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Empowering Futures: School Screening Program 

Enhancing child health and development outcomes in the Nambucca Valley through innovation, capacity building and community collaboration.

Empowering Futures: School Screening Program

An innovative program delivered directly to your students

Empowering Futures: School Screening Program 

Imagine having access to comprehensive data pinpointing the strengths and areas for growth of every new kindergarten student. Visualise receiving detailed class reports categorising children as On Track, Ongoing Support, or Not on Track in their development.


Consider the time saved for teachers, counsellors, and support staff in planning interventions and communicating with families – no more chasing parents for discussions about children teachers are concerned about. Our program handles it all: from screening to parent follow-up, referrals to external services, and personalised learning plans for at-risk or vulnerable students. This frees up your teachers to focus on what they do best: teaching and nurturing young minds.

Now, picture streamlined reports for disability supports, Personalised Learning Plans (PLPs), community connections, family capacity building, and funding applications – all achievable by joining our 2024 Empowering Futures School Screening Program. Here is the best part – we're not just outsiders; we're local health and education professionals who understand the unique needs of schools, children, and families in the Nambucca Valley. Partner with us for a brighter future for your students.

We are on a mission to partner with all primary schools in the Nambucca Valley, and we are off to a great start with 8 out of 12 local change-making schools that have committed to supporting their students and families to access essential child health and development support screening to ensure every child is supported to reach their full learning potential. 

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Why does your school need Empowering Futures?

  • Increasing rates of poor school readiness skills: As many as 60% of children starting school in 2024 will be developmentally Not On Track.

  • High community disadvantage and vulnerability: The Nambucca Valley ranks in the top 10 NSW suburbs for poverty, child protection reports, and community violence, directly impacting brain growth and child development.

  • Limited community services: The Nambucca Valley is underserved in areas of child health and development, with extensive wait periods of 3 -18 months for health and early intervention support.

  • Complicated referral pathways: Navigating the health and community sector can be challenging for schools, but our extensive networks enable us to complete referrals within one week of screening children.

  • Time limitations for teachers: Teachers often lack additional time to follow up on external services, engage with parents, and plan community support, resulting in many working outside their designated hours to meet the needs of families and children.

  • Lack of standardised access to health and development data: Schools lack standard access to data for student cohorts, hindering their ability to inform teachers about children's readiness and abilities.

  • Limited knowledge of external community pathways: Schools face challenges in accessing external pathways in health, family support, and early intervention, necessitating enhanced collaboration and information sharing.

  • Difficulty in accessing specialised health pathways: Schools encounter difficulties in accessing specialised health pathways and family support services, contributing to gaps in student support.

  • Need for integrated health and education interventions: Escalating vulnerability in children's physical health and socioeconomic hardships underscores the need for integrated interventions, which our program aims to provide.

The Need

What does the Empowering Futures Program involve?

Program Overview:

  • Our program is delivered in schools to assess health, development, and learning outcomes in kindergarten children to identify those who are On Track, At Risk, or Vulnerable.

  • Utilises a play-based approach and a non-invasive, universally inclusive model.

  • Utilises a validated screening tool designed to identify developmental delays in children from 4 - 7 years.

Program Components:

  • Ear Health and Hearing Screening for all children.

  • Development and School Readiness Assessment across 8 key Development Areas (Fine and Gross motor, adaptive skills, social-emotional skills, social communication skills, cognitive skills, early literacy skills, and early numeracy skills).

  • Conducted in groups of 4 children, taking approximately 45 minutes to complete.

  • All parents/caregivers receive an individualised child report highlighting the outcome of On Track or Not On Track, along with a graph representation of the child's areas of strength and areas for continued growth.

  • Children identified as 'Not on track' receive a complementary consultation with the Young Minds Team to discuss their child's report in detail and determine the next steps for support.


School Support:

  • Schools will receive a report providing cohort data on the number of children On Track, At Risk, or Vulnerable in one or more areas, along with a comparison of school data to NSW outcomes for all children.

  • This report highlights areas of strength and growth across the kindergarten cohort, informing teaching strategies and responses to children's skills and learning abilities.

  • Schools receive a report highlighting hearing outcomes of children documented as Pass or Refer and the number of children requiring follow-up in the community. 

  • Schools gain access to individualised child screening reports (with parental consent) to assist teachers in understanding child abilities, support learning support teams in creating learning support plans, aid school counsellors in assessing children, and assist in integrated funding applications or diagnosis pathways.

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What is Empwering Futures?
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How will Empowering Futures help your school?

Reduction of Administrative Burdens:

  • Allows educators to focus more on teaching and student engagement.

  • Enables schools to liaise with feeder preschools to showcase areas of strength and growth, informing preparation for the following year's cohort.

  • Facilitates discussions with parents about areas for support with in-home activities, fostering collaborative efforts between home and school environments.

Whole Kindergarten Cohort Screening:

  • Facilitates early identification of developmental status (On Track, At Risk, Vulnerable) for each student.

Reports Highlighting Strengths and Areas for Growth:

  • Aids teachers in prioritising learning needs across individual classes and student cohorts.

Access to Individualised Screening Reports and Learning Plans:

  • Tailors support to each student's unique requirements.


School Data Tracking:

  • Against statewide and national benchmarks enables progress monitoring and informs strategic planning.

Comparative Data Analysis:

  • Against other schools in the Nambucca Valley fosters collaboration and informs region-wide initiatives.

Comprehensive Community Directory and Pathways:

  • Streamline access to local health, community, and early intervention services.

Family Support and Referrals:

  • Reduce the time investment required for school problem-solving and external support pathways, particularly for students Not On Track.

Supports your community to reduce developmental vulnerability in the Nambucca Valley, sustainably:

  • Changing population outcomes requires a collective community response. We invite all schools in the Nambucca Valley to participate in our innovative program so we can improve outcomes for all children attending local schools. We can raise the potential of all children starting their educational journey if we work together and commit to being equal partners in improving the lives of our youngest community members. 

School Benefits
Register a School

Register your school for our 2024 Empowering Futures Program. 

We would love to have you join our team of local schools pledging their commitment to improving school readiness and developmental outcomes in the Nambucca Valley by 2027. 

Thank you for registering. Our team will be in contact with you shortly.

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