In early 2014 the Australian Government launched its Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) in 73 schools across 69 remote communities in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.
The aim of the Strategy is to increase attendance rates in remote schools so all children get a good education and works with local providers to employ teams of school attendance supervisors and school attendance officers to help children get to school – so far over 520 Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander community members have been engaged in the RSAS Program and they are now supporting in excess of 13,500 students daily.
School attendance teams work closely with teachers, parents and the community to develop a community plan to find ways to make sure all children in the community go to school every day.
Typically they help with things like:
- Talking to children and families about the importance of regular school attendance.
- Working with families where children are not attending school to find out why and what can be done to help them get there.
- Providing practical support like driving children to school or helping to organise school lunches, uniforms, homework and after-school care.
- Working with the school to monitor attendance and follow up on student absences.
- Celebrating and rewarding improved attendance.
To support RSAS school attendance teams in performing their roles, the Australian Government has engaged NESA to offer formal training. We are honoured that Cause & Effective is one of the providers chosen by NESA to deliver this training and a recent assignment saw us, through our Associate Simon Rodgers, working with a great RSAS team on Elcho Island.
Elcho is located off the coast of Arnhem Land, Northern Territory and it’s largest community is the settlement of Galiwin’ku – which is also the largest Aboriginal community in northeast Arnhem Land, the second largest Aboriginal community (in terms of concentrated population) in the Northern Territory.
Of significance to our project, 48% of the population is under 20 years of age, making strategies to maximise school attendance of critical importance to the community. But as Simon observed, “with the dedication shown by the RSAS team they are well on the way to lifting attendance rates and, in turn, education outcomes in the community”.
#FridayintheField post featuring Cause & Effective Associate, Simon Rodgers, and his recent assignment on Elcho Island NT