Engaging disengagement

Disengaged students



If the data is consistent 10% of youths between the age of 16 to 18 are not engaged in education, employment, or training (a stitch in time: tackling educational disengagement). The ongoing cost for people who have disengaged will grow ever-increasing as society relies less on unskilled labor.


Technological change, greater labor market flexibility, and economic reforms are transforming the workplace. In Australia the labor growth sections are;

  • Health Care and Social Assistance
  • Professional, Scientiļ¬c and Technical Services
  • Education and Training
  • Mining 
  • Construction 
The jobs in decline are;
  • Manufacturing 
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
The Future Of All Work, And Not Just For Creatives - trends in USA

 “With the avalanche of new products, new technologies, and new ways of working, workers are going to have to become more creative in order to benefit from these changes.”



The disengaged ex-students have a decreasing employment prospect.
Has education failed these students? 
Whether the answer is yes or no there needs to be a stronger focus on trying to reducing disengaged students.


What are the indicators?
  • a poor attitude towards learning and enjoyment of learning
  • a long tail of underachievement
  • social background & attainment -> deprived backgrounds with good prior attainment
  • persistent truancy from secondary school
  • schools that suffers from poor behaviour and image
  • children from deprived backgrounds
  • children with special needs
  • children in local authority care
  • children with ESL needs

The problem
Whilst the problem of disengagement and the immediate effect of the disengagement is evident in older student groups it is the younger groups that require significant attention. Students are switching off from education at an early stage.


Two questions

  • How can educators identify and risk manage behavioral disengagement, emotional engagement & cognitive engagement in the early stages of schooling?
  • If engagement is closely linked to inclusion and if the indicators (above) refer to exclusion how can schools provide a service for the excluded?
Inclusion programs are required however the programs required need to be a differentiated service.  
  • Inclusion programs within sport, recreation, cultural and participatory activities.
  • Identification programs to provide service support for low-level truancy, health issues, police, pregnancy, drug consumption, and family conflict.
  • Interventionist programs that support students through high-level truancy, sexual violence, mental health, not residing at home, and family breakdown.
Possible solutions
Inclusion programs will not work if education is primarily focussed on classroom activities. Schools need to enable adaptive learning solutions. 
  • Formal recognition of activities outside of school
  • Informal eLearning essential learning packages (Games based)
  • Formal distance education eLearning solutions (course-based)
  • Flipping the classroom - on-line content - supporting classroom-based activities
  • Mobile learning solutions via social networking platforms
  • Flexible approaches to engagement 
  • Partnership programs operated by community service organizations
  • Alternative education programs such as the notSchool
  • Schools provide relevant programs of learning
  • Teachers provide inclusive instruction














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