Homework Club – lessons learned after school

Attendance at school can be an indicator of academic performance, but it’s often hard to figure out what motivates kids to go to school, or not.

One school in the greater Fremantle area has experienced an increase in attendance and an associated lift in the academic performance of some of their students – and the source is an unexpected one.

A few years ago, small groups of unsupervised children were spending time after school hours in the Library opposite the Caralee Community School to make use of free wi-fi. But their presence was disruptive and at times threatening. A group of stakeholders including the South West Metropolitan Forum, the City of Melville, and the principals of Caralee Community School and Melville Senior High School chose to take a positive approach to meeting the need arising from this situation.

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Reasoning that what the kids needed was the presence of an authority figure they could respect, the team secured funding from the City of Melville for a short-term solution, placing an Education Assistant in the library. That solution has now been in place for three years, and has grown into the Homework Club. The Club offers attendees one on one tutoring, and they use supervised access to the library’s resources to complete their homework and assignments.

The outcome is that among kids who regularly attend the library after hours, school attendance has increased by up to 20% – they do their homework more regularly and their academic performance has improved, and because they are no longer afraid or embarrassed to come to school, they are also less prone to disruptive behaviour.

Although the original program was intended to be a short term solution, ongoing funding via the Fremantle Foundation and other partners ensures it will remain in place for the foreseeable future.

The Homework Club is a valuable lesson in the practical benefits of a positive approach to a challenging issue. Vital Signs_learning_email003