiring schools to fly the Australian flag.

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Safer schools - The National Safe Schools Framework will be implemented in all schools to reduce school bullying and abuse.

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PE in every school - Every primary and junior secondary student will need to participate in at least two hours of physical education each week (with common-sense exceptions).

These measures have been consistently opposed by Teachers’ Unions and it has taken five months for the Western Australian Government to agree to them.

The Australian Government welcomes the decision of the Western Australian Government to accept the Australian Government’s conditions for funding.

Parents have a right know how well their child is performing at school and that their schools are committed to nationally consistent, high standards.

Media Contacts: Dr Nelson’s Office: Yaron Finkelstein 0414 927 663