The Kimberley region has the highest percentage of students at 'severe educational risk' due to low attendance, according to new figures released in Parliament.
It was revealed during a budget estimates hearing last week that 23 per cent of Kimberley public school students attend class less than 59 per cent of the time, the highest percentage in the State.
This means 1,216 of the Kimberley's 5,270 public school students are deemed by the Education Department to be a 'severe educational risk'.
This is significantly higher than the Pilbara region, where an average of 9.7 students attend class less than 59 per cent and much higher than the State average of 3.6 per cent.
The Kimberley region lost 19.5 Aboriginal and Islander Education Officers (AIEO) FTE as a result of the Barnett Government's 2013 education cuts. These officers play a key role in ensuring Aboriginal students attend and participate in classroom activities.
Comments from Member for Kimberley Josie Farrer:
"These figures represent a huge number of Kimberley students who are being deprived a decent chance at life and something needs to be done.
"It's clear that the Liberal-National Government's attempts to ensure students attend class are not working and a new, innovative approach is needed.
"So far it has shown little desire to address problems with truancy in the Kimberley.
"The problem is far worse in the Kimberley than any other part of the State, particularly the Perth metropolitan area. This Government is ignoring the unique educational needs of children in the region.
"Attendance will continue to decline following the massive cuts to AIEOs in the Kimberley.
"Engagement is the key. There should be a review of the delivery of education programs in Kimberley schools specifically for at-risk students."For high school students this would offer an alternative to mainstream education that would prepare students for pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship entry in year 11. This would incorporate a hands-on delivery model with involvement from Indigenous training organisations and local businesses. "