Introducing Louise Shedden

Primary School Education Advocate for Back on Track

As an educator, I have always been drawn to work in places and with students who need more than what a traditional school can provide. From the early stages of my career, I found myself venturing into challenging and unconventional educational roles. My journey began teaching all boys in an Islamic College in Kewdale, Western Australia—a setting that initially seemed unfamiliar and out of my comfort zone.

Louise Shedden

From there, I embarked on a teaching adventure in inner London, where I worked as a relief teacher in various schools. Once again, I encountered students who needed something beyond the ordinary school experience. Their unique circumstances and challenges inspired me to continue seeking opportunities to make a difference.

Returning to Perth, I briefly taught in “normal schools,” before moving into an ‘alternative pathway’ school for disengaged high school students. These young individuals were grappling with court cases, criminal charges, homelessness, and addictions. One particular student stood out—a resilient, determined young woman who overcame incredible adversity. Her achievements and personal growth became a driving force behind my decision to continue teaching and working with students who require additional support.

There are numerous stories that led me to the present, including teaching younger siblings of disengaged high schoolers and taking a temporary break from teaching to work for another cancer charity. It was during this time that I had the privilege of meeting Kylie Dalton, the Chief Operating Officer of the Child Cancer Research Foundation (CCRF).

As I witnessed Kylie’s passionate research and discussions about CCRF and the educational gaps experienced by children undergoing cancer treatment, I couldn’t help but feel compelled to join her mission. School holds immense importance, not just for academic growth but also for emotional well-being. Children spend a significant portion of their lives in school, and for those battling cancer, missing out on this normalcy can be incredibly challenging. Kylie’s vision to bridge this gap with the Back on Track program resonated with me, and it was an easy decision to be part of this journey.

In 2022, I joined Back on Track as an Educational Consultant, tasked with crafting, researching, and building a program that would make a lasting impact. Together, Kylie and I engaged with charities along with other businesses and organisations in Western Australia, establishing connections and building a supportive community. We sought advice from the parents and teachers of these incredible children, learning from their experiences and sought ways to provide the assistance the kids needed, to thrive.

Making a difference may sound simple, but at Back on Track, we understand the complexity of each child’s needs. Western Australia is unique, and so are our participants. Every child requires a tailored and personalised approach to their educational journey. This is precisely what we offer at Back on Track—each child receives an Education Advocate who customises their approach, time, and resources to best support the student and their families. Our participants come in all shapes and sizes, with their own quirks, humour, intelligence, and potential. We celebrate their uniqueness and ensure they receive the individualised attention they deserve.

Back on Track has yet to encounter limits, except for the need for more hours in a day. We have ambitious dreams for our participants—scholarships, access to educational opportunities, and unwavering support to help them succeed. We envision a future where childhood cancer survivors uplift and guide one another through mentoring programs and peer support. We want our participants to witness the achievements of those who have come before them, knowing that they too can achieve their dreams.

The children we work with, along with their remarkable families, parents, siblings, and the entire support network behind them, are the driving force behind our commitment. They are the reason we are here, dedicating our efforts to ensure that each child’s potential is realised, and their dreams are fulfilled. Together, we strive to empower and uplift these extraordinary individuals and make a lasting impact in their lives.