Coming to grips with student mobility and policy implications: a case study from regional Queensland

Hill, Angela, Navin, Fiona, and Lynch, Andrea (2010) Coming to grips with student mobility and policy implications: a case study from regional Queensland. In: AARE 2009 Conference proceedings. pp. 1-10. From: AARE 2009 International Education Research Conference, 29 November - 3 December 2009, Canberra, ACT, Australia.

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In 2008, in what could be considered a significant shift in Australian education policy, Rudd and Gillard stated that,"'business as usual' in Australian schools will not, by itself, substantially lift educational outcomes, particularly in low SES communities" (2008, p.26). They highlighted the need for schools to not only "commit to excellence in teaching and learning within the classroom, but . . . be prepared to address the range of external factors that impact on students' ability to engage in learning"(ibid).

This paper summarises some of the issues exposed through a collaborative research project with schools related to one set of external factors in lower socio-economic communities - student mobility or movement of students between schools. Taking a policy research perspective, informed by Dale(1989), Rist (2005) and Ball (1994), the paper examines the relationship between 'wider policies of the state' in particular marketisation and considers how mobility plays out in school sites, specifically school sites marked by poverty.

The paper firstly presents an overview of the issues related to the measurement of mobility outlining the various ways stability within school populations has been measured. The paper argues for a measurement tool that reflects both the transactional pressure student mobility creates for schools and teachers but also the complexity conferred by poverty, suggesting that current metrics effectively mask issues of mobility within such communities.

The paper then presents research findings on the work of schools and teachers in relation to mobile students. Through a detailed analysis of this work, actions are located as serving the interests of the state - technical transactions related to the Education (General Provisions) Act 2006, practical requirements related to inducting students to a new school and, most importantly, critical actions related to student learning and support needs. The use of this framework to examine the work of teachers exposes the 'complex interplay of interests' (Ball, 1997) that require visibility within any policy reform.

Using Rist's (2005) notion of research as having an 'enlightenment function' the paper argues that sustained collaborative research with schools can expose the complexities of such phenomena as student mobility. In the context of renewed commitment to 'needs based funding', the paper concludes with suggested directions to support individual case management of mobile students within a social justice framework and a call for the reconsideration of the role of the state in order to reduce mobility in low SES communities.

Item ID: 18483
Item Type: Conference Item (Research - E1)
ISSN: 1324-9320
Keywords: student mobility, policy implications, lower SES communities, regional Queensland, education, movement of students, poverty
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2012 23:00
FoR Codes: 13 EDUCATION > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education > 130304 Educational Administration, Management and Leadership @ 60%
13 EDUCATION > 1399 Other Education > 139999 Education not elsewhere classified @ 40%
SEO Codes: 93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9304 School/Institution > 930403 School/Institution Policies and Development @ 20%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9304 School/Institution > 930402 School/Institution Community and Environment @ 20%
93 EDUCATION AND TRAINING > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939903 Equity and Access to Education @ 60%
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