FAQ's

Supporting and Meeting your Child's Schooling Needs

What can I do to prepare my child for school?

Parents are the primary (first) educators of a child and as such provide the essential first years of learning experiences and exposure/connection to the world. Reading to/with your child, playing games, initiating conversations/discussions, providing opportunities to explore, discover etc are vital means to prepare your child.
As such, children entering school will naturally enter with a variety of experiences, skills, developmental understandings and interests.

How do I help my child with subject selection for upper school?

There is a range of courses offered for Year 12 students. School personnel can assist parents to make appropriate choices for their children.

What support can I expect for my child who is gifted and talented?

The CEWA Curriculum Policy emphasises that the curriculum is to cater for all students. In response to this the CEWA supports schools to challenge all students to reach their potential in all learning domains. All schools have access to professional development and support to assist teachers provide for the needs of their students.

Educational outcomes for gifted students can be achieved through flexible innovative inclusive classroom environments that recognise learner needs, differentiate instruction and provide optimal learning environments for all students. Consult individual school websites to find out about special programs and supports.

What support can I expect for my child who is experiencing difficulty with learning?

The CEWA Curriculum Policy emphasises that the curriculum is to cater for all students. In response to this the CEWA supports schools to support all students to reach their potential in all learning domains. All schools have access to professional development and support to assist teachers to provide for the needs of their students.
Further schools provide a supportive, relevant and differentiated curriculum. Consult individual school websites to find out about special programs and support.

What forms of technology are available for my child in Primary School?

Technology is used as part of the teaching and learning programs operating within each school context. Each school has a budget that is allocated for the provision of appropriate technology to be accessed by the students. This may include computers, digital cameras, projectors, video cameras, interactive whiteboards, audio devices, printers, scanners, software, internet access and mobile devices. Where calculators are regularly used in classrooms, students are usually expected to bring their own calculator.

How can I decide which is the best school for my child?

Make an appointment with the Principal to discuss your child’s particular needs. Prepare some questions prior to the meeting.

Depending on your child’s particular needs you may like to ask the following:

  • What support does the school have in place to support students who are experiencing difficulty with learning?
  • What support does the school have in place to support students who are gifted and talented?
  • What support does the school have in place to support students who speak English as a second language?
  • What is the school’s bullying policy?
  • What is the pastoral organisation and support provided by the school?
  • What subjects are offered in the senior years?
  • What is the opportunity for co-curricular involvement at the school?
Consult individual school websites to find out about special programs and support.

My child is in Year 7. Will they be attending a Primary or Secondary School?

The Catholic Education Commission of Western Australia has agreed that by 2014 all Year 7 students in Perth schools will be located on secondary or composite campuses. Catholic Education Western Australia supports schools to ensure that there is a smooth transition for students between Primary and Secondary environments. In some regional schools, Year 7 students are located on a primary campus. Regardless of where Year 7 students are located, the learning expectation for that age group is the same throughout WA.

Homework, Course and Subject Selection

Should my child have homework?

The work children bring home from school may focus on a revision of concepts and ideas learnt at school. It may also involve research by the students and preparation for assessments. Homework can be an opportunity for parents to engage in discussion with their children about their learning discoveries.
Homework can also provide parents with opportunities to engage with their children in home life activities that further the concepts learnt. For Secondary students revising what was learnt throughout the day assists with processing the information for future recall.

Does my child need to learn a second language at Primary School?

Yes. Currently the Curriculum Framework for Kindergarten to Year 12 Education in Western Australia is the legislated document that guides teaching and learning programmes in Western Australia. Languages Other Than English is one of the eight learning areas mandated in the Curriculum Framework.
Languages provide students with a way to learn about their own language as well as developing skills in inter-cultural understanding. By offering a language students are able to make a positive contribution to a socially cohesive society that respects and appreciates cultural, social and religious diversity.

How often will my child go on school camp?

The frequency of school camps is an individual school decision. Each school will have a camp and excursion policy that is appropriate for the school setting.
Some schools will run camps and retreats for whole year levels or for specific courses e.g. Religious Education, Outdoor Education, Visual Art, Geography, Drama, Biology or Music.

My child has no idea what he/she wants to do? Is this a problem in the course selection process?

For most courses at University this is not a problem. A broad range of courses that match the student’s interests and abilities will usually help to maximise entry prospects. The only difficulty, however, is for those university courses which require prerequisite courses. Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics Specialist are necessary for Engineering. These requirements will influence Year 11 course selections.
For TAFE, the same situation would apply. For those courses that are competitive in entry some course selection planning is necessary. It is important to note that most students have not finalised their post-school preferences at this stage.

Can I repeat studies or complete my Year 11 and 12 studies over a number of years?

Students can accumulate studies towards their Western Australian Certificate of Education (WACE) over an indefinite time period. Scores which count towards the ATAR can be accumulated over several years. Both the school score and the examination score for individual courses contribute towards the ATAR must be studied within the same year. If you repeat a unit to achieve credit towards WACE it will only be counted if studied in a different context with a different code.

I have heard that I might be disadvantaged selecting Stage 2 units compared with Stage 3 units because I will get a lower score?

Stage 2 units are conceptually easier than Stage 3 units. Students studying a Stage 3 course receive a 15 mark increment. As scaling is a ranking procedure involving results from Stage 2 and Stage 3 being reported on a common scale, students who wish to use results in Stage 2 courses for university selection you may need to have marks in the top quartile (25%) of the state wide distribution for Stage 2.

I have heard that I will be disadvantaged doing courses which might be scaled down?

Scaling is a process that is used to take account of varying levels of student ability and difficulty across various courses. The best advice is to ignore scaling as an influence on course selection and select the courses which you consider will lead you into a future pathway.

If I can get in, isn’t it better to go to University than to a State Training Provider (TAFE College)?

Students without adequate ability, preparation and motivation are unlikely to succeed at University. Many students who begin University studies fail to complete them. Students should choose courses that meet their needs, abilities and interests. State Training Providers (STPs) offer a range of courses that are normally highly relevant to industry demands. In addition, transfer from STPs to many university courses is becoming easier.

How easy is it to transfer from a State Training Providers (STPs) course to University?

Increasing opportunities for transfer are being negotiated. Students can often transfer with their State Training providers courses receiving full credit. Students should consult with their school counsellor for further details. For some Universities such as UWA, transfers are not common.

Where can I find out more about entry to Medicine and Dentistry?

A number of Assured Entry Pathways to the postgraduate doctor of Medicine courses will be reserved for high achieving Year 12 students for when they finish their undergraduate degree. Selection for the Assured Entry Pathways will involve a number of processes.
Students sit for the Undergraduate Medicine and Health Sciences Admission test (UMAT) in July. On the basis of the results in this test, a number of students are then selected for interviewing in November. The final criteria is that students achieve an ATAR of 99 or higher (96 or higher for rural students) for those in the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences outer metropolitan program.
Based on these three criteria students are ranked and offers are made. Taking up the reserved place in the postgraduate course is conditional on achieving a nominated academic threshold in the undergraduate degree. Please click the link for more information regarding an undergraduate degree.
You may also go to UMAT for further information regarding the UMAT and entry to Australian Universities. For the University of  Notre Dame, entrance to Medicine is also gained after first completing an undergraduate degree.

Where can I get more advice about the three stages in the new courses and VET pathways?

Schools offer various stages in courses to meet the needs of all students. Direct approaches should be made to the individual school. The broad principles which apply are that:
  • High achieving students would typically select Stage 2 in Year 11 and Stage 3 in Year 12.

  • Moderate achievers would select Stage 1A/1B in Year 11 and Stage 1C/D in Year 12. If no C/D units select Stage 1 in Year 11 and Stage 2 in Year 12.

  • VET students would select Stage 1 in Year 11 and Stage 2 in Year 12 with a significant VET pathway towards a completed credential. If Stage 1C/D units are available these could be studied in Year 12 rather than the Stage 2 option.

Assessment

Does my child have to sit the NAPLAN tests?

To help ensure that schools and systems have a true picture of student achievement, it is important that all children complete the NAPLAN tests. Schools use results to identify strengths and weaknesses in teaching programs and to set goals in literacy and numeracy. School systems use results to review programs and support offered to schools.
However students may be exempt from one or more of the tests if it is recognised they have a significant intellectual or functional disability or come from a non-English-speaking background and have arrived in Australia less than 12 months ago.
Parents and caregivers, in consultation with the school, can withdraw their child from one or more of the tests. Parent and caregiver withdrawal does not constitute exemption. Your child will be considered absent.

What do the grades mean on the report?

When parents receive their child’s report, they will find details of grades on the report. If parents have any questions, please contact the school.

How often will my child get a school report?

All children receive a report at the end of every semester. Some schools may choose to report more frequently and in other ways (e.g. parent interviews, interim reports). Please contact your school for further details.

What does my child need to know at the end of each year level?

Currently the Western Australian Curriculum and Assessment Outline (Outline) is the legislated document that guides teaching and learning programmes in Western Australia. It sets out sets out 'the knowledge, understanding, skills, values and attitudes that students are expected to acquire and guidelines for the assessment of student achievement'.