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Monday, 20 October 2014 10:50

Bid to boost education attainment rates shortlisted for national fund

A Great South Coast initiative aimed at boosting this region's low education attainment rates has been shortlisted for a national $1 million program.

The Beyond the Bell project is one of 11 projects to have been shortlisted for The Search – a new program that aspires to address Australia's toughest social challenges.

Great South Coast Strengthen Our Communities Pillar Leader Vicky Mason said The Search was interested in understanding how communities could tackle big issues such as poverty, alcohol-related violence, homelessness, youth unemployment and childhood obesity.

"The Beyond the Bell initiative is a whole-of-community approach to improving the life outcomes of our young people," Ms Mason said.
"Improving education attainment has been a core focus, but this project is not just an education issue.

"We know there are so many factors influencing life outcomes and our hope is that we can come together as a community to effect change at all stages of the life cycle, from birth onwards."

Ms Mason said that at present, only about 57 per cent of young people in the Great South Coast region would go on to achieve Year 12 or equivalent. The state-wide attainment figure is almost 75 per cent, with parts of metropolitan Melbourne recording significantly higher attainment rates.

"Low education attainment has a direct bearing on the health and wellbeing of our young people and, ultimately, on our economy," Ms Mason said. "It's an issue we all need to take responsibility for because it's our view that every child living in the Great South Coast deserves this."

To date, the Beyond the Bell project has received $60,000 funding from the six Great South Coast councils and $47,000 from the Barwon South West Regional Development Australia committee.

The Great South Coast Group has also contributed $20,000 to the initiative and a range of other organisations, including the South West LLEN, Southern Grampians Glenelg LLEN, Women's Health and Wellbeing Barwon Southwest, South West Primary Care Partnership and the South West Community Foundation, have each made contributions.

These funds are being used to develop place-based action plans within each of the Council areas and to develop a regional strategy. The 10 other shortlisted applicants to The Search include:


  • Great South Coast Beyond The Bell
  • Central Goldfields Shire project focused on children, youth and families
  • Geelong region project focused on joblessness


  • Clarendon Vale project focused on increasing public safety
  • Launceston project focused on cradle to career
  • Burnie project focused on worklessness

New South Wales

  • Bourke project focused on youth justice
  • Claymore project focused on cradle to career

South Australia

  • Whyalla project focused on health and wellbeing of children and young people


  • Logan project focused on early childhood

Western Australia

  • Halls Creek project focused on healing

Along with these 10 other short-listed applicants, the Great South Coast Group and its Beyond the Bell working group will spend the coming four months preparing a final submission to The Search.

A final announcement is expected to be made early in 2015.

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