Community Beliefs about Rural and Regional Education and Students’ School Completion

Jane Watson, Suzie Wright, Kim Beswick, Jeanne Maree Allen, Ian Hay, Neil Cranston


School completion to the end of Year 12 in rural, regional, and disadvantaged communities is an acknowledged challenge in Australia and internationally.  This research reports the beliefs of 86 rural and regional community leaders in the Australian state of Tasmania.  A survey on issues associated with students’ school completion was designed specifically for community members, and responded to by the study participants.  Findings that emerged from the data analysis included that participants were on average quite positive about the capability of students in the community and the potential for business/organisation links with schools.  Some concern was expressed, however, about bullying in schools and students having well-formed plans for their futures after finishing school. This study provides a benchmark for future research with community members on their beliefs about issues related to students’ educational aspirations and students’ continuation in school. It has implications for policy makers, school leaders, and teachers at a national and international level.

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