The Glenelg region is shaking off its reputation for having one of Victoria’s lowest rates of student engagement. Glenelg has dropped from having the second highest rate of youth disengagement in the state to be 47th among Victoria’s 79 municipalities.
The new census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics census data has been welcomed by local education officials as a terrific outcome for the region. The number of young people aged 15-19 and not in paid employment or enrolled in education and training has dropped from 132 to 72
The substantial improvement has been largely attributed to the successful introduction of the Portland Re-Engagement Centre and local secondary schools having better completion rates for students studying senior secondary certificates.
Glenelg Southern Grampians Local Learning and Employment Network Executive Officer Anne Murphy said the new figures were heartening for the region. “It is something the community should celebrate,” she said. “This improvement particularly shows the Portland Secondary College Re-Engagement Program is working and that other collaborative programs happening in the region are having a positive impact,” Ms Murphy said. “The Re-Engagement Program is a perfect example of collaboration at a local level to achieve positive outcomes for young people.”
The program started by Portland Secondary College in 2010 now has 37 teenage students enrolled. It was established as a community response to concerns about the number of young people who had become disengaged or were at risk of disengaging from education. “Without this program, many of these young people would not be going to school and receiving an education,” Ms Murphy said.
Ms Murphy said other strategies supported by GSG LLEN designed to improve retention in education and training had also contributed to the improved performance. These include the Discovery Hospitality Trade Training Centre, Standing Tall mentoring program in Heywood, career and aspirations programs and parental engagement programs in partnership with Bundarra and South Portland primary schools.
The LLEN has also worked closely with the Great South Coast Year 12 or Equivalent Attainment working group and is pleased that the region’s Year 12 attainment rates are also improving.
Department of Education and Early Childhood Development Year 12 or Equivalent Attainment rate at age 19 data shows significant increases between 2010 and 2011 of 8.8 per cent in Glenelg and 5.9 per cent in Southern Grampians. However Ms Murphy said it should be noted that like many other rural areas, these attainment rates are still below metropolitan counterparts.
Portland Secondary College principal Toni Burgoyne said, “The partnership brokering undertaken by Anne Murphy and her team at the Glenelg and Southern Grampians LLEN has had significant impacts for many local young people’s opportunities to have successful education outcomes. The support of businesses, agencies and community groups is critical in giving vulnerable youth opportunities to have positive experiences and therefore the likelihood of better futures.”