Cecil Andrews Clontarf Academy
WHAT IS CLONTARF?
Clontarf is a life skills/mentoring/development program – not a football or sports program.
Our mission statement is to improve the education, discipline, life skills, self-esteem and employment prospects of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and by doing so equip them to participate meaningfully in society.
Since opening its first Academy for 25 boys in 2000, the Foundation has grown to cater for about 10,500 boys in more than 139 schools across Western Australia, Northern Territory, Victoria, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australia. In 2020 only, 900 students completed school through to the end of Year 12.
WHAT CLONTARF BELIEVES:
- Our young men are capable and have enormous potential.
- Many of them are in a deep cycle of disadvantage.
- Education is the key to breaking the cycle of disadvantage.
- For many Indigenous boys, school is optional.
- If we want our students to turn up we must create a vibrant, safe and happy environment.
- This environment plus positive role modelling improves the likelihood of the boys being able to achieve to their full potential.
CLONTARF PARTNERS WITH SCHOOLS, FAMILIES & COMMUNITIES
- Clontarf does not work in isolation.
- We partner with schools.
- We engage families. Many families we work with have limited positive experiences within the schooling system so we endeavour to assure them that their child’s best interests are first and foremost!
CLONTARF PROGRAM PILLARS
There are 5 pillars in the Clontarf Program – EDUCATION, LEADERSHIP, WELLBEING, EMPLOYMENT and SPORT.
- Everything we do as part of the Clontarf program is linked to improving education.
- Boys can’t receive an education if they don’t come to school, so attendance is obviously very important.
- Those boys who make an effort are recognised and celebrated.
- At our end of year awards night there is a Junior and Senior Academic Achievement Award, as well as Amazing Attendee Certificates.
- Being a part of Clontarf is about being a good bloke and learning how to become a leader.
- The boys receive lots of different opportunities to develop themselves and their leadership qualities.
- An important part of any young person’s wellbeing is to have the chance to go away as a group, see different places and have new life experiences.
- Every Clontarf boy receives a health check each year to make sure that they are travelling OK.
- We also have health presentations throughout the year about how to stay fit, strong and healthy.
- Breakfast and lunch is provided in the Academy room each day if boys haven’t brought something from home.
- As a Clontarf boy approaches Year 10 there starts to be an increasing focus on employment.
- Every term the senior boys take part in a workplace visit.
- The aim of these visits is for the boys to have practical exposure to a workplace, reinforce the importance of work, broaden their understanding of employment prospects in the area, and also help towards building their capacity to make the future transition from school to work.
- Clontarf helps boys obtain important paperwork and ID that they will need to start our working lives. This includes a birth certificate, tax file number, bank account and Medicare card.
- One of the most important things that anyone needs to enter the workforce is a driver’s licence, so Clontarf helps boys with Learners training as well as the cost of lessons and Practical Driving Assessments.
- Many Aboriginal boys are more comfortable on the sporting field than in the classroom, so this is often where we can build a relationship with a boy and start developing him in other areas.
RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE SCHOOL & CLONTARF ACADEMY
- The School is responsible for the education program of the students – we assist by providing a program that targets attendance and engagement.
- We are an inclusive program and will endeavour to work with all boys regardless of degree of disadvantage/advantage.
- Our KPI’s are enrolment, attendance, retention, attainment and employment.
- We aim to build the self-esteem and resilience of the lads. This makes it easier for them to attend school.
- Our program is relationship driven. We counsel and mentor rather than punish. Clontarf staff act as a non-judgemental non-authoritative third party in their interactions with the boys.
- Our currency is the relationship we have with the boys
- All students in the Clontarf program are still students of the school.
- Academy staff are members of the school community.
- Much of the day-to-day effectiveness of the program revolves around having a vibrant Academy room where the boys feel comfortable.
- Having an Academy room gives the boys ownership of a safe, fun and positive space at school.
- Teachers are always welcome to come and interact in the Academy room or during other Academy activities. The Academy room is not a place to reprimand a student for in school behaviour.
EXAMPLES OF REGULAR WEEKLY ACTIVITIES
- Football training
- Healthy breakfasts
- Clontarf classes
- After school activities
- Reward lunch on Fridays
- Morning pickups before school
EXAMPLES OF INCENTIVE EXCURSIONS
- Football, basketball and cricket games and carnivals
- End of Term Incentive Days
- Employment visits
- Major trip
EFFECTIVE MODEL BEWTEEN TEACHERS & CLONTARF STAFF
- Unless there is an explicit “engagement” focus, only boys who have made an effort with their attendance and behaviour at school can take part in incentive excursions, the aim being to encourage them to continue along this positive path.
- From time to time we may “reward” a boy who has shown significant signs of improvement in attendance or behaviour as a means to try and reengage him.
- If a boy is behaving poorly in the classroom or showing a lack of effort, it is critical that the teacher lets the boy know that they have no choice but to inform Academy staff, and that this may impact on his participation in upcoming Clontarf activities.
- Boys should be fully aware that teachers will be informing us when they behave poorly. Conversely, there’ll be plenty of positive reinforcement from us if he does the right thing!
- This is where the relationship between Clontarf and school staff can be really effective in engaging a boy and keeping him on track.
- Our experience has been that we need to be both consistent and patient with adopting this approach.
- Clontarf staff counsel boys in a restorative not punitive manner. We want our boys to “own” their actions and move forward in a positive way.