BackTrack Educator Lachie Ward, left, BackTrack Trainee Tom Craig, BackTrack Founder Bernie Shakeshaft, BackTrack Business Development Officer Markus Watson, Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell, NSW Department of Education’s Director Educational Leadership Patrick Cavanagh and Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall at BackTrack Armidale last week.
Monday, 7 August 2020
STUDENTS at BackTrack Youth Works in Armidale have this week given an A+ to a State Government-funded teaching position which has been supporting their education throughout 2020.
Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall and Minister for Education Sarah Mitchell visited BackTrack’s classroom last week, where they met with founder Bernie Shakeshaft, teacher James Warne, staff and students.
“Every child deserves the chance to have an education, no matter their background, which is why we are throwing our support behind BackTrack, to ensure students who have fallen through the cracks have a future,” Mr Marshall said.
“The teacher has been funded for 12 months to support the educational development of students, many of which have struggled in the mainstream school system.
“The position, which has been allocated for the 2020 school year, is accountable to the Principal of Armidale Secondary College and will be reviewed at the end of Term 4.
“Without the professional and caring nature of educators like James many of these young men and women would still be struggling in the classroom.
“It has been great for the Minister to see first-hand the positive impact BackTrack is having in changing young lives, and I hope her visit will be beneficial in securing funding to continue that teachers role next year.”
Mr Marshall and Minister Mitchell used the visit to discuss the State Government’s recently released Draft Behaviour Strategy.
“We know that suspension disproportionately impacts our most vulnerable students, leaving them even further behind in their education than they were at the beginning of the suspension,” Ms Mitchell said.
“The draft strategy is being released for consultation so that we can continue working with principals, teachers, parents and students to make sure schools have the support they need to break the cycle of suspension.
“Part of the Draft Behaviour Strategy is about giving schools more autonomy and flexibility when it comes to looking at alternative solutions for suspension in schools. As we know, Backtrack is a fantastic example of this, providing kids at risk with the support they deserve to grow into upstanding citizens.
“One size doesn’t fit all and we will continue to work closely with schools and stakeholders to ensure we get this right.”
Mr Shakeshaft said having a teacher funded by NSW Education was crucial to the program and will help support more disadvantaged young people in the community.
“Since we began, we have helped more than 1,000 young people start a positive life journey,” Mr Shakeshaft said.
“With the government’s support we can focus on encouraging more kids to reach their full potential.”