Boarding Australia is contributing to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Secondary Boarding Reference Group to address challenges faced by students and their families in accessing secondary education.

The 2017 Study Away Review revealed numerous barriers faced by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students studying away from home, including:

  • inadequate communication with students and their families about the transition to boarding away from home 
  • the overly complex process of applying for ABSTUDY 
  • inadequate travel arrangements

The Reference Group brings together a range of representatives in the boarding sector that the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet Senior Advisor, Jing-Ting Chan says will provide solutions.

Jing-Ting Chan | Senior Adviser Boarding Pathways | Education, Community Safety and Health Division Indigenous Affairs Group | Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet

‘We really want to take advantage of the work that Boarding Australia is doing in the boarding sector and include state and territory governments and boarding school/resident representatives so we can work collaboratively,’ says Chan.

‘This is the first time we have had a sustained effort to support secondary boarding students.’

‘We know that boarding providers sometimes don’t understand our processes, but we also know that they are the link to families and students, so we really want to have direct connection with them.’

‘Over time we would like the Reference Group to include parents and student representatives and we’re looking at ways we can do this,’ Chan says.

The Reference Group has identified five key tasks with each to have its own working group:

  • build evidence/knowledge base
  • improve coordination of services
  • better support boarding students 
  • empower parents and communities
  • improve student financial support

The Reference Group is still seeking representation for all working groups.  Register your interest by contacting  [email protected].

For more information read Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Secondary Boarding Reference Group Terms of Reference.

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