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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 by offering a tutoring and 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

The Foundation previously funded the pilot Hunter Suspension Program from August 2019 to February 2021, and from the success of this pilot the Foundation’s funding will continue.
Youth Off The Streets established the need for this program by undertaking needs assessment of the Hunter New England region 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 up to 120 High School students in the Lower Hunter area of NSW over a two year period. The support will be provided by qualified staff members through Case Management, Tutoring, Financial Literacy Workshops, Living Skills and Service Learning activities.

Hunter Suspension Program Impact

The program will help address the impact from the high rate of school suspensions and expulsions in the Hunter New England area, and in doing so, will have a direct impact on the barriers to positive future financial and life outcomes. By keeping students engaged, the program will see participants lay the groundwork for positive long term financial outcomes and increased choices in all aspects of their lives.
The program will also work to establish longer-term support mechanisms to ensure that students can deal with challenges in the school environment and at home, keeping them on track with their schooling and equipping them with the basic living skills to transition to adulthood.

Kim Lenard, Hunter Valley Engagement and Support Program Manager

“We are very excited to see this program continue as the feedback to date has been so positive. The local schools have told us that the program fills a gap, and upon further consultation with the schools, we have added the elements of living skills workshops and service learning. We are confident the program will give participants a better chance of gaining employment and securing a stable and financially strong future.” 

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