“One in every five children in Australia are not completing their full 13 years of basic education,” stated the ABC News on Tuesday February 6, reporting on the Productivity Commission’s 2024 Report on Government Services.
“The dropout rate of students has reached a 10-year-high with just over half of all young Australians leaving school to participate in further education or enter full-time work,” the article continues.
The Productivity Commission’s Report outlines that in 2023 across all schools, “attendance rates decreased from 89.2 per cent in Year 7 to 84.5 per cent in Year 10. For Years 7–10, attendance rates are higher at non‑government schools (89.8 per cent) than government schools (84.0 per cent).”
Poor student attendance has been related to poor student outcomes, particularly once the patterns of non-attendance are established.
In addition to student retention, student engagement at school was measured and determined. There are significant measures of a student’s engagement as school –
- behavioural engagement – school attendance, attainment and retention.
- emotional engagement – students’ attitudes to learning and school.
- cognitive engagement – students’ perception of intellectual challenge, effort or interest and motivation.
Students’ engagement at school is measured using data on emotional engagement – students’ sense of belonging at school. Higher or increasing scores on the index of sense of belonging at school is desirable.
Research suggests that students with a positive sense of belonging are more likely to stay in school longer, have less absenteeism and higher academic outcomes. Students who have a high sense of belonging in school generally put in more effort and are more motivated at school.NSW Government’s ‘Support Students Sense of Belonging’
“Across the three literacy domains, the proportions of Australian 15-year-old students who achieved at or above the national proficient standard in 2022 were significantly lower than the proportions in 2018 for mathematics literacy, but similar to the proportions in 2018 for reading literacy and scientific literacy,” the 2024 Productivity Commission Report on Government Services stated.
The Burdekin Difference
Australian schooling aims for all young Australians to become successful lifelong learners, confident and creative individuals, and active and informed members of the community, positioning them to transition to further study or work and successful lives. It aims for students to improve academic achievement and excel by international standards.
Yet, 69 per cent of the children and young people who come to The Burdekin Association are unable to participate effectively in learning provided through the education department, due to their personal situations.
Many of the young people who come to The Burdekin Association did not attend sufficient schooling in their formative years. As a result, they have low literacy and low self esteem and need to cope with the challenges that caused their situation in the first place, such as family conflict or mental health issues.
When these children and young people attend school, the environment can become hostile or perceived to be hostile, they may become ostracized and/or bullied, partly because of their negative expectations and because they have fallen behind so much.
The Burdekin Association began addressing this gap in educational outcomes three years ago, by starting an Education Program and hiring teachers to work directly with our young people. Over the last three years, we have seen this program grow due to the demand and need.
Last year, The Burdekin Association was successful in securing very generous funding through the Allan & Gill Gray Philanthropies Education Grant to boost our Education Program.
We now employ two Education Specialists – Sarah Haywood and Rae Usman, our Primary Educator – to support children and young people in our Out-of-Home Care program and disadvantaged (yet engaged) young people in our other programs.
Our Education Specialists provide:
- Timetabled one-on-one teaching/assessment with children and young people (12-18) who previously were disengaged with school for extended periods of time.
- Development of a Homework Plan. Development of an At Home Learning Plan.
- Advocacy for the young person to get into their local high school.
- Advocacy and support for the young person at TAFE.
- Engagement, advocacy, and support for three Individual Education Plans for school based meetings.
- Tutors (who are hired and matched with the young people) to assist them with their learning.
The Education Specialists advocate with schools, collaborate with young people and staff, and support children and young people in our care both across the Inner West and Northern Sydney regions.
To find out more, click here.