CFRE conducted an evaluation of ABC’s On-Country Education program to demonstrate the program’s impact on young people, their families and the community.
ABC’s On-Country Education Program is an alternative education model designed to support vulnerable and disadvantaged Aboriginal children and their parents/carers to transition into early learning and primary school. The program provides an experiential and immersive learning approach with on-country activities to achieve improved childhood and/or adolescent development and educational outcomes.
Key aspects measured in this evaluation were the reach of the program, student satisfaction with the program, changes in student behaviours and school attendance, as well as other changes experienced by families and community. CFRE and ABC negotiated a participatory approach to this evaluation, with ABC hiring their own on-the-ground staff to collect data. This evaluation used a mix of methods including qualitative feedback from students, parents and teachers. Results were analysed by CFRE and findings translated into a series of recommendations for future program iterations.
The ABC On-Country Education Program has shown the capacity to effectively engage students who are otherwise disengaged (or at risk of disengaging) from mainstream learning. Using the findings from the evaluation report, CFRE prepared an application to Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) and the program has recently been approved as a promising program.