House bringing parents closer

NRL Cowboys House is immersing parents in their children’s education journey with a fresh approach to communicating changes and challenges for students during their senior school years.

An interactive session with parents and House education and career transitions staff was held on campus over two days this week, with 27 parents of Year 10-12 students travelling from community to learn more about their children’s pathways through QCE, ATAR and VET and how the House and families can support the students in these important years.

Parents heard from James Cook University on university pathways and Waanyi Downer’s House careers transitions officer Antonio Winterstein on ‘Year 13’ transitions and apprenticeships, with the opportunity for one-on-one interviews with education and transitions staff.

The session was the first of its kind for the House, a result of the dedicated education team’s progressive approach and changes to ABSTUDY which provide greater support for parents to attend education events in person.

For House Education Manager Mary McInnes and her team, the day was an exciting opportunity to set a new benchmark for engagement between the House, parents, students and schools.

“Having access to information and the opportunity to ask questions of educators is something most parents in urban centres would take for granted,” Ms McInnes said.

“For our parents, their child’s boarding facility and schools are thousands of kilometres away from their communities where connectivity can be a challenge and distance can impact their level of knowledge and understanding of their child’s studies.

“We’re levelling the playing field for our families and congratulate our parents on their commitment and determination to supporting and guiding their children through the end of high school, into senior and then on to further education, training or employment.

“This is a difficult time for lots of young people who have grown up without the social, academic and health challenges that a number of our students come to us with, so our wraparound model of care at NRL Cowboys House is essential in creating the same opportunities as their urban peers.”

Cowboys Community Foundation Director Fiona Pelling described the session as an ‘incredible achievement’.

“We’re very proud of our House staff and parents for being part of this initiative,” she said.

“This is paving the way for best practice and demonstrating how things should be done.

“It is removing the barrier of distance not only for our young people but for parents to be able to participate in their child’s education.”

NRL Cowboys House is providing supported and culturally-safe accommodation for 104 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from 23 remote communities this year, while they attend nine secondary schools and training organisations in Townsville.

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