Who participate:

Operation Newstart is an innovative re-engagement program for young people aged 14 -17 attending Victorian State Secondary schools who are at significant educational risk. Many are at risk of expulsion, have failed to attend school regularly and are at risk of not completing their secondary education.

What we do:

Programs run for a school term, with students attending school for 1-2 days weekly and Operation Newstart for 3-4 days. Eight students enter each program working alongside a teacher/coordinator and other professionals.

Each program provides a multi-layered intervention, focusing on the young person’s relationship with self, family, school and community. Activities engage students in a proven process of change utilising experiential, vocational and therapeutic activities which include:

• outdoor/adventure-based activities,
• work place visits,
• problem-solving,
• skill-based activities
• therapeutic group work with parent involvement.

Nearly 2500 students have graduated since 1997, when teacher Paul Kill developed the first Operation Newstart program at Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula. We urge you to go to the Early History of Operation Newstart. Respected contemporary research demonstrates substantial improvements in emotional symptoms, conduct and peer problems, hyperactivity, and pro-social behaviour.

Why we do it:

Those who disengage early from school tend to be significantly more disadvantaged in later life with:
1. Increased likelihood of experiencing unemployment
2. Lowered lifelong income
3. Poorer outcomes in health, accommodation and social status
4. Greater risk of offending behaviour
5. Greater suspectibility to the influences of drug and alcohol misuse
6. Homelesness and anti-social behaviour.
(The Nous Group, Evaluation of Operation Newstart Shepparton, August 2010, p. 34)

In the recently published (September 2014) Law Reform, Drugs And Crime Prevention Committee Inquiry into the Supply And Use Of Methamphetamine, Particularly Ice, in Victoria found that:
Schools can be particularly effective in developing programs that address risk factors leading to drug use and other antisocial behaviours of young people. The aim of any school or youth oriented prevention program should be to develop resilience and encourage school retention or provide pathways to employment opportunities. Contained in Recommendation 7.

Research also indicates there is a direct correlation between increased school engagement and a reduction in youth crime – e.g. Youth Crime and Education Expansion.

We re-engage young people with their families, schools and their communities. We do this by assisting them to recognise their strengths and helping them to build their resilience, respect for themselves and others and building their self-esteem through achievement. Go to Your Say to see what students, parents, teachers and other professionals say.

Operation Newstart programs locations:

• Operation Newstart Western at Travancore School in Flemington, servicing the Western suburbs. Tel: 03 9345 6053
• Operation Newstart Northern at Collingwood Special School, servicing the Northern suburbs. Tel: 03 9419 0369
• Operation Newstart South Eastern at Dandenong High School, servicing Greater Dandenong. Tel: 03 9793 9604
• Operation Newstart Casey at Narre Warren, servicing Casey, Cardinia and Greater Dandenong. Tel: 03 8794 9577 – Follow on Twitter
• Operation Newstart Geelong at Matthew Flinders Girls Secondary College, servicing Greater Geelong. Tel: 0488 086 474