Remote School Attendance Program
This program has only been operating at Papulu Apparr-Kari since January 2014. We were approached by the Federal Government in January 2014 and had a week to get the program running and operating by the start of school (a week in all). We were first only given Tennant Creek Primary School, Ali Curung and Epenarra Schools to conduct the RSAS program, but after a month or so we took on Elliott and Tennant Creek High School. We operate in 5 schools throughout the Barkly Region. We originally employed over 40 indigenous people to work within the program, but with funds being cut in 2016 we now employ 20. We are working hard with all the schools and teachers to get the children to school and are out and about from 7.00 am every school day and are out picking up kids from 7.30am on wards. Our workers are employed for 52 weeks of the year and during the school holidays are involved in community events to engage and keep the kids active during the holidays. We usually partner with Barkly Shire Council and Anyinginyi Sport and Rec in Tennant Creek, Epenarra, Ali Curung and Elliott. The RSAS team have also be involved in national training to enhance their skills, to equip them to do their job better. Training is ongoing and aid us to develop better skills to do our job better.
We had been set a target of 70% attendance level for each school, but the aim is to have attendance much higher. We had over the years had some school in our region reach 70% and some go beyond to 90%, but we have not been able to maintain those percentages for a prolonged period. We have a lot of work to do to get parents and carers empowered to ensure they are able to send their kids to school regularly. With the aid of the RSAS and PaCE programs we hope to make some advancement in the school attendance and hope to get closer to the 70% attendance level. There are 4 main reasons for children not attending school and being absent from communities during school days they are:
We have developed a great team of “yellow shirts” and are working with parents and carers to help children get to school.