Indigenous School Attendance: Creating expectations that are ‘really high’ and ‘highly real’

Research; News

​​​​​​​Image of studentBastow is pleased to share ACER’s Policy Insights paper on Indigenous school attendance. This paper commences with a synthesis of publicly available data on school attendance by Indigenous Australians, highlighting areas of major risk. ​​It explores Australian and international literature to develop an understanding of the risk factors and protective factors involved in strengthening school attendance. The paper then articulates a number of design principles to underpin future investment and intervention policies, and concludes with proposed guideposts which could be considered by policy-makers going forward.

This paper posits that addressing poor school attendance has t​o be seen in an holistic light: firstly by recognising the multifaceted nature of the challenge; and secondly by embracing a suite of responses to meet the many interdependencies involved. The paper argues that issues concerning Indigenous students’ school attendance fundamentally represent a broader social policy challenge, not merely a challenge within education policy circles.

This paper questions whether a ‘one-sizefits-all’ or an ‘across-the-board’ response may be too blunt an instrument to effect positive change. This paper argues instead, that a highly focused policy design, targeted programs and coordinated efforts at local levels, are warranted.

Cover of Policy Insights paper: Indigenous School AttendanceRead the full article >> (PDF - 2.8MB)


Reproduced by permission of ACER. Originally published March 2016 at

Policy Insights is a publication of ACER's Centre for Education Policy and Practice.