We will support up to 200 marginalised girls aged 12-18 at Birrong Girls High School in Western Sydney to find their voice, build their confidence and develop vital writing skills through inspiring creative writing workshops.
Birrong Girls High has a significant culturally and linguistically diverse population, with 95% of students coming from a language background other than English. 57% of students fall into the bottom quarter of socio-educational disadvantage, and many have low literacy levels.
The impact of poor literacy is lifelong, impacting future education and employment prospects, and contributing to intergenerational cycles of disadvantage. Our creative writing programs address these inequalities and have proven impacts for young people, including increased academic engagement and ability. Across 2022, we will run 2×7-week creative writing programs each term, engaging up to 25 girls per program. Students will be supported every step of the way by our expert teaching staff and volunteer tutors to achieve the ultimate goal: producing their very own creative work. At the culmination of each program, students will be gifted a handsomely published book of their work as a celebration of their achievements.
In the wake of COVID-19, this project will encourage young girls to re-engage in their learning at a critical time, and develop the skills and confidence needed to thrive at school and beyond, contributing to greater gender equality and shaping a better world.
Our expected outcomes for all participating Birrong Girls High School students are:
Long term benefits for participating girls include increased academic engagement and achievement, a greater sense of aspiration and self, and the development of vital, transferable skills such as literacy, creative thinking, and critical analysis.
We will know the project has been successful if:
We will measure the impact of the project through our robust internal evaluation processes, developed in collaboration with evaluation consultancy Clear Horizon. The evaluation gathers student surveys, as well as qualitative and quantitative feedback from teachers and other staff about the changes they see in their young people. Teachers have the best view on questions such as whether students are engaging in new ways; if their confidence has grown; and if they are more motivated to write. Results are incredibly important to us, as they allow us to assess program strengths, weaknesses, viability and effectiveness.
Analysis of feedback will help us evaluate the project and shape our future delivery of programs to ensure that we are maximising benefits and impacts for all of the young people we work with. Results will be shared with project funders to report back on their impact, as well as with schools and teachers, to aid them in their ongoing work with students.
Established in 2012, Story Factory is a not-for-profit creative writing organisation based in Redfern and Parramatta, Sydney. Our mission is to empower young people aged 7-17 in under-resourced communities through creative writing and storytelling. Reading is access, but writing is agency – without strong writing skills, children cannot actively engage in their education. Each week, our expert Storytellers and trained volunteer tutors work with close to one thousand marginalised young people in our creative writing programs, increasing their motivation to learn, improving their writing skills and expanding their future prospects. Since opening in 2012, our achievements include:
– 35,000+ student enrolments, with nearly 8,000 enrolments in 2021;
– 19% Indigenous and 44% from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds;
– Building a corps of over 400 trained volunteer writing tutors;
– Recognition of our work with multiple awards, including Co-Founder and Executive Director Dr Catherine Keenan AM being named 2016 Australian of the Year Local Hero, and being admitted to the Order of Australia (AM) in 2019.