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Building futures through better school attendance

Halls Creek RSAS

23 Sep 2015
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Halls Creek may be a small, remote community but locals aren’t using that as an excuse for poor school attendance.

Local man Lenny Long has lived in Halls Creek, nearly 680 kilometres east of Broome, all his life and has seen attendance at Halls Creek District High School remain low in recent years.

“I know it’s a small town but everybody needs their education and it’s good to have everybody going to school,” Lenny said.

So, when the Australian Government introduced the Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) in 2014 to get kids to school, Lenny jumped at the chance to be involved and became a School Engagement Officer.

Now Lenny and the RSAS team work with the local community to develop strategies and partnerships to support families and improve school attendance rates.

“It’s good to have school attendance officers come around and pick kids up and take them to school, and talk to parents about any problems they have so we can show them where they can get help,” Lenny said.

School Engagement Supervisor Delphine Seton says that since the RSAS began, Halls Creek has seen an increase in students arriving at school on time and engaging in learning, which she attributes to her team working closely with the community to improve school attendance rates.

“Communication is vital with parents and carers so we can develop relationships and promote the benefits of going to school every day,” Delphine said.

“My passion is working with the kids in my community and if I can help make their future brighter it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something and I’m going home with a smile. 

“We’ve showed the community that we’re always there to support and help them because we’ve got agencies here that can help with any issues they may have, even financial counselling and money management, so the community know we’ve got their best interests at heart,” Delphine said.

“Education is so important and we keep expressing that to our families and with the support from the community and parents this programme will have a good outcome,” she said.

Watch our video on School Attendance in Halls Creek here, or see it on YouTube.

Lenny Long –School Engagement Officer
I’ve been you know in this community for a long time.  I grew up here and yeah we didn’t have this sort of stuff when I was a bit younger but now it’s sort of help these kids to get into a class and stuff and to learn a lot of things in education and stuff.  So it’s good to have school attendance officers to come around and pick people up, especially kids and you know take them to school and even talk to a parent about if their got any problems or anything we can sort of show them a lot of things where they can get help from.

Delphine Setor – School Engagement Supervisor
Their our future our kids and they’re the ones that we want them to benefit and for them to eventually get really good jobs you know and to look after each other to look after themselves and yeah that’s the main thing.  Their education is so important and we keep expressing that to our families and especially our kids and say you need to do this you need to go on and get this really good education cause it’s gonna help you in the long run.

Lenny Long –School Engagement Officer
I know it’s a small little town but everybody need their education and it’s good to have everybody going to school.

Delphine Setor – School Engagement Supervisor
My passion is working with our kids and especially in my community and I know that If I can do something for them well it makes me feel like I’m accomplishing something but I’m going home with a smile you know what I mean.  

Hendrick Woodman –School Engagement Officer
Very proud of the school attendance programme, if they go to school every day they can be someone in life. Yeah and probably be yeah Aboriginal Prime Minister, yeah.

Delphine Setor – School Engagement Supervisor
It’s very challenging but I know with the support from the community and parents this programme will have a good outcome.

Loretta Bradshaw – School Engagement Officer
Sometimes we go into the school and sit with them or we talk to the principal about this kid is being bullied and all that or their having difficulty coming to school.

Lenny Long –School Engagement Officer
Educations it’s really important. It’s new generations thing are really happening really fast and I mean alot of people live in this world as an educated man or woman.  So these kids need to learn more things in life and yeah to get their jobs, for their future and even for their own kids in the future so we’ll be showing them the main things that they’ve learnt and stuff like that.

Delphine Setor – School Engagement Supervisor
There are a number of families that pull their kids away from going to school. We’re still trying to get our head around it and but in saying that we’re always there to support and help them because we’ve got agencies here at Jungarni Jutiya that can help with these families even financial counselling and money management, you know we’ve got healing taskforce that’s all here. It’s all here but we just need to yeah and just to support our families.

Patrick Bradshaw – School Engagement Officer
Send your kids to school because it’s important in this day and age now.  A lot of technology you know they won’t be able to get work.

Lenny Long –School Engagement Officer
100 percent of you know attendance in school, that can build them a more better life that they can have in the future.

Find out more

A good education is essential for a good future.  Getting children to school, improving education outcomes and supporting families to give their children the best start in life is a major priority for the Australian Government.

The Remote School Attendance Strategy is about working together with schools, families, parents, and community organisations to ensure all children go to school every day.