Lifting engagement

March 26, 2018

Hands on Learning artisan-teacher Natasha Jennings and Wanganui Park Secondary College year 8 student Lachlan Hughes.

Wanganui Park Secondary College is doing its bit to cater to the different ways young people learn.

They are in the second year of their Hands on Learning program that has two specialist teachers work collaboratively with small groups of students to help them engage, grow confidence and achieve success at school.

The program’s artisan-teacher Natasha Jennings said the program centred around re-engaging the students back into their studies.

‘‘The students are usually at risk of no attendance, so it is a great way to engage them into coming back to school,’’ she said.

The school has nine students enrolled in the program, from Years 7 to 10, with students spending one day out of the classroom each week working alongside teachers to help them develop the skills and abilities they need to succeed in work and life.

‘‘The program gives students a sense of achievement ... this is something most of them are unfamiliar with because they struggle to attend school consecutively,’’ Ms Jennings said.

Tomorrow, Ms Jennings and a group of program participants will travel to Parliament House to attend a Hands on Learning Showcase celebrating the work and achievements of students and artisan-teachers across Victoria.

The trip aims to showcase the students’ work in a bid to increase government support of the state-wide initiative.

The program relies on donations and community support, with the Wanganui students receiving work boots from Bowen timbers along with continual support from The LLEN, The Lighthouse Foundation and School Focus Youth Service.

Wanganui is the only school in Shepparton hosting the program, which college wellbeing leader Vanessa Sleeth said had succeeded through community involvement and social connections.

‘‘We took on the program because we had a number of young people who were really disengaged,’’ she said.

‘‘We wanted to keep them in mainstream education, but give them an alternative program.’’

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