The lead up to completing VCE or VCAL is a tough time for many teenagers – but for kids who’ve grown up in out-of-home care the challenges are even greater.
“So many of our kids are mature beyond their years in some ways, but in other ways they are emotionally delayed and they often don’t have the support around them that other kids have,’’ says education specialist Bron Curran.
“They haven’t had the role models or know others who have finished school or got a VCAL qualification,’’ she says. “What I love about this job is the ability to be a role model and show young people what can be achieved.’’
Bron, a former alternative school VCAL coordinator, along with former school principal Janice Marks support teenagers with their secondary education in Melbourne’s northern region as part of our Transforming Educational Achievement for Children in Home-based and Residential care (TEACHaR) program.
Bron and Janice are among 20 teachers employed statewide by TEACHaR, which over the past year worked with 192 students and 481 teachers in 135 schools.
TEACHaR is an intensive one-on-one program provided by Anglicare Victoria which sees trained teachers work with young people and their teachers to boost their academic achievement and engagement with school, so that they have the best chance of success in the future.
Kids in out-of-home care often experience disrupted schooling, have lower levels of achievement and school completion rates and few go to university.
TEACHaR aims to change that story, by working with students and teachers in all kinds of out-of-home care settings including foster, residential and kinship care – and all levels of schooling from primary to secondary and specialist settings.
The program has helped with increased engagement with school and a boost in literacy and numeracy skills for the young people who take part.
This year, Janice has worked with three students who are nearing their school completion.
She says working with vulnerable young people is rewarding and challenging.
“A good education can be life-changing for our students,’’ she says.
“School is a safety net for our kids and it’s critical we do everything we can to keep them engaged and learning.’’