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Local creative thinking leads to increased Yarralin school attendance
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 run fun activities at the school during the upcoming holidays to get kids interested in coming to school. There were arts and crafts in the morning, where paper plate art masks, animals and paintings were featured, and 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.
Their hard work paid off, with school attendance above 75 per cent for the first five weeks of the second term, peaking in week five at 85 per cent attendance.
Frances, Simon and Jasmine 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 increase school attendance further. They have plans to include activities like pipe cleaner animals, peg dolls, painting with found objects like rocks and leaves, and beading and weaving.
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 100 per cent attendance is within reach and are working hard to make it a reality.