- Extra funding for CARE schools for at-risk secondary students
CARE schools are not-for-profit, non-government schools
Schools which provide education and support to some of Western Australia’s most troubled teenagers will receive an extra $3million in the 2014-15 State Budget.
CARE (Curriculum and Re-engagement) schools provide individual case management for students who struggle to meet the requirements of mainstream education. Many have problems with mental and emotional health, homelessness, and drug and alcohol abuse.
Students are often referred by public secondary school principals and Department of Education staff after several serious incidents at school or long-term absenteeism.
In a pre-Budget announcement, Education Minister Peter Collier said the State Government was delivering on an election commitment to provide extra funding to CARE schools.
About $1million has already been provided in 2013-14 and the State Budget will provide funding through to 2016-17. The funding is on top of the normal per-capita grant provided by the State Government to all non-government schools.
Mr Collier said the schools focused greater attention on at-risk students by offering intensive support and supervision, with one staff member for every 10 students.
“These students often come from backgrounds where their social, emotional or behavioural circumstances are extremely challenging. If they don’t improve their engagement with education they are jeopardising their chances of a secure and productive future,” he said.
“The Government is committed to ensure that all Western Australian children receive the best possible education and CARE schools provide fantastic support for the most at-risk students.”
About 900 students are enrolled across 10 registered CARE schools from Geraldton to Albany. There are 17 separate campuses in Perth and three in regional areas. The schools do not charge fees and are funded by the State, Commonwealth and non-government sectors.
This is just one part of the State Government’s Better Behaviour and Stronger Pastoral Care strategy. The strategy has more than doubled the number of chaplains in State schools since 2008 from 236 to 598 last year. Every public school now has access to a school psychologist, with 290 full-time equivalent psychologists employed throughout WA public schools.
Election priority to provide $1m a year on top of normal funds from 2013-14 to 2016-17
In 2013-14, CARE schools received $4.4m in per-capita grants plus the $1m extra. Annual grants vary according to student numbers and other factors
Registered CARE schools have increased from six to 10 since 2008
Enrolments have increased by 81% from May 2009 to about 900 students now, mainly in years 10, 11 and 12