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Working with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples

Remote School Attendance Strategy

The Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) is a community-focused strategy employing local people to work with schools, families, parents, and community organisations to ensure all children go to school every day.

The RSAS started in Term 1, 2014 and was funded for 5 years. In December 2018, the RSAS was extended for an additional 3 years and is operating in 84 schools in New South Wales, South Australia, Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The RSAS is a flexible strategy that can be tailored to each community’s needs with a strong focus on local employment. RSAS teams use their local knowledge and expertise to support families in taking a lead role in their children’s education. RSAS teams also help schools to engage with families and work with the community, to encourage local decision making.

Getting children to school is a key priority for the Government, along with supporting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to get a quality education. That’s because going to school and being at school every day gives every child the best chance for a good start in life.

Many children in remote communities are not going to school every day, with attendance in some communities very low. We know that if children miss just 1 day of school a week, by year 12 they would have missed 3 years of education. We need to increase attendance rates in remote schools so all children get a good education.

The RSAS works with local providers to employ school attendance supervisors and school attendance officers to help kids get to school. School attendance supervisors and officers may have different names in different places, but together they make up the school attendance teams in each community. These teams will work with schools to help parents and families make sure kids have what they need to go to school each day.

Team members are local people from the community. They may be mums, dads, caregivers, aunties, uncles or grandparents who want to help kids in the community get to school.

School attendance teams work closely with teachers, parents and the community to develop a community plan to identify ways to ensure all children in the community go to school every day.

They can help with things like:

  • Talking to children and families about the importance of regular school attendance.
  • Celebrating and rewarding improved attendance.
  • Working with families where children are not attending school to find out why and what can be done to help them get there.
  • Providing practical support like driving children to school or helping to organise school lunches, uniforms, homework and after-school care.
  • Working with the school to monitor attendance and follow up on student absences.

The RSAS recognises that school attendance will only improve when local people are involved in the solution and their knowledge and expertise is respected. Changes will be sustainable only when information is shared and everyone works and plans together and when services are connected. An inclusive and community-centred approach is critical to making real and lasting change to school attendance at the local level. This is what the RSAS is designed to deliver.

All school attendance team members are required to obtain working-with-children checks and participate in work-related learning activities.

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RSAS tools​

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