Siblings Kylie*, Hayley* and Samuel* – Year 1, 4 and 6 students – had a history of poor school attendance
The family were dealing with financial issues and the children had only one uniform each. They were reluctant to go to school when their uniforms were in the wash, and they were also grieving over the loss of a family member which was making it hard for them to focus in school.
To resolve these issues, the children were referred to our Social Worker in School (SWiS) service earlier this year.
SWiS ‘Donna*’ visited the family in their home and had one-on-one time with each of the siblings who all showed signs of low self-esteem. Later the service was extended to picking the children up and taking them to school.
Liaising between the students, their parents, their teacher, and their Deputy Principal and Special Education Needs Coordinator, our SWiS helped the children feel supported. When our SWiS brought up the uniform issue, the Deputy Principal told the family that they shouldn’t worry about not wearing a uniform every day and come to school regardless. Her approval and full support gave the children precious encouragement.
Make a difference
Joining our SWiS programmes gave the students’ self-esteem a great boost. Samuel attended the Friendship programme which helped him to meet and maintain new friends, making him happier in school. Kylie and Hayley joined two programmes— ‘Seasons for Growth’ and ‘Mindfulness’— which helped them deal with their grief. All three participated in Family Works’ Love Reaches Out Art & Writing Competition which helped increase their self-confidence.
Food parcels were provided to the family and, with the community’s help, more school uniforms were sourced.
The siblings’ school attendance has now improved remarkably. Kylie’s attendance in her Year 6 class is now 77%, up from the previous 50%. Hayley and Samuel’s attendance (in Year 4 and Year 1) have shot up to 91% and 88% respectively, up from their previous record of 52%.
The students are now more self-assured and are able to enjoy and participate in class.
(*Names have been changed and stock image used to protect identity)