Understanding Remote Indigenous Families

For boarding schools with Indigenous students from remote communities, family engagement is an important aspect to support their children’s transition to boarding, retention and academic outcomes.

Whilst all families have their individual characteristics, needs and circumstances the evaluation of the Remote School Attendance Strategy (RSAS) identified four main family types. These family types are broad, each with different experiences and distinct perspectives of RSAS, school, education and their engagement with community. These are:

In addition to the four main family types, many families can also occasionally experience Complex Life Events, difficult times and experience which impact on school attendance. Complex Life Events can be things like substance abuse, homelessness or domestic violence.

Although the evaluation looked at remote schools, understanding these family types is important in how school staff might approach families to best understand their needs.

The RSAS focus is on getting children into the classroom and keeping them there. The RSAS supports over 13,000 students and their families across 84 remote schools to ensure children in remote areas get a good education and a good start in life. The Australian Government in 2019 committed $78.4 million to extend the program for three years until 31 December 2021.