New program to help reduce repeat school suspensions

The program will help students transform their time away from school into positive learning experiences

The Y NSW is set to launch an Australian first Alternative Suspension Program in Western Sydney and on the Central Coast, aimed at reducing the number of repeat suspensions given to students.

Set to begin in February next year, the program will give students an opportunity to transform their time away from school into positive learning experiences.

It will be the first time the program has been piloted anywhere in Australia after being successfully delivered for more than 20 years in Canada and Europe.

Aimed at young people aged 12-18, the program tackles the underlying causes of educational disengagement and establishes ongoing support pathways for a successful return to school.

“This remarkable program turns things around for disengaged young people by transforming suspension into an opportunity for them to get back on track in a neutral, safe environment,” Y NSW Acting CEO, Brooke Atkins, said.

“We want to help these young people make a successful return to school.”

The program will run three days a week and focus on supporting a maximum of six young people in each session.

Participating schools on the Central Coast can refer students to the program for anywhere between three and 20 days.

Ten programs in total across the Central Coast and Parramatta sites are planned.

Youth workers will support participants in small group sizes and work with parents and teachers to develop case plans for a smooth transition back into mainstream education or alternative training pathways.

Wrap around support will include personal development workshops, individual assistance and team skills group activities.

Youth workers will support students to create an action plan and establish behavioural commitments, while identifying additional support they might require from their school and family.

A tailored approach will see participants complete assigned schoolwork during the morning session and explore alternative education pathways and other living skills workshops in the afternoon.

Participants will learn about help that exists within the community and be introduced to specialised workers in various support service areas.

For more information on the Central Coast program, which will operate out of a Lake Haven youth site, go to

Media release, Jun 23