October 10, 2012
Subiaco Football Club is delivering a community engagement program to help Indigenous youth reconnect with school.
The club visits North Balga Primary School and Balga Senior High School one day a week to deliver classroom curriculum and sports clinics.
Subiaco CEO Peter Capes said the program used sport to encourage participation in the classroom.
“Our initial planning was ‘how do we get more kids to play more footy by going through this engagement program?’, now it’s about getting more kids to go to school,” Mr Capes said.
Sport remains the common thread of the program and is used in the literacy and numeracy activities, while the afternoon’s sport session is a reward for classroom participation.
Subiaco’s Community Programs Manager Neil Arnold said if students did not actively participate in the classroom they would not be allowed to take part in the afternoon sport.
“We do use football-based literacy and numeracy lessons,” Mr Arnold said.
“So, for example, a literacy activity might be write a letter to your favourite football star, netball star, basketball star.
“An example of a math activity is simple scoring, things like that – working out the scores from a game of footy.”
Balga Senior High School teacher Jason Bristow said he was impressed with the leadership developed by his students in the program.
“There’s definitely been a couple of good stories with some of the boys, who have done really well, but it’s not something with this group in particular that you’re going to see changes overnight,” Mr Bristow said.
“But those little changes, those one or two, that really encourage you and hopefully down the track there are more and more boys who show the benefit of it.”
The boys are attending school more regularly as a direct result of the program.
“The results in the primary school have been amazing,” Mr Bristow said.
“Some of the attendance rates have increased by as much as 14 per cent, which is 28 days, five-and-a-half school weeks.
“The key part about being involved in the programs are [that] the kids have to come to school.”
Each student who is a part of the program had to sign a contract at the start of the year.
In signing the contract, students agreed to regularly attend school, be active participants and respect themselves.
The program has expanded to include Subiaco Football Club’s country district of Kalgoorlie.