Hon Colin Barnett MEc MLA

Hon Colin Barnett MEc MLA

Former Premier; Minister for Tourism; Science

Hon Elizabeth Constable MA(Syd) DipEd(UNE) MEd(Harvard) PhD(UWA) MLA

Hon Elizabeth Constable MA(Syd) DipEd(UNE) MEd(Harvard) PhD(UWA) MLA

Former Minister for Education

    Major moves for year 7s and pre-primary (Video)

    8/12/2011 12:00 AM
    • Year 7 students to move into secondary schools
    • Compulsory pre-primary guarantees all children a place at their local school
    Premier Colin Barnett and Education Minister Liz Constable today announced two major decisions designed to give Western Australian children the educational advantages they need.

    Year 7 public school students would move to secondary schools in 2015 and pre-primary would become compulsory for all students in 2013, they said.

    The decisions would give students the best chance to excel at the important educational transition times of entering primary school and then secondary school.

    The Premier and Dr Constable were joined at the announcement at Ballajura Community College by East Metropolitan MLC Donna Faragher.

    “By making pre-primary compulsory, the State Government will ensure that all children of this age have access to a high-quality, full time program,” Mr Barnett said.

    “In that year of schooling children acquire the foundations of literacy and numeracy, and while current pre-primary enrolment rates exceed 97 per cent, this move will ensure not one child falls through the cracks.  All Western Australian children will be guaranteed a pre-primary place at their local school from the beginning of 2013.”

    When the new national curriculum was implemented, it would assume that all pre-primary children were attending school regularly.

    The Premier said moving year 7s to secondary schools was an important decision backed by sound educational reasons.

    “The future success of children and quality of the education we deliver is uppermost in our minds,” he said.

    Dr Constable said when the new national curriculum came in greater demands would be placed on year 7 students, particularly in maths and science.

    “Secondary school teachers specialise in these subjects, and students will benefit from their expertise as well as the specialist facilities available in secondary schools, including well equipped science labs,” she said.

    “Year 7 students are, on average, six months older than in the years before the school starting age was raised. Approximately half are celebrating their 13th birthdays while still in primary school.

    “Students of this age all over the nation have demonstrated that they are more than capable of succeeding in secondary settings, as have students in most Western Australian Catholic and independent schools and a few public schools.

    “About one third of WA year 7 students are already learning in secondary settings.  Catholic and most independent schools adopted this model in 2008 and there are eight public secondary schools that have year 7 students on site, including Ballajura Community College.

    “This decision to allow Catholic and independent schools to educate year 7s in secondary schools while leaving public school students in primary settings has resulted in a decline in the numbers of year 7s in public primary schools, with the consequences felt by those remaining students.

    “In addition, families moving to Western Australia from interstate are currently confronted by the possibility that their year 7 student might have to go back to a primary school setting after being in high school. This change will ensure that this is not a factor in discouraging families from settling in this State. In 2015, more than 90 per cent of all year 7 students in Australia will be educated in secondary settings.”

    Dr Constable said the educational benefits for young adolescents made moving year 7s into secondary schools a necessity. 

    “This is about equality.  West Australian public school students deserve the same advantages as their peers in private and Catholic schools, and other schools across the country.  This will ensure WA children are not left behind,” she said.

    “Secondary schools can offer the specialist pastoral care for year 7s, who nowadays are young adolescents facing different issues to those primary school students contended with in the past.”

    The cost of moving year 7s to secondary schools, including some capital works, staff, professional development for teachers and transition programs will be developed as part of the budget process over the next three years.

    “This is a massive investment by the State Government in the future of our young people,” Dr Constable said.

    “Schools will ensure a smooth transition for students with support from specialist staff.”

    Dr Constable said the State Government was aware that some families living in country areas could experience greater challenges in preparing themselves for the move by 2015.

    “On a case by case basis, some of these families will be offered special consideration, and the option of taking a further three years to make the move, if that is what suits them best,” she said.

           Fact File
    • The former Labor Government allowed Catholic and private schools to move Year 7s to secondary settings while leaving public school students in primary schools
    • For more information go to http://www.det.wa.edu.au/schoolsandyou or call 1800 791 197
    Premier’s office - 9222 9475
    Education Minister’s office - 9222 9699