Hon Elizabeth Constable MA(Syd) DipEd(UNE) MEd(Harvard) PhD(UWA) MLA

Hon Elizabeth Constable MA(Syd) DipEd(UNE) MEd(Harvard) PhD(UWA) MLA

Former Minister for Education

    Tracking system reveals Aboriginal transiency

    3/02/2012 12:00 AM
    • Most students attend more than three schools, and many across State borders
    • Award-winning new software allows teachers to monitor student mobility
    • Share learning programs across all school sectors in three States/Territories

    Figures obtained from 285 remote schools near the Western Australian, Northern Territory and South Australian borders quantify the level of Aboriginal student transience for the first time, Education Minister Liz Constable revealed today.


    “In June 2008, the Tri-border Attendance Strategy was launched,” Dr Constable said.


    “This involved the use of a new live data system that allowed attendance, enrolment and learning information to be easily shared across public, Catholic and independent schools with the aim of addressing Aboriginal absenteeism and providing smoother transitions for students between schools.


    “The transiency of Aboriginal families in northern Western Australia, the Northern Territory and South Australia has long been the biggest issue impacting on the quality of education received by indigenous young people in these areas.


    “Previously, the mobility of families meant schools were unable to provide continuous learning programs, and many students appeared to be lost from State and Territory systems.


    “Now we have an accurate picture of the movements of Aboriginal families, we can continue to tailor our education system to meet their needs. The system allows us to track each student’s movement between schools.


    “This Government believes that the one-size-fits-all education approach does not work for everyone.  We need to make the system work for all, and a major aim is to improve the learning of Aboriginal students.


    “This software allows teachers across all schools to share student learning programs, so teachers can help a student who arrives at a new school at any time to pick up where they left off.”


    Data gathered by the Central Schools’ Systems database for the period February 2009 to December 2011 reveals that of 80,000 students:

    • one student attended nine schools
    • one student attended eight schools
    • two students attended seven schools
    • 21 students attended six schools
    • 121 students attended five schools
    • 552 students attended four schools
    • 2,270 students attended three schools.

    Data for the period February 2009 to October 2011 shows that of 1,496 students:

    • 641 have enrolled in schools across three State and Territory borders
    • 483 were enrolled in WA and NT schools
    • 46 enrolled in both SA and NT schools
    • 91 enrolled at Catholic and public schools in the Kimberley.

    “This comprehensive sharing of live data across sectors and jurisdictions is a first in Australia,” the Minister said.


    “Participating schools are able to view and monitor the attendance and enrolment histories of students, regardless of where they have come from.


    “The Central Schools’ Systems database is a valuable tool that we are using to help close the gap between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal achievement in education.


    “The State Government aims to continue to rollout the system this year through schools in the Kimberley and Pilbara.”


          Fact File

    • The Tri-Border Attendance Strategy won two awards at the recent Australian Regional Instructional Management Systems Learning Impact Awards (Australian Regional Winner and People’s Choice Award)
    • The strategy will be assessed by a panel of global experts for its ability to affect educational outcomes at the International Learning Impact Awards in Toronto in May
    • The strategy is managed by the Western Australian Department of Education

    Minister’s office - 6552 5700