MAY 21, 2014
The plan to move year seven students to secondary school next year may prove particularly difficult for WA families from remote areas, according to a parents’ group.
Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association Kimberly president Melissa Marshall said: “What we find is an issue is that it just means that our kids in remote locations have to leave home at a younger age.
“In WA a lot of the kids end up having to go to Perth. Because WA’s obviously a lot bigger than other states it means that they have to travel a lot further geographically from their families and I think that makes it a lot more difficult which is why I think WA is a special case here.”
Education Minister Peter Collier yesterday opened the first of 29 building projects which will accommodate Year 7 students at WA high schools in 2015.
State School Teachers Union of Western Australia senior vice president Lincoln Rose said he knew many parents, particularly in rural and remote areas, were concerned about the transition but he believed primary schools were preparing the students for the change.
“With all of the potential issues in high school around technology I think that kids are probably a bit more savvy than what they were 20 years ago as far as what to look out for in the big wide world, and potentially more resilient as well,” he said.
“There are a lot of primary schools that are working on the socio-emotional development of a child, particularly around resilience, and being a stronger person and being able to say no to peer pressure.”
Mr Rose said getting enough teachers into the right learning areas in country schools would be the “big problem” in coming years.
Department of Education executive director for statewide planning and delivery Lindsay Hale said parents could be confident children going into secondary school at year 7 next year would get a quality education.
“We are committed to having the right workforce in secondary schools,” he said.
“Our planning shows there will be enough qualified teachers to fill the positions in secondary schools next year.”
Mr Hale said the positions would be filled by current teachers who were completing the Switch program to become specialist secondary teachers as well as some teachers who would be brought in from overseas.
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