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What, Why, How

What

The Hunter Suspension Program is aimed at addressing the high rate of school suspensions and expulsions in the Hunter New England region by offering a tutoring and a support program for young people to access while they are suspended from High School. The program will also work closely with the young person’s family, their school, and local community organisations, to assist their transition back into the school setting.

Why

Youth Off The Streets established the need for this program by undertaking needs assessment of the Hunter New England region (which the Cessnock LGA is a part of) in 2018, focusing on the low educational outcomes experienced by local youth. The findings showed that compared to NSW overall, Hunter New England had the highest number of short suspensions (up to 4 days), highest number of long suspensions (up to 20 days) and second highest number of expulsions.

How

This program will assist 25-50 high school students aged 12-18 years across an 18-month period, through activities including facilitating referrals from schools, providing support via qualified staff members, and reintegration to school on completion of any suspension period. Aftercare, via Youth Off The Streets after-school Outreach, drop-in centre, and schools-based workshop activities is also provided.

Hunter Suspension Program Impact

The key goals of this program are to reduce the number of children who are re-suspended or expelled; ensure program participants spend significant time engaged in the suspension program during their suspension; and have schools report positive changes in students who have returned to school after attending the program.

The program also works closely with the students’ family, school and local community to ensure they have holistic support surrounding them. This also helps ensure their transition back to continued education is as successful as possible.

A young person's insight

"They really listened and understood what I was going through. I felt like these were the sorts of people who could help me.”

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