Helping students succeed

Hanging out after school: Blue Mountains Youth College co-ordinator Nathanial Baker (second from right) with students Beau Byrne, Brayden Currie, Jesse Coe and Eli Mullard.

Hanging out after school: Blue Mountains Youth College co-ordinator Nathanial Baker (second from right) with students Beau Byrne, Brayden Currie, Jesse Coe and Eli Mullard.

Tucked away not far from the shops in Lawson and near the skate park, is a little-known school that is giving kids an education where others haven’t succeeded.

The Blue Mountains Youth College caters for year 9 and 10 students for whom mainstream schooling is not working. Many have a traumatic family life.

This year the college has 20 students, and new campus co-ordinator Nathanial Baker hopes to steadily build the number.

The college had hoped to move into the old Rural Fire Service building in Lawson, but Mr Baker said talks had stalled with council, and they were still on the hunt for a larger building than their current premises.

Last year three students graduated, and have all gone on to Wentworth Falls Tafe where they’re working towards their TPC, which is the equivalent of the HSC.

“We are trying to promote thinking for yourself and they feel safe here, and that’s why, I think, they succeed,” Mr Baker said.

“Seventy per cent of year 10s will probably graduate this year.” 

“Blue Mountains Youth College has a very pupil-friendly environment. Every day I come to school I get treated like family and I learn something new every day,” said student Beau Byrne.

“They call me bubbles in class ‘cause I’m always rising to the top,” said student Jesse Coe.

But it’s not all work and no play.

The college provides students with a variety of experiences, and collaborate with several community organisations.

Blue Mountains Soul Kitchen provides a weekly food drop of bread and fresh fruit and vegetables, which Mr Baker turns into smoothies and other delights that students often haven’t tried before.

Not only are the students learning how to make new recipes, they’re learning about healthy eating at the same time.

The college also works with the Blue Mountains Aboriginal Culture and Resource Centre and the Mountains Youth Services Team.

For more information about the college, phone: 4759 1012.

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