Hundreds of students falling through the cracks in Greater Shepparton


A new study released by Greater Shepparton Lighthouse has highlighted the many challenges faced by local students battling to stay in secondary school.

Family breakdown, trauma such as family violence, bullying, and mental health issues are forcing many young people to drop out of mainstream secondary schools with hundreds now in alternative educational settings.

Eighty young people who have disengaged from mainstream settings were interviewed for the study. The often harrowing first-hand accounts show the remarkable resilience of many of the young people as they struggle to stay in school, despite the odds.

The young people often described chaotic lives where family breakdown and trauma, poverty, lack of food and unsecure housing made succeeding in school extremely difficult.

They found the transition to secondary school challenging and commonly experienced bullying, anxiety and depression by mid secondary school.

Greater Shepparton Lighthouse will use the report to lobby for more support for young people to remain in mainstream settings including improved transition to secondary school, teaching that takes into account the difficult backgrounds of students, and a concerted effort to address bullying.

Lighthouse Executive Officer, Lisa McKenzie, said a number of Lighthouse initiatives including plans for a youth haven, mentors and role models in schools and a whole of community plan to track and improve outcomes for young people would help address the worrying findings.

“Our extensive research is showing widespread community concern for young people falling through the cracks in Greater Shepparton. While many kids are thriving, others are facing extensive barriers preventing them transitioning successfully to adulthood.

“Often when we asked what may have helped their situation, the answer was simple… someone who cared.’’

“It really does take a village to raise a child,’’ Mrs McKenzie said.