School Based Research Projects - Warakirri College

Enhancing Literacy Acquisition in Vulnerable Senior Secondary Students


Warakirri College serves young people 15-22 years old who have disconnected from mainstream education due to severe mental health problems and social disadvantage.  Over 80% of Warakirri students have a social/emotional disability and only 20% have a reading age of 15+ years.  The school has campuses at Fairfield, Blacktown and Campbelltown with students in stage 5 or 6.

Our project aims to identify, implement and evaluate strategies that will enable vulnerable Stage 5 and 6 students to improve their ability to read, comprehend and evaluate the texts required for them to complete their schooling and proceed to employment, post-secondary training, or higher education, in order to function independently in the community once they leave school.

We seek to determine the extent to which:

  • our students can be engaged in a targeted language and literacy intervention devised by a speech pathologist;
  • they make measurable gains in language/reading/comprehension competency, school engagement and general wellbeing;   
  • they attach value to the experience.

Our literature search supports the contention that students who have better language and literacy skills will have fewer behaviour issues, increased attendance, enhanced academic progress and improved self-esteem and wellbeing. 

We will be using a variety of tools to measure language/literacy competence, school engagement, wellbeing, attendance and behaviour patterns.

 Findings will be presented in the form of numerical data, graphs and case studies.

School Based Research Projects

Each year member schools in NSW are invited to apply for funding and support to conduct a two year School Based Research Project. Successful projects are awarded in areas of education which ultimately impact student outcomes and make substantial contributions to new insights in and beyond individual schools. These Projects aim to build research capacity and cultures of research engagement in practicing teachers and/or school leaders in the independent sector.

For more information visit our School Based Research Application page or contact the team at The Evidence Institute.

The Evidence Institute

Click here for more information generally on the work of The Evidence Institute or contact a member of the team.