Student Disengagement

 Why We Need SHINE

Kids who don’t go to school have a reason”, said Amy. “They might not talk about it, but they have a reason.

SHINE currently collaborates with senior high schools to actively connect with adolescent female students who are at risk of disengaging from the conventional education system.

These girls are at risk of disengaging because of personal disruption to, disconnection from or discontinuity with the school curriculum and the school community.

The schools nominate students to participate in SHINE and are identified through one or more of the following circumstances:

  • the student has poor school attendance
  • the student has poor behaviour at school
  • the student has a difficult and / or dangerous home situation
  • the student engages in risk taking behaviour
  • the student displays negative body issues (for example, self-harm).

Facts and Figures

Students become disengaged from education for many reasons, including the learning environment not meeting their needs, homelessness, family breakdown, poverty, mental health problems, low self-esteem, previous poor educational experiences, low educational achievement and challenging behaviours.

(Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, 2015)

Levels of student engagement in school – cognitive, emotional and behavioural – as well as student dispositions towards school and learning (sense of belonging, sense of purpose, self-efficacy, determination or grit) vary by student background and are correlated with achievement.

(Lamb, Jackson, Walstab, & Huo, 2015)

Students with high rates of non-attendance are more likely to leave school early and are less likely to undertake alternative education and training pathways.

(Wheatley & Spillane 2001)

Research has also shown a strong positive relationship between truancy and crime.

(Purdie & Buckley, 2010)

Most forms of disengagement, such as absence, disruptive behaviour, and poor school connectedness, are associated with lower achievement.

(Kirsten J. Hancock & Zubrick, 2015)

Students who leave school early are at greater risk of unemployment, low income, social exclusion, risky health behaviours, and engaging in crime. When these young people go on to have their own families, their ability to support their children at school is diminished and their children are also faced with an increased likelihood of disengagement.

(Hancock & Zubrick, 2015)

Young people at risk of experiencing one or multiple indicators of school disengagement include:

  • students living in families with limited resources, including human, psychological and social capital, income or time
  • students who arrive at school with limited school readiness
  • students who do not form a connection with school, peers or teachers
  • students with frequent absences
  • students who are not achieving well
  • students with chronic illness, disability or mental health issues
  • Aboriginal students
  • students living in more remote areas
  • students living in areas of concentrated disadvantage
  • students attending schools with a concentration of disadvantaged students

(Hancock & Zubrick, 2015)