Local creative thinking leads to increased Yarralin school attendance

Local creative thinking leads to increased Yarralin school attendance

Indigenous Affairs Education Children and Schooling Programme
Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

In Yarralin, locals have discovered that giving students the opportunity to explore their artistic side is leading to higher school attendance.

Following years of low school attendances in Yarralin, 700km south of Darwin, the Australian Government introduced the Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) to get kids into school.

The RSAS team, comprising School Attendance Supervisor Frances Rosas and School Attendance Officers Simon Campbell and Jasmine Campbell, realised that a new approach was needed to entice students back to the classroom.

The team, along with the local Victoria Daly Regional Council, decided to try arts and crafts and different sporting activities for the kids to participate in during the school holidays. There were arts and crafts in the morning, where paper plate art masks, animals and paintings were featured, while afternoons were spent playing softball, basketball and AFL.

The team also visited the small Lingarra outstation near Yarralin to share some art and craft activities with the children based there.

For the first five weeks of the second term school attendance was above 75%, culminating in the best achievement attained in week five of 85%. This was down to a phenomenal effort by all involved, especially the RSAS team.

With resulting high attendances for both the morning and afternoon sessions and increased interest in attendance by students, the RSAS team saw the great working relationship they built with the school, local police, Night Patrol, Community Development Programme (CDP) members, Australian Government representatives, stakeholders and community members as the key to the programme’s success.

Not ones to rest on their laurels, the RSAS team are looking to further increase school attendance, with plans to include activities like pipe cleaner animals, peg dolls, painting with various objects like rocks and leaves, and beading and weaving activities.

Sports, in particular AFL, softball and basketball, which have proved the most popular, will continue to feature each afternoon and the RSAS team are looking to cater for the older age groups.

The team and the community believe one hundred per cent attendance is within reach and are working hard to make it a reality.