CHAPTER 5

Disadvantaged Schools Program

INTRODUCTION

5.1   The Commonwealth will provide $35.638m through the Disadvantaged Schools Program in 1985. This program is designed to assist those schools serving communities with the greatest degree and concentration of socio-economic disadvantage. These are communities where many families are traditionally locked into a cycle of poverty and poor educational attainment. Schools receiving support through this program account for about 14 per cent of the national student population.

AIMS AND OBJECTIVES

5.2    The Disadvantaged Schools Program aims to stimulate and support projects in declared disadvant aged schools which promote: more effective learning: more enjoyable and relevant schooling; and improved interaction between the schools and the communities they serve.

5.3    The aims of the Disadvantaged Schools Pro gram are related to those of several other programs administered by the Commonwealth Schools Com mission, particularly the Participation and Equity Program and the new Basic Learning in Primary Schools Program.

5.4    A process of involving parents and the com munity at all levels is essential to this program. Program funds are intended to enable school com mittees, which include parent and community mem bers, to:

Identify local needs.

Review school objectives and operations.

Draw up quality proposals for improving learning outcomes.

Develop curriculum more closely related to life experiences of students at the schools.

Bring about closer association between the school and its parents and community. Develop techniques and processes to evaluate the outcomes of the program.

Projects

5.16    Educational needs and problems identified in declared disadvantaged schools often require action at the school level to deal with specific issues in particular situations. Projects can be based in single schools or be jointly developed by a group of schools. Projects involving groups of schools have particular value because of their potential for co-ordinated responses to particular problems in a region and because of the opportunities they provide for eco nomic use of resources. The Commission wishes to encourage the development of co-operative projects involving government and non-government schools.

5.17    Due to the school-based nature of the program, the range of projects eligible for funding will be extensive, falling into the following five general categories:

Curriculum innovation programs designed to build on and broaden the life experiences of students and increase their self confidence. Basic skills programs designed to improve literacy, numeracy, speech, and social and other skills necessary for students to function effectively in society. (Priority should be given to projects in this category in 1985 to complement Initiatives introduced under the Basic Learning in Primary Schools Program). Programs that give students access to and opportunities to participate in contemporary arts activities such as dance, drama, music, theatre and visual arts (including film, television and media).

School/community interaction programs which assist home/school liaison and the participation of parents in the development and implementation of curriculum programs.

Programs where resources and facilities are shared between schools and their communities as well as among neighbouring declared disadvantaged schools.

The process of evaluation is seen as an integral part of any project.