Disengagement and young people

It has been very difficult to gain data on disengagement by young people from education. Part of the reason has been a definition. It is recognised that there is no standard definition of what is a disengaged student. Therefore the collection of any data is quite problematic and there is no database held by anyone with this group identified and quantified.

Far North Region Department of Education & Training defined disengaged young people as:

  1. remote area young people that are boarding school students (students who have returned to community from boarding colleges down south);
  2. highly mobile young people including those from interstate who are not enrolled.
  3. Youth Justice – characterised as disengaged for a number of years and high percentage are Indigenous;
  4. Early school leavers
  5. young people not at home and not enrolled;
  6. young people identified/referred via public;
  7. young people previously enrolled in home school and no longer enrolled;  and
  8. remote student – post compulsory but no program offered in the community and not enrolled.

Data collected in 2013 by Department Education in the Far North Region had comparative attendance rates for Cairns State High Schools/Colleges and Far North Queensland Region State High Schools/colleges to Queensland State High Schools in 2012 are as follows: (2011 figures in brackets).

Cairns High Schools: 87.7% (88.8%)
FNR State High Schools: 86.3% (87%)
State High schools: 88.6% (88.6%)

An early exit survey was administered by DET for the past 3 years.  In semester 1 2012 there were over 500 students who were early leavers from state schools.  While most found their way back to education a significant number (over 100) were still to be enrolled somewhere.  Almost 50% of these young people were indigenous.  Gender was spread evenly. 


[1] Report for Director General Department Education, Training & Employment 2013 regarding Disengaged Young People in the Far North for the Cairns Safer Street Taskforce