Academy with boys for life
An organisation that uses sport to encourage indigenous boys to attend class has seen suspension rates drop by 42 per cent this year at Hedland Senior High School.
Since starting the school project earlier this year, the Clontarf Academy says there has been a remarkable improvement in attendance rates and fewer suspensions.
Students from all year groups are eligible to attend the program, which has 115 enrolments.
Academy director Clint Ernst said the program encouraged students to stay at school through a football program and focused on showing teachers respect.
Mr Ernst said they also ran camps once a term as a reward for students who have been attending school and completing their work.
He said the program remained with students even when they had finished school.
“We stay in their lives, so if they lose their job or there’s an issue, then we can get them back on track; it’s staying in their lives, keeping them on track and getting a good start,” he said.
Mr Ernst said there was potential for the academy to have 140-150 students in a couple of years and they had begun a program to help the transition from primary school to high school.
HSHS principal Bill Mann said the impact of the program over one semester was remarkable and the academy staff had built strong relationships with students.
“These kids are being mentored in a way that encourages them to think differently about their time at school, and consequently their behaviour, attendance and participation at school have improved,” he said.
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