- McGowan Government injects $7 million into Pilbara education
- New initiatives to target boosting students' attendance and interest in school, and driving better outcomes for Aboriginal students
Combating poor school attendance rates and making learning programs culturally relevant for Aboriginal students are the targets of a new multimillion dollar initiative in the Pilbara.
Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan visited Hedland Senior High School today to launch a series of programs and projects to drive better educational outcomes in the Pilbara.
The $4.6 million Pilbara Partnerships for Student Success initiative is designed to tackle issues impacting on students' education and give children and young people, new opportunities.
It is aimed at those students who have missed the most time at school and who need intensive help to catch up on their education.
Figures from 2016 show that 9.9 per cent of Pilbara public school students were at school less than 60 per cent of the time - nearly three times worse than the State-wide average of students in this severe attendance category (3.7 per cent of students).
In recognition of the fact that issues affecting students going to school are extremely complex and can relate to family and community issues, the initiative will include strong community links and wraparound support for families if needed.
The initiative includes:
- Attendance - region-wide and local strategies to boost student attendance;
- Public and private school links - using technology and co-ordination between schools to create continuity in education for remote, transient and highly disengaged students;
- Teacher quality - training teachers in phonemic literacy programs and providing practical coaching to teachers in the classroom on effective teaching; and
- Local solutions - working with communities including Martu, Newman, Hedland, Tom Price and Roebourne on local projects to connect students into school.
The McGowan Government will invest $1.3 million into the Jiji Programme, to improve speech, language and class behaviour in remote East Pilbara schools.
The programme, piloted by the Martu Schools Alliance in partnership with Curtin University's Health Faculty at Jigalong and Punmu communities over the last two years, will expand to Nullagine and Parnngurr through the funding injection.
The Pilbara Development Commission will also undertake a feasibility study into establishing a Pilbara-based residential facility catering for Martu students, working in partnership with the Martu Schools Alliance.
The McGowan Government will invest $550,000 into establishing a Pilbara Universities Centre - a regionally based higher education offering with a focus on teaching, nursing and engineering. This seed funding will allow the Pilbara Universities Centre Advisory Committee to seek additional funding.
Local students will also benefit from extra support in the classroom with additional education assistants and Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers to be employed in Western Australian public schools across the State in 2018 - with 49 per cent based in regional WA.
An additional 11.9 education assistants will be employed in 10 Pilbara high schools over the next three years, and six Pilbara schools will have an extra 4.9 Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers to give local Aboriginal children additional assistance.
Comments attributed to Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery:
"The McGowan Government is committed to providing students in regional Western Australia with the best possible education to set them up for successful futures.
"This multimillion dollar initiative will benefit students in the Pilbara who need it most, and will include locally focused solutions to meet their needs.
"For example, in Tom Price, a new project will draw on Aboriginal people's connection to culture and country to interest students in their learning from the early years right through to Year 12."
Comments attributed to Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan:
"This multimillion investment in education in the Pilbara will help to ensure that all students in the region - in towns and communities - have the best possible chance at a quality education.
"We are addressing educational issues that Pilbara communities are telling us are holding them back.
"This package will deliver for students with tried and tested programs, and will help to kickstart tertiary education in the Pilbara."
Education and Training Minister's office - 6552 5700
Regional Development Minister's office - 6552 6200