Great South Coast
Reconnecting with school is a crucial part of recovery from the interrupted year so many students experienced in 2020.
And the need is even more acute in parts of regional Victoria.
With this in mind, the Ross Trust has provided a smart grant of $40,000 from its Educational Equity funding priority to the Beyond the Bell program on the Great South Coast for 2021.
18 per cent of Great South Coast families are low-income households, with links between inter-generational disadvantaged and education disengagement seen throughout the region.
Beyond the Bell is a community-led response to improve Year 12 completion rates in the Great South Coast region. Indicators that suggest the Great South Coast young people are completing Year 12 or equivalent at lower rates than their metropolitan counterparts, leading to poorer outcomes in terms of employment and lifetime income.
With a focus on key school transition points, the Beyond the Bell supports students from six local government areas on the Great South Coast, Colac-Otway, Corangamite, Glenelg, Moyne, Southern Grampians, where educational attainment rates are significantly below the state average. The aim is to increase educational engagement, with flow-on benefits to health and wellbeing and the economy.
Beyond the Bell’s approach is very much focused on working with the schools, families, education providers, wider community and potential employers, to bring in different skill sets and encourage engagement and commitment so that everyone has a stake in the outcome.
Beyond the Bell is a small, independent organisation, responding to community need by bringing together partners across the community to support educational engagement and advocate for change. It was established in response to the gap between educational attainment on the Great South Coast compared with the rest of Victoria.
The Beyond the Bell program has existed in some form since 2012, but the urgent need right now is the response to the impact of COVID-19. Students and young adults, particularly those in regional areas, have been unduly affected by educational disruptions, economic impacts, and the psychological costs of the pandemic.
Beyond the Bell has well-established networks and partners in the six local government areas of the Great South Coast and a strong governance model and track record for local place-based and regional projects.
A key priority now is to create a sustainable funding model for the future.