$200,000 windfall

Participants of the school and community partnership program involving Tumut High and local agriculture businesses were this week celebrating a $200,000 windfall.

Tumut High School is $200,000 richer after winning  a national award for its agricultural program partnership with Rising Sun Rural and Weemaru Murray Grey Cattle Stud.

Tumut High was selected out of seven nationwide finalists in the National Australia Bank Schools First national Impact Award as a result of the remarkable student outcomes it has achieved over the past 17 years.

The school was recognised for its Rural Youth Cattle Enrichment (RYCE) Program, which brings together students and local agricultural industry professionals to participate in activities designed to give Tumut students hands-on learning experience.

Students participate in the RYCE program as an elective subject one afternoon each week.

The partners provide opportunities for students to gain practical skills and training in the cattle industry through work experience, handling cattle and participation in cattle judging, and showing. Each of the industry experts shares their expertise in the areas of cattle husbandry, animal welfare and cattle show presentation.

The RYCE program teaches the students about caring for and preparing cattle, marketing and showing them. The agriculture and cattle industries in the region have seen a rise in skilled and work-ready students gaining employment and achieving success in the field since the program’s inception.

Tumut High principal, Bob Lange, said the award was a win not only for Tumut High School and its outstanding agriculture teacher, Tony Butler and his partners; but was also a fillip for rural education, at a time when public education was facing the prospect of cutbacks.

“It puts not only Tumut High on the map but also shows what a wonderful job is being done in rural schools right throughout the country,” Mr Lange said.

“We’re told that because of skills shortages, there are 100,000 positions in the agriculture sector that can’t be filled. Our program, with the help of our partners, is helping to address that.”

The NAB Schools First award is a partnership between NAB, the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) that recognises and rewards outstanding school-community partnerships that lead to improved student outcomes. The awards are based on research from ACER that proves young people benefit when they are engaged with their community throughout their education.

The announcement was made at a Gala event at Melbourne’s Myer Mural Hall Wednesday and witnessed by a distinguished audience, including Peter Garrett MP, Minister for Education, Early Childhood and Youth, NAB CEO Cameron Clyne, NAB Group Executive People, Marketing and Communications and NAB Schools First Chair Andrew Hagger, ACER CEO Prof Geoff Masters and FYA CEO Jan Owen AM.