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Extra help is at hand for Coffs Harbour primary school students struggling to keep up at school.

The Smith Family Coffs Harbour has received a funding boost from the ETC Community Support Fund to purchase educational resources to be used in their after school “Learning Clubs”.

Program Coordinator Darrin Allen said the Learning Clubs were designed to help students “catch up”.

“The early intervention offered through the Smarty Pants and Bright Sparks Learning Clubs has the potential to set the platform to address the issues in Coffs Harbour related to the high number of students leaving education prior to the completion of Year 12 (early school leavers) and the high levels of youth unemployment and youth employability,” Mr Allen said.

“We offer one-on-one support to help the children understand key concepts, resulting in increased attendance and retention rates at school. Not all students have the necessary support structures at home to assist them in out of school learning.”

Thanks to a $3,000 donation from the ETC Community Support Fund, The Smith Family has been able to value add it services by purchasing resources such as tablets and educational games.

“The funding from ETC has helped us to bring our Learning Clubs into the modern era,” Mr Allen said.

“We couldn’t have done it without the support from ETC, we just don’t have those funds.”

Mr Allen said students attending the Learning Clubs came from culturally diverse and low socioeconomic backgrounds.

“They are very much behind the eight ball and engagement in Learning Clubs allows them to have a sense of belonging and experience success which translates into improved outcomes in the school environment,” he said.

According to Mr Allen, working with the Learning Clubs is a very rewarding experience.

“We’ve witnessed children’s confidence grow as they easily transition through to High School,” he said.

“All tutors here are volunteers who give up their time for the best outcomes for the children.”

For more information about The Smith Family visit www.thesmithfamily.com.au

ETC Chairman Rod McKelvey said it was a pleasure to be able to support The Smith Family.

“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,” Mr McKelvey said.

“ETC is proud to be a not-for-profit company and we are confident the money we are donating will help make a more positive future for our community.

The next round of the ETC Community Support Fund opens 10 August and $200,000 in grants will be available. To find out more information and apply visit www.etcltd.com.au



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