Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole announced on Friday that a re-elected Liberal and Nationals Government will get behind Armidale’s BackTrack with funding for additional teachers and allow it to extend its reach to Dubbo, Moree, Lake Cargelligo and Broken Hill.
BackTrack program founder Bernie Shakeshaft said new teachers and support staff will enable them to extend their impact to much-needed areas and support more young people.
“For young people who are having a hard time, BackTrack offers holistic, flexible and long-term support. This additional support is going to be fantastic – it will really help BackTrack reach more students in communities beyond Armidale,” Mr Shakeshaft said.
Mr Toole said BackTrack provides a targeted alternative curriculum to help young people who have faced significant challenges to re-engage with their learning.
“Not every kid has a smooth run. BackTrack helps kids to build the connections and confidence to re-engage with learning and get back on the right track,” Mr Toole said.
“BackTrack has helped so many kids in the Armidale region and this will expand its capacity to support young people across Dubbo, Moree, Lake Cargelligo and Broken Hill.”
“This commitment would fund an additional four full-time teachers and two full-time Student Learning Support Officers to work with BackTrack and its delivery partners across regional NSW.”
“This is yet another great example of the NSW Liberal and Nationals Government providing a range of education opportunities and support for all students across regional NSW.”
Minister for Education and Early Learning Sarah Mitchell said in 2020, the NSW Government commenced a pilot to fund the integration of a full-time Department of Education teacher into the BackTrack program to support and map curriculum delivery.
“BackTrack’s record speaks for itself,” Ms Mitchell said.
“By removing time pressures and offering various options for how learning is delivered, BackTrack have already supported more than 1,000 young people who are struggling to feel supported and empowered to study.”
“We want to provide additional on-the-ground support to help expand this important work to reach more at-risk kids in the bush.”
The expanded support would be made available by a re-elected Liberal and Nationals Government by late 2023.