TRUANT ALARM

Broome Advertiser - - Front Page - Jakeb Wad­dell and Sy­narah Mur­phy

School at­ten­dance in the Kim­ber­ley is the low­est in WA, ac­cord­ing to the most re­cent statis­tics that trig­gered a mas­sive State Govern­ment re­sponse.

The shock­ing school at­ten­dance fig­ures that trig­gered a mas­sive State Govern­ment re­sponse to kids skip­ping classes in the North West have been re­leased.

In a re­port pre­sented in Par­lia­ment last fort­night, the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee found chil­dren in the Kim­ber­ley and Pil­bara went to school less than stu­dents in any other parts of the State last year.

The statis­tics showed only 76.3 per cent of Kim­ber­ley chil­dren at­tended school in 2017, with the Pil­bara record­ing 84.2 per cent at­ten­dance, com­pared to 92 per cent in Perth.

The Kim­ber­ley also had the fewest num­ber of stu­dents with a 90 to 100 per cent at­ten­dance rate, with just 41.7 per cent fall­ing into the cat­e­gory, as op­posed to about 75 per cent in the metro area.

The alarm­ing find­ings prompted the State Govern­ment to launch the Kim­ber­ley Schools Project at the be­gin­ning of the year, where four coaches vis­ited 10 re­mote schools across the re­gion and worked with com­mu­ni­ties to iden­tify unique ways to in­crease at­ten­dance and en­gage­ment.

A sim­i­lar $7 mil­lion ed­u­ca­tion pack­age was rolled out in the Pil­bara, in­clud­ing the Part­ner­ships for Stu­dent Suc­cess ini­tia­tive, de­signed to tackle is­sues had an im­pact on learn­ing in the area, in­clud­ing gaps in tech­nol­ogy, hands-on learn­ing and fam­ily sup­port.

Af­ter its suc­cess in 2018, the project is set to ex­pand to nine more schools by Term 1 next year, in­clud­ing three Broome pri­mary schools.

Ed­u­ca­tion Min­is­ter Sue Ellery said im­por­tant steps had been taken to en­sure chil­dren were turn­ing up to school.

“The cause of stu­dent nonat­ten­dance at school is com­plex and to tackle this the State Govern­ment has im­ple­mented a range of strate­gies at a lo­cal level,” she said. “The pro­grams we have in­tro­duced in the Kim­ber­ley and Pil­bara are about school staff work­ing with fam­i­lies to help over­come bar­ri­ers to reg­u­lar school at­ten­dance.”

Mem­ber for Kim­ber­ley Josie Far­rer said more needed to be done in the unique re­gion.

“Schools in the Kim­ber­ley need to be struc­tured dif­fer­ently to ac­com­mo­date the tran­sient and cul­tural life­style of many,” she said. “The cur­rent cur­ricu­lum lacks op­por­tu­ni­ties to learn in­dige­nous his­tory, cul­ture and lan­guages, in­clu­sion of these for all stu­dents re­gard­less of back­ground could pro­vide a greater un­der­stand­ing of the land we all live on and to bridge the gap.”

The schools in­volved in the pro­gram this year were Derby Dis­trict High, Looma Re­mote Com­mu­nity, Wyn­d­ham Dis­trict High, Bayulu Re­mote Com­mu­nity, Dawul Re­mote Com­mu­nity, Djuger­ari Re­mote Com­mu­nity, Kalum­buru Re­mote Com­mu­nity, La Grange Re­mote Com­mu­nity, Nyik­ina Man­gala Com­mu­nity and Wangkatjungka Re­mote Com­mu­nity schools.

Join­ing the pro­gram in 2019 will be Broome Pri­mary, Broome North Pri­mary, Roe­buck Pri­mary, Ku­nunurra Dis­trict High, Halls Creek Dis­trict High, Mu­ludja Re­mote Com­mu­nity, Ngalapita Re­mote Com­mu­nity, Wananami Re­mote Com­mu­nity and War­lawurru Catholic.

Pic­ture: Daniel Wilkins

Kate Burke, Nikki Sandi­lands and Shaun Joseph.

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