Community leaders meet to make boarding school transition easier

Published:15 September 2016

A CQUniversity research project is looking at ways to help Indigenous students transition from their communities to boarding schools for secondary education.

A workshop held recently in Cairns was a first to introduce new ways to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in their transitions from remote north Queensland communities to boarding schools for secondary education. 

This workshop was hosted by CQUniversity where researchers are collaborating with the Queensland Department of Education and Training’s Transition Support Service to strengthen the support provided for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students.  

The focus of the workshop was about how communities and schools can come together to better nurture and support the resilience of students. 

The pilot research of the CQUniversity Transition Support Service partnership found that many students experience high levels of stress as a result of having to leave their home communities for secondary education. 

They travel to boarding schools which are geographically, thousands of kilometres, and culturally, worlds apart. 

For various reasons, some students are exited early and return to their home communities where there are few options for further educational advancement. 

Mayors and community education representatives, principals, school staff and the Transition Support Service brainstormed how they can work together to develop better linkages between communities, schools and services to improve the resilience of students experiencing transitions. 

“Resilience is about our stories of strength through hardship,” CQUniversity Senior Research Fellow and Project leader, Roxanne Bainbridge said. 

“It is about how well we are able to negotiate with services, communities and our families, to get the things that we need to keep strong and healthy, in ways that are meaningful to us.”  

The workshop is part of a broader project supported by an $825,000 grant from National Health and Medical Research Council.

The workshop was held on Monday, 12 September at The Boland Centre in Cairns.