Reconnecting at-risk high school students with education and employment
Proven successful over three years, young people re-engage with education and exercise the power to make choices around their own goals.
RISE (Re-engagement Initiative towards Supportive Education) alternative learning outreach program was launched as a pilot project in the south-western Sydney suburb of Claymore.
One of Australia’s most socio-economically disadvantaged communities, Claymore is characterised by high levels of unemployment, poor educational attainment, and a population where half are aged under 26 years.Lateline reporter – John Stewart – visits RISE to see how the program is changing students lives.
Does suspending students change their behaviour?
Lateline by John Stewart
Tyler Dowsett hated school so much he says he did everything he could to get out of there. Eventually he was suspended.
“I was severely bullied through primary and high school just because of who I am and what I look like,” the 15-year-old said.
“It drove me to want to get out of school as fast as I could. I ended up getting suspended.”
Instead of sitting at home, waiting out his punishment, Tyler took up the offer to attend RISE, a mentoring and education program for suspended high school students in Sydney’s Campbelltown area.
The program has been running for two years, helping students catch up on missed classes, do homework, and linking them up with employers and training opportunities.
After several months in RISE, Tyler now wants to go to university and study criminology.
“I feel a tonne better. Doing RISE and moving out of the mainstream schooling and stuff has just lifted my self-esteem and lifted what I thought I could do and what I thought I could achieve,” he said.
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Click to watch Lateline report:Australian Broadcasting Corporation (link is external) Broadcast: 03/07/2017 Reporter: John Stewart *Correction-RISE program is funded by Be Kind Sydney (a subsidiary of Sydney Community Foundation as part of it’s Place-Based Philanthropy program) and run by Whitelion (link is external).
About RISE Alternative Learning Program
The RISE Alternative Learning Program in Claymore operates within one of Australia’s most socio-economically disadvantaged communities, characterised by high levels of unemployment, poor educational attainment, and a population comprised predominantly of those aged under 26 years.
In 2015, RISE emerged as a pilot program to tackle youth disengagement and local anti-social behaviour affecting residents. The community saw this as an issue needing intervention and communicated this to a committee which included Sydney Community Foundation. In response, the RISE program was co-designed by Sydney Community Foundation and Whitelion and funded by Sydney Community Foundation and its donors including the Snow Foundation, Vincent Fairfax Foundation, and The Portland House Foundation.
The program is delivered by a qualified teacher and social worker and is based upon the principles of youth participation. Young people engage with the program and exercise the power to make choices around their own goals.