Schools working with communities

The "Schools working with communities" program has a specific focus on schools’ engagement with young people and their communities.

The "Schools working with communities" program has a specific focus on schools’ engagement with young people and their communities. It will feature a critical engagement with the key features of contemporary schooling to explore how schools are or are not meeting the needs of some of the most marginalised young people in Australia. Much of this research will be concerned with global, national and local policies as well as internal school dynamics. It will include how different school settings perpetuate or alleviate inequalities and/or social exclusion of young people.

Of particular importance are the ways in which contemporary schools perpetuate and/or challenge the exclusion of Indigenous students, communities, knowledges and cultures from education. Research studies in this area will work with large data sets, e.g. LSAY and Census, as well as more ethnographic and case study work, to explore schools’ engagement with their local community. An important component of this research will be considerations of how and to whom schools should be accountable. 

Accountability has been a heavily loaded term in education due to its narrow usage. There will be focus here on the nuanced and complex picture that the team’s research skills will bring to light in relation to whose accounts count, whose accounts should be counted, and how to account for those important aspects of schooling and education that are not easily counted. This focus will be central to providing much needed contextual insights into ‘rich’ accountabilities as they intersect with and support children’s rights, young people’s voice, alternative modes of addressing common school issues (e.g. discipline, truancy), curriculum and school policy approaches that address external student risk factors that impact on school performance (e.g., substance abuse, depression, family violence), parental and community engagement with schooling and ensuring that the concerns of the most marginalised young people (e.g. in detention, in the youth justice system, refugee children) about schooling are heard.


The first research activity will be an exploration of the ways in which the Queensland government’s EATSIPS (Embedding Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Perspectives in Schools) policy has been taken up in Qld schools.

EATSIPS is grounded in the belief that teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander perspectives will help improve outcomes for Indigenous people, as well as improve learning and understanding of all students, and importantly, help school communities to build long lasting relationships with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

We will focus on the enactment of ‘good practice’ EATSIPS take up of this policy and the conditions that support and enable good practices within school communities. We will focus on specific sites identified by Indigenous policy workers involved in EATSIPS implementation and seek to understand the complexity of EATSIPS enactment from the perspective of Indigenous community representatives, teachers and Principals in each School.