BOT­TOM OF THE TRU­ANCY CLASS

North West Telegraph - - Front Page - Jakeb Wad­dell and Sy­narah Mur­phy

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

In a re­port pre­sented in Par­lia­ment last fort­night, the Pub­lic Ac­counts Com­mit­tee found that chil­dren in

the Kim­ber­ley and Pil­bara went to school less than stu­dents in any other parts of the State last year.

The statis­tics showed that only 76.3 per cent of Kim­ber­ley chil­dren at­tended school in 2017, with the Pil­bara record­ing an 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 of its youth fall­ing into the cat­e­gory, op­posed to about 75 per cent in the metro area.

The alarm­ing find­ings prompted the State Govern­ment to roll out a $7 mil­lion ed­u­ca­tion pack­age in the Pil­bara, in­clud­ing the Part­ner­ships for Stu­dent Suc­cess ini­tia­tive, de­signed to tackle is­sues im­pact­ing on learn­ing in the area, in­clud­ing gaps in tech­nol­ogy, hands-on learn­ing and fam­ily sup­port. Hed­land Se­nior High School prin­ci­pal Bill Mann said the school of­fers pos­i­tive ini­tia­tives and many dis­ci­plines needed to work to­gether to in­crease school at­ten­dance.

“Bet­ter at­ten­dance im­proves learn­ing out­comes, which means stronger en­gage­ment with the as­so­ci­ated im­prove­ment in at­ten­tion and be­hav­iour in class, lead­ing to fur­ther learn­ing gains. It is a neat cy­cle to be in for all young peo­ple,” Mann said.

“The com­mu­nity, and par­tic­u­larly par­ents and care­givers, have a key role in en­sur­ing all stu­dents at­tend school reg­u­larly.”

Sim­i­larly, the Kim­ber­ley Schools Project was launched 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. The project is set to ex­pand to nine more schools by Term 1.

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