VCOSS MEDIA RELEASE
Hundreds of Victorian teenagers at risk of dropping out of high school will be kept in education, following the expansion of a key education engagement program.
The 2018 Victorian budget will include $44million to roll out the successful Navigator program in every Victorian school region.
Navigator involves community sector workers providing direct support to disengaged or at-risk high school students, to help them overcome social barriers and successfully re-engage with learning.
The program has been running successfully at several trial sites across Victoria since 2016.
“Helping kids stay engaged in education is a no-brainer,” VCOSS CEO Emma King said.
“Navigator makes sure kids don’t fall through the cracks. It pulls them in closer when they’re struggling, instead of pushing them away.”
“This means these kids are more likely to stay engaged in education or training, and reach their potential.”
The program expansion means for the first time Navigator will be an option for teachers and students in Bendigo, Warrnambool, Horsham and Sale, as well as Melbourne’s north-west and outer eastern suburbs.
VCOSS believes Navigator should be fully funded to meet true demand, so every young person at risk of leaving school—or who has become disengaged—is helped. Regions where the program is available already have long waiting lists for support.
“Education is one of the best tools we have to combat poverty and disadvantage, and build stronger communities,” Ms King said.
“With programs like Navigator available statewide and funded to meet demand, Victoria can truly claim to be the Education State.”