Providing public education

Partnering with families, communities and agencies to support the educational engagement of every student

Partnering with families, communities and agencies to support the educational engagement of every student

Students come to school with a range of learning, social adjustment and mental health issues. We engaged with families to better understand and support the interests, personalities and needs of their children. We also continued to build partnerships between our schools and other agencies and organisations to provide specialist support services that schools cannot provide.

In 2022–23, our 22 Child and Parent Centres provided 504 programs and services with approximately 73,957 child attendances and 66,456 adult attendances. The centres continued to support families and communities to provide young children with the best start to learning.

The Kimberley Schools Project continued to be implemented in 20 public schools and one non‑government school across the Kimberley education region. The project has 4 pillars: targeted teaching, early years, attendance and community engagement. The implementation of targeted teaching and early years initiatives is evident in early evaluations of the project. In 2022–23, the focus has been realigned to include a greater emphasis on school attendance and community engagement, through empowering and developing the leadership capability of Aboriginal staff. The establishment of targeted teaching coaching hubs is planned to build sustainability in the support of schools and networks.

In 2022, the Enhanced Transition to Schools Project supported 347 playgroups, including 14 new playgroups. The project is a partnership between the Department, the Australian Government, Catholic Education Western Australia, the Association of Independent Schools of Western Australia and Playgroup WA. The partnership provides:

  • opportunities for wrap‑around services and community engagement
  • support for the transition of preschool children to school.

In 2022, 131 children participated in the trial initiative Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Early Years Link (CaLDEYLink) Project held in 2 metropolitan primary schools with high proportions of CaLD families. The initiative aims to:

  • develop the personal/social, language and cognitive capabilities of English as an additional language or dialect (EALD) children prior to school entry
  • build on the capability of CaLD families as their children’s first educators
  • forge stronger and more collaborative partnerships between home, school and community.

Child and Parent Centres and schools continued to support parents, caregivers and others in the community to teach, model and reinforce positive behaviour and emotional wellbeing skills to young people through the Positive Parenting Program (Triple P). In 2022, 352 Triple P sessions were attended by 3,564 parents. The sessions were organised by our staff and offered through schools, Child and Parent Centres, and not‑for‑profit organisations.

We value and acknowledge the contribution that volunteers make to our school communities and students. We thank each volunteer for their efforts throughout 2022–23 and beyond.

EdConnect volunteers make a positive impact on students’ lives by offering help and guidance, through mentoring and/or learning support. The volunteers are trained and screened to work in metropolitan and regional schools and are matched with individual students. In 2022, 892 volunteers supported 10,354 students across 167 public schools and 3 non‑government schools.

The Western Australian Council of State School Organisations (WACSSO) provides representation to the Department on behalf of more than 650 affiliated Parents and Citizens’ (P&C) Associations. WACSSO also offers advice, support and training to affiliates and individual members.

Members, parents and carers volunteered through P&Cs, which represent parents of public school students, to assist with activities such as fundraising, community events, running canteens and uniform shops, and purchasing resources for schools. Based on extrapolation of P&C survey results from 2022, P&Cs contributed:

  • nearly 460,000 voluntary hours
  • over $11.5 million in donations to support school projects, resources and activities.

We delivered the Response to Suicide and Self‑Harm in Schools Program through a memorandum of understanding with the Mental Health Commission. This agreement provides prevention, intervention and postvention activities to reduce suicide and self‑harm in students. These activities include the Teen Mental Health First Aid program and Gatekeeper Suicide Prevention training.

Through a memorandum of understanding with the Department of Justice, we continued to support the provision of education services to children and young people in detention. This includes funding to the Department of Justice for the salaries and on‑costs for 3 full‑time equivalent teaching positions, and access to online professional learning for Department of Justice education staff members.

Our School of Special Educational Needs: Behaviour and Engagement continued to work with the Department of Justice to support students moving between youth justice services, schools and alternative education pathways or employment. In 2022, we supported 140 cases and appointed an additional 3 full‑time equivalent positions to address identified areas of need, including:

  • a student support officer at Banksia Hill Detention Centre who supported young people transitioning from remand back to education
  • a youth transition coordinator at the Children’s Court of Western Australia who engaged young people with education‑related support and services upon entry to the court system
  • an Aboriginal youth transition coordinator at Banksia Hill Detention Centre who ensured its practices relating to young people were culturally responsive.

We continued to contribute to the Kimberley Juvenile Justice Strategy, a cross‑government approach led by the Department of Justice to address youth offending rates and antisocial behaviours in the Kimberley region. In 2022–23, we continued to support the strategy:

  • with our youth transition coordinator, assisting young people leaving the care of justice services
  • by re‑engaging vulnerable students through an alternative education program, providing life skills training and possible employment opportunities.

We maintained partnerships with other government agencies, including the Western Australia Police Force and the departments of Communities, Health and Justice through established memoranda of understanding.

Armadale Senior High School continued to coordinate the Full Service Schools program at its purpose‑built hub. The program provides a range of youth and family support services to school‑aged young people living in the Armadale, Byford and Kelmscott areas who are pregnant or parenting, or who are vulnerable to homelessness or family and domestic violence. In 2022, 60 school‑aged young people and their families were supported through services including counselling, employment and housing support, parent education, medical screening, youth outreach, pathway planning and alternative education pathways.

We participate in the Early Years Partnership, with the departments of Communities and Health, the Minderoo Foundation and Telethon Kids Institute. The partnership aims to improve the wellbeing and school readiness of children from conception to 4 years in 4 Western Australian communities. Community plans have been launched for Armadale West and Great Central Southern, with community plans for Derby and Bidyadanga to be launched in Semester 2, 2023.

We continued the BHP Pilbara Education Partnership, a collaborative partnership strengthening community‑based learning approaches for students in the Pilbara. Across a range of agencies and organisations, the partnership provides:

  • coordinated on‑school‑site early learning programs delivering targeted support to enhance children’s cognitive, emotional and communication outcomes and prepare preschool children for school
  • learning experiences for students, to expose them to the unique employment opportunities available in the Pilbara and to assist them to make informed decisions about their future and develop work ready skills
  • a program delivering targeted support to assist students to set and meet individual goals for attendance, achievement, leadership, mentoring and community engagement.

In 2022–23, we managed the School Drug Education and Road Aware Program with funding from the Department of Education, the Mental Health Commission and the Road Safety Commission. Through this program we provided professional learning, resources and consultancy support to public and non‑government school staff to address student alcohol and drug use. In 2022, 26,641 public and non‑government school students participated in the Keys4Life pre‑driver education program.

We provided support for the delivery of primary and secondary education to international fee‑paying students in public schools in Western Australia. At Semester 1, 2023 student census, 365 international students were enrolled in schools across our public education system.

In response to the impact of the COVID‑19 pandemic, we have reviewed our approach to international education and developed a long‑term plan focused on supporting the growth of international education in public schools. The plan sets out initiatives for 2022–23 that included:

  • launching a brand and identity for international education
  • developing a website on international education
  • working closely with the state’s offshore network of business development managers in the education sector to promote international education
  • education agent familiarisation activities.