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It’s Derby Day as local mother helps school attendance

Derby RSAS

16 Sep 2015

In Derby, like elsewhere in Australia, locals like Karimah Drummond are working hard to ensure children are attending school every day. So, when Karimah met local mother Katherine Riley, she was excited that she had found someone just as passionate about the importance of schooling as she is.

When the Australian Government’s Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) commenced in the remote Western Australian town of Derby last year, local RSAS Program Manager Karimah Drummond set to work on increasing student attendance.

One of Karimah’s tasks is to meet with parents to discuss their child’s attitude to school and when she met with Katherine Riley about her daughter Pippa, Karimah realised that Katherine was just what her team needed to help increase school attendance.  

“We did a home visit to check on Pippa to see why her attendance had dropped. I spoke with Pippa’s mother Katherine and I could sense she was someone really interested about our team and what we were doing,” Karimah said.

“She asked what we did and how we did it, and if she could help. And I told her that there was a position available if she wanted to apply and become part of the team.”

Katherine was the successful applicant, starting work as a School Engagement Officer, and immediately impressed everyone with her enthusiasm for motivating children to go to school every day.

Karimah could also see that enthusiasm rub off on others.    

“Katherine’s story is remarkable because straight away you could see the change in Pippa’s attitude towards school and her attendance has risen since her mother started working with us,” Karimah said.

“The key for the Remote School Attendance Strategy to be doing so well here is because everything is local. We have a really great mix of workers who all live here, and having parents like Katherine on the team ensured the program supported and strengthened families.”

Watch our video on School Attendance in Derby here, or see it on YouTube

Karimah Drummond – Remote School Attendance Program Manager
It’s basically about helping and supporting families with getting their kids back to school.  I think we’re doing a really good job, we get a lot of great feedback from the family everything is all positive and we’re doing really really well. Especially now that its added case work to our program, where we get to meet with families more on a one on one basis, see what kind of help and support that they can get from us and if need be a referral service to other agencies.

Wayne Thomas – School Engagement Supervisor
The case worker strategies are sitting with the parents and digging deep getting more information but also finding out like how we can support and help and give them directions.

Karimah Drummond – Remote School Attendance Program Manager
Through our home visits we can tell who just need a little bit of a push back to school and who need that extra support.  Through the extra support is where the case management comes out of. 

Jennifer Madaus – School Engagement Officer
Yeh well I am proud, at the moment now I hoping we do really well you know in lifting them kids go to school helping the parents.

Karimah Drummond – Remote School Attendance Program Manager
When we go around and do home visits to families we talk to the parents and to the kids and let them know attendance is really important.  A good education is really important to get far in life and that’s one of the main things that we discuss with them.

Amy Drummond – School Engagement Supervisor
Well in order to have a good life you need to have you know a good life good education good background in order to sort of you know move up in the world you know, take care of your families etc.

Karimah Drummond – Remote School Attendance Program Manager(with Katherine Riley – School Engagement Officer)
We have a really great mix of workers. The main key is for the program to be doing so well is it’s all local. I’m so proud of what she’s accomplished since she has started in my team.  I hope you don’t mind me saying but back in the day we used to do home visits to her home to check on Pippa to see how why her attendance has dropped low.  And out of the home visits Katherine was interested and curious about our team.  She said what do you guys do?  How can I join? Well just lucky you know there is a spot there if you want to apply for it then you can become part of the team.  So she did and she was a successful applicant and then she started work as an officer.  It is amazing, it’s remarkable her story cause straight away you could see the change in her and Pippa’s attendance has risen to about from memory over 30 to 40 percent.

Jennifer Madaus – School Engagement Officer
My dream for Derby and the kids is that they get a good education, go on to university, set themself up to get a job and yeah find their way you know.

Wayne Thomas – School Engagement Supervisor
As we’re working together slowly and we’re learning at the same time one day we will get to 100 percent.

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.

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