Who is missing out and what are they missing? How the association between absence and achievement varies across students, schools, subjects, and reasons for absence.

Kirsten Hancock

This presentation addresses several questions about the nature of the association between higher absences and lower achievement outcomes. Does the relationship depend on the type of absence? Are absences more problematic for some students than others? How do the socioeconomic characteristics of students and schools affect these patterns? The research uses administrative absence data and NAPLAN scores from the population of Western Australian students attending government schools between 2008 and 2016. Assumptions about the potential impacts of absences are challenged, for example, that illnesses are ‘harmless’ and that low-achievers are more affected by absences than high-achievers. The presentation also discusses differences in what students are missing when they’re absent, how well they can catch up, and what this research can contribute to absence policies in Australia.

Kirsten Hancock is a Life Course Centre Research Fellow at the Telethon Kids Institute, and Adjunct Research Fellow at the University of Western Australia. She uses a broad range of survey and administrative data resources to address questions concerning child development, particularly for vulnerable children and those in families with multiple generations of disadvantage. Kirsten’s current research includes the causes and consequences of school absences, intergenerational inequality in education, longitudinal trajectories of students throughout school, and the long-term school experiences of children with health and mental health concerns.

Relief Teachers access to employment and professional learning: The forgotten cohort of teachers

Dr Helen Dempsey

The requirements for ongoing teacher registration highlight the importance of access to employment and engagement in professional learning. For relief teachers both of these conditions can be challenging, potentially impacting on continued registration. Drawing on my research with early career casual teachers in Western Australia, this presentation focusses on strategies for relief teachers in gaining employment and accessing ongoing professional learning. One of the key strategies is developing relationships with colleagues and this is an opportunity to network with other teachers.

Dr Helen Dempsey is a Lecturer in Education at Murdoch University. Her area of research is casual teaching and in particular early career teachers, utilizing a Communities of Practice approach. Recent teaching areas of interest include professional experience and research projects for the Master of Teach (Primary) as well as educational psychology and sociology.

Reading the Evidence: why Australia should not follow England into the literacy abyss

Dr Paul Gardner

The Australian National Curriculum currently provides greater scope for the study of English in the primary school than its English equivalent. It is a curriculum that is more in tune with the literacy demands of the 21st Century. So, why is it under attack from powerful forces in Australian society that want Australian educators to fall into the same literacy abyss as their English counterparts? This seminar delivers a chilling message from the future for all those who have a love for the teaching of English and offers advice on how to remain in the 21st Century.

Dr Paul Gardner is a Senior Lecturer in Literacy/English in the School of Education at Curtin University. In his PhD he explored the implications of the social construction of writer identity and paradigms of the compositional process. Paul has been in academia for 20 years and has previously worked at three universities in the UK. Before that he had a varied career, which included: teaching English and Drama at high school level; being a Year 5 Leader in a primary school; spending 8 years as an advisory teacher for multicultural education and EAL/D, as well as working in a community arts centre and a Reggio inspired early years setting. This expansive career gives Paul a broad perspective on education which he uses to advantage his students. Paul has a number of recent and relevant publications in the area of Literacy.