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On June 16, Singleton High School officially launched their Kayu Kumpa Program which supports Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander female students throughout their schooling journey.

The Kayu Kumpa Program provides access to a range of supports within Singleton High School including educational, cultural, wellbeing and mentorship, as well as the opportunity to engage in a variety of activities to build life skills, cultural pride, and leadership qualities. It aims to inspire and empower the participants to develop into strong leaders for their community and post-school journey.

We spoke with Program Manager Renee McDonald and Singleton High School Principal Jo Scott to learn more about how this locally developed program is already making a world of difference in the lives of these young girls.

“We have developed this program in collaboration with community and Aboriginal Elders, tailoring it to be specific to their needs of our students. Its core aim is to support the girls to reach their full potential,” said Jo.

“It has four main pillars which are education, culture, community engagement and career readiness. But what it comes down to is providing support so the girls can reach their goals at school and when they move into a career.”

While officially launched this year, the program has been running since last year and is already achieving remarkable results. Students are supported throughout their entire school journey from Year 7 through to Year 12 however it doesn’t end there. Instead, the girls continue to receive support once they finish school for a further 6 months.

“The failure rate often occurs after students finish Year 12. It was important that we embedded into the program support that continued on once they had completed Year 12 to ensure they successfully transitioned from school into a career, or into training or further education,” said Renee.

“It’s about making sure they have choices, and then supporting them in making those choices,” added Renee.

Some of the elements of the program include providing morning transport to ensure high attendance, having a safe space before the start of school and during breaks where the students can study, assessment support, cultural activities and community service.

Recently Coal Services got onboard to support the program by providing first aid training for the participants. Over the course of a day, the Year 10, 11 and 12 girls undertook accredited first aid training. Support from organisations such as Coal Services ensure that the students are provided life long skills and is an invaluable part of the program.

“We are very proud of our program and the opportunities it provides. We have a phenomenal team here and all of our students are the centre of everything we do,” concluded Jo.

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