Success of community campus built on goodwill
They are young kids who could easily slip through the system; kids who just don't fit in at mainstream schools and who could end up hanging out on the streets, with no education or future and eventually getting into trouble.
That is where the Byron Community Campus comes in.
Located at the Byron Youth Activities Centre, the campus is an offshoot of the Southern Cross Distance Education Centre. In partnership with the Byron Youth Service and with the co-operation of high schools at Byron Bay and Mullumbimby, it is this year providing a School Certificate education for 17 local teenagers.
Since its inception in 2007, it has had 50 teens on its roll who would otherwise not have ventured inside a classroom.
Of those 50, five have obtained their School Certificates, five are continuing with their studies and one is doing the HSC this year.
Mullumbimby High School deputy principal, Ross Heazlewood-Ross, said the project had been a great success thanks to the dedication of teachers and the support of Southern Cross K-12 High School at East Ballina, high schools at Byron Bay and Mullumbimby, BYS, Byron Council, Nortec and TAFE.
Mr Heazlewood-Ross said the success had been built on goodwill, creativity and compassion of all the partners who shared the vision that all students deserved an education and that it was a community responsibility to ensure the most vulnerable students were supported.
The success of the project has been recognised - and its immediate future secured - thanks to a $50,000 Schools First Local Impact Award from the National Australia Bank in partnership with the Foundation for Young Australians and the Australian Council for Educational Research.
The award recognises the community partnership in establishing and maintaining the Byron Community Campus and the efforts of the Southern Cross Distance Education Centre in demonstrating the partnership was 'genuinely collaborative'.
The project is in line for an additional $50,000 in the State awards to be announced this month.