The West

Early intervention role for Perth school
Early intervention role for Perth school

A primary school in Perth's eastern suburbs is the model for early intervention that Andrew Forrest believes will improve the health of Aboriginal children from conception to three, the years experts say are crucial for development.

Challis Early Childhood Education Centre in Armadale's co-location of services, including child health nurses, playgroups, kindergarten, an immunisation clinic and other specialists on-site, is recommended for roll-out in other communities around the country.

The Forrest report calls for intensive prenatal and early childhood care and education to give children the best chance of entering the school system able to learn.

It says teachers should be paid more in low-attendance schools and offered bonuses if truancy falls. Sporting carnivals or other events should not be excuses for children not to attend school.

"To achieve parity, (Aboriginal) children must go to school at least nine out of every 10 days," the report says. "Governments should use every lever at their disposal to bring school attendance to this level."

This would include the Commonwealth withholding education funding from States that did not achieve attendance benchmarks.

The report also calls for an overhaul of the training system to end what Mr Forrest describes a "cash barbecue" of Government-funded jobseeker training activity that is not linked to real jobs.

Mr Forrest advocates creating a voucher system for employers redeemable at training institutions, which would replace direct government funding of TAFE and other training providers.

The West Australian

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