Falling through the cracks: providing a more equitable education system for young people during the senior secondary years

Year: 2019

Author: Van, Dyke, Nina, Jackson, Jen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Australia’s education system does not currently deliver the same quality of experience or outcomes for children and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds as for their more advantaged peers. The transition from school to further learning and work is a time when young people from disadvantaged backgrounds are especially vulnerable. They are overrepresented among young people who leave school before completing Year 12, and among those aged 16-24 who are not in education, employment or training; they are underrepresented among students attending university. To fill gaps in the current system, organisations sometimes step in to provide targeted assistance to students who might otherwise fall through the cracks. The aims of this research were to understand where and why the current education system fails young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, with a focus on the later years of secondary schooling through to further education or work; to examine how not-for-profit organisations attempt to fill these gaps; and to provide policy recommendations to help fix these gaps and provide a more socially equitable system of education for our young people. The research design comprised an environmental scan of available information and data regarding young people and pathways from senior secondary schooling to further learning and work using the lens of social justice, as well as examples from organisations working to fill current gaps in the system. The findings are intended to inform policy discussions around how to provide a more equitable educational system in Australia.