About Us

About Us

Our Story

Back on Track WA is the first education advocacy program to be established in Western Australia. Education advocates support any child cancer patient whenever the need arises, during and/or after treatment. The Back on Track WA program seeks to ensure children who go through cancer treatment:

  • do not fall through the cracks with their education due to the enormous strain treatment can have and
  • make the relationship with the parents, teachers and the education services more focused on the child’s needs.

About Us

Back on Track WA is a service provided by the Child Cancer Research Foundation (CCRF), who have been supporting the childhood cancer community in WA for 42 years. The relationships with family members highlighted, to CCRF leadership, that there were many gaps in support for children who go through treatment. The Chief Operating Officer of CCRF spent three years researching with families, children who have gone through treatment, adults who have had cancer as a child and support organisations. All reflected the same response when asked if having an advocate support a child’s education needs during treatment would have improved a child’s education levels post-treatment. The responses were unanimous in support of this program.

The research also highlighted that children were slipping further and further with their education, and the anxiety they felt about returning to class was immeasurable. Teachers that were interviewed, regarding how they have coped with a returning student from cancer treatment, showed high anxiety levels. The students and the teacher indicated that they struggled with how best to support the child who may be returning. Additionally, the student returning is very self-conscious physically; however, the anxiety grew when they felt ‘behind’ with class work.

CCRF is in a unique position to deliver this program because it is a funding body for child cancer research and supports the childhood cancer community. The setup and structure of the Foundation are such that knowing how to fund long-term projects to deliver successful outcomes is part of its mission and vision. Strong partnerships between organisations with a common vision are critical to ensure successful educational outcomes for students. We have built an active partnership with the School of Special Educational Needs: Medical and Mental Health (SSEN:MMH), who provide statewide continuity of education for students with serious illness, during the inpatient, learning at home and school transition phases of the young person’s journey.

Funding an Education Advocacy program that supports children back in their classrooms will ensure that no Australian child is left behind. Just because they have been diagnosed with cancer should not mean they have to stop living life. That includes learning. It’s vital to a child’s mental health to live like life has a future. There is no better future for all involved than continuing to support education. Many of the children we have worked with over the years in Western Australia have gone on to become Doctors, Nurses and Research Scientists, despite the loss of their education during treatment.

Interested in our program?

If you’re interested in enrolling your child, register today. Or if you want to find out more information about the Back on Track WA program, download our brochure below.

What We Do Regardless of where they live, the Back on Track WA program provides the following services to children who have been diagnosed with and treated for cancer:
Education Support Educational support and advocacy during treatment and beyond
Communicate with the student’s enrolling school and SSEN:MMH
Mentoring Mentoring, tutoring, social and emotional learning for students and siblings
Online Education Curriculum support in partnership with online education providers
Support for teachers and class members when the student is ready to return to school

How does it work?

How does it work?
Referrals Referrals Students can be referred to the Back on Track Program at the point of diagnosis or beyond.
Who can refer Who Can Refer? They can be referred by the Oncology Team, their teacher or school, medical professionals and parents.
Consent Consent After receiving a referral, our advocates will contact parents to set an appointment to explain the Back on Track program to everyone in the family.
School Engagement School Engagement Once consent has been given, the Back on Track advocates will contact the student’s school to explain how the program works for both the school and the family and encourage the school’s participation.
Transitioning Back on Track Transitioning Back on Track When the student is ready to return to their regular school routine, the Back on Track advocate will work with all stakeholders to ensure the transition back to school is easy and comfortable.

Who We Work With

The Back on Track WA team work with primary and high school students who are referred from a number of charities and support groups as well as the Perth Children’s Hospital Paediatric Oncology and Survivorship Teams and the School of Special Educational Needs: Medical and Mental Health.