Larter evaluated the Be Well Learn Well program to assess key activities and identify program outcomes. The evaluation also identified factors influencing the successes of and challenges that faced the program, to generate insights into how the program can be enhanced.
CheckUP Australia and Be Well Learn Well program
The Be Well Learn Well program (BWLW) is a Queensland Department of Education program. CheckUP works in partnership with Gidgee Healing and the Apunipima Cape York Health Council, Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Services in Far North and North West Queensland, to deliver culturally appropriate allied health services for remote schools.
The BWLW program is a school-based initiative that aims to improve the health, education, and learning outcomes of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in remote communities. It integrates early intervention and health promotion methodologies, and brings together education and health professionals to address risk factors affecting child development and schooling outcomes holistically and promptly. The program incorporates input from various stakeholders and aims to address developmental and learning needs, taking into consideration the deep history of intergenerational trauma and disadvantage.
The program supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students’ developmental needs through the delivery of targeted Speech Pathology, Occupational Therapy, Psychology, and Clinical Psychology services to identify and address behavioural and learning issues. The objectives of the BWLW program include:
- Conducting classroom and individual student developmental needs assessments and targeted therapy where needed
- Conducting home visits and introducing conversations in the home and community around comprehensive care and specific intervention strategies
- Strengthening knowledge and capacity of school staff through training in identifying learning difficulties and utilising evidence-based strategies in the classroom environment.
Larter’s evaluation objectives were to determine:
- The program’s impact on health outcomes of participating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students
- The program’s impact on schools overall and teaching staff in building their capacity to better support the learning and developmental needs of students in the classroom
- The benefits of delivering health and developmental services in a school setting
- The enablers and barriers to delivering a school-based health and development support service.
After conducting a desktop review of the program data, Larter consulted key stakeholders using strategic interviews. Key stakeholders included:
- CheckUP Australia representatives
- Queensland Department of Education representatives
- Key representatives from Program Partners (Gidgee Healing and Apunipima Cape York health Council)
- School leadership (principals, heads of special education services, among others).
A wide range of topics were explored with stakeholders including program implementation and perceived outcomes of the program on students, teachers, and the school overall. The program’s successes, as well as barriers to, and enablers of program implementation were also investigated and unpacked.
In addition to stakeholder consultations, Larter conducted more detailed assessments of three schools using a case study approach, with site visits. Larter made a strategic decision to only sample a limited number of schools as cases. This was informed by our experience in evaluating multi-location initiatives such as the BWLW program, which suggested that while the program will have been implemented in some predictable and planned ways, there will always be variation between locations based on the context in which they operate. Our case study approach allowed for a more detailed understanding of the experience of project partners, schools, staff, and students in the context in which these schools operated. Five schools indicated that they were open to a case study visit, of which three selected by Larter and CheckUP Australia together.
Organising these visits proved challenging in light of the evolving COVID-19 pandemic response, and the location of these schools in high-risk, remote Indigenous communities. Larter engaged a primary education specialist for these visits, based in FNQ, to mitigate any risk of introducing COVID-19 to the communities, and to ensure subject matter expertise guided on-site interviews.
The expert conducted interviews with school principals, nominated teaching staff, and allied health staff. Student and family interviews were out of scope, given the vulnerable group, and related ethical challenges. As an indirect source of student and family insights, student liaison or Aboriginal Liaison Officers were interviewed.
The evaluation culminated in a detailed evaluation report and a presentation of findings (videoconference for 15 stakeholder representatives). Both deliverables met CheckUP Australia’s expectations, and the case studies in particular were very well received. CheckUP Australia rated these as being powerful, and useful in showcasing the impact of the project from diverse perspectives.
“I think the report is great and I particularly enjoyed the different case studies from school staff and providers. I think these are quite powerful and show the impact the project is having from a few different perspectives.” (Business Lead – School Initiatives)
What Larter can do
Larter evaluators are skilled in working with Indigenous communities to unpack powerful insights into what success looks like for community, and in finding common ground with funder requirements. Larter consultants are specialists in data collection design and analysis to generate actionable insights, to inform how existing programs or services can be enhanced to bring positive change.
Contact us to explore how Larter can help your organisation and community through meaningful evaluation.