Educational opportunities and other issues faced by families who live in mining towns are the focus of a study by The University of Western Australia.
Associate Professor Martin Forsey, of UWA's School of Social and Cultural Studies, is examining Karratha's educational opportunities and outcomes, and the role of schools in maintaining community cohesion and sustainable development.
The greatest movement of families away from mining towns is when their children are nearing high school age, Associate Professor Forsey said. He hopes to interview families who have left Karratha for any reason.
"We want to find out what causes them to leave and I want to meet with families who once lived in Karratha and in the past three years or so have made the decision to move to Perth," he said.
"Educational access and choice is more limited for students in regional Australia than it is for those in capital cities," he said.
"Inequalities in educational attainment and employment are exacerbated by distance. Despite schools in rural areas providing one of the major avenues for community interaction, the economic and social benefits the schools bring to these communities are not well understood.
"I'm hoping to talk to families to find out about parental and student needs - and to learn more about the educational, economic and social aspirations and needs of remote and regional townships."
Associate Professor Forsey has interviewed groups of parents and their children who completed Year 12 at Karratha's independent Catholic school and State secondary school and documented their transition to further education.
Both schools are part of the Aspire UWA project which raises aspirations among high school students in communities typically under-represented in higher education.
The study is being undertaken on behalf of the schools in Karratha which are part of the Pilbara Education Initiative, a project that aims to boost the region's educational outcomes.