Wellington Public School students are set to benefit form a brand new program aimed at improving health and education outcomes for Aboriginal students.
Attorney General Mark Speakman and Nationals Candidate for Dubbo Dugald Saunders announced the Connect ALL program at Wellington Public School.
“Marathon Health will work hand-in-hand with Wellington Public School to deliver Connect ALL to a community with the second highest rate of developmentally-vulnerable children in NSW,” Mr Saunders said.
“The investment of $215,716 into this program illustrates the NSW Government’s commitment to helping local children get the best start in life.”
Nearly 60 percent of the students at Wellington Public School identify as either Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander according to the My School statistics.
Plans for the program include placing an occupational therapist with the children for five days each term and devising a program to secure the best results for each child.
“The program will focus on mentoring the children, encouraging positive cultural identity and healthy living which will make a huge difference to children’s lives,” Mr Speakman said.
“Having support at school can help boost participants’ self-esteem and build confidence to complete their education, find employment and be positive role models for the next generation.”
School principal Darryl Thompson said the program would benefit ongoing efforts within the school to help achieve better outcomes for the ATSI students.
“I think the program’s really about coordinating what we already do and sort of adding that dimension of what Marathon Health can bring through their resources,” Principal Thompson said.
“We already run a whole lot of really good programs, I think, but coordinating that both in the community and getting some extra support through what Marathon Health can provide is going to be really good.”
Regional Manager of Western New South Wales for Marathon Health Brittany Boniface says that Wellington Public school is uniquely well positioned to benefit from the team’s work.
“I think Wellington Public School will be a fantastic location because of our previous relationship that we’ve had with the principal and his understanding of the cohort of the children and how we can best support them moving forward,” Mrs Boniface said.
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Work within the school’s grounds will involve using the school’s resources to identify the children who are most in need of support, before securing parental consent for them to join the program.
From there the program will provide an on-site representative from Marathon Health three days a week, with an additional occupational therapist attending during each term.
“It’s working with the children, the community, the families, the teachers to improve their attendance, reduce behaviour issues, engagement with culture and community and getting the family to engage with the school as well,” Mrs Boniface said.
The program has been funded as part of the Community Safety Fund, which represents an investment of $10 million over four years for use in providing grassroots projects aimed at making communities safer.