Parents and students at the GAP alternate school in Torquay.
Parents and students at the GAP alternate school in Torquay. Alistair Brightman

School program changing lives

TROUBLED teens whose lives are being changed by Urangan High's GAP program have spent the past week wondering if they were going to end up back on the streets.

Talk of funding cuts and lack of resources had teachers, parents and students fearing the worst but yesterday Education Queensland's regional director Greg Peach said the program would continue.

Confusion over the program's future was fuelled by letters sent to parents regarding the department's lease of Camp Barrawinga where the program is held.

Yesterday parents and students rallied out the front of the building to show their support for the program.

Distraught mum Therese McMahon said her 16-year-old son James would be devastated if he couldn't stay in the program.

“When he first came he was getting into trouble and heading down the wrong path,” Ms McMahon said.

“It's really given us a lifeline and it's transformed his life. He's a completely different kid.”

But Mr Peach said while it was true the program would have to re-locate next month, alternative premises were being investigated and it was hoped disruption would be minimal.

“The department is committed to supporting students who have disengaged from learning or are at risk of disengaging, through a range of education and training options,” Mr Peach said.

“A range of enhancements to programs supporting students at risk are being considered.

“The focus of programs in 2011 will aim to improve on objectives achieved under the Greater Alternate Program.”



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