Kick off time at Macleay Vocational College and new hope for young mums

Macleay Vocational College is an independent, vocational high school on the mid north coast of NSW. The College featured on SBS-TV’s Living Black recently showcasing the work the College does with indigenous teen mums.

We spoke with principal, Mark Morrison about what the College offers to young mums and other work he is doing for young people. Mark is a former Parramatta Eels coach and became principal of the College in January 2012.

Mark Morrison and a MVC student with Living Black – SBS

‘We assist the young mum’s by giving them support and being flexible in both the attendance and assessment expectations.’ Mark says.
‘The Attendance pattern varies with each mother/student, we currently have 3 mothers attending the College and possibly another one on the way. They vary attendance patterns from attending 3 mornings a week or 10.15am-1pm 4 days a week to late starts on all days, non-attendance for sport, generally whatever time frame fits into their care and availability, staff are very accommodating.’

‘Assessment schedules and timeframes are still maintained but with scope for extensions if required, as well as time out of class with Literacy support and scaffolds to break down the requirements into smaller easier chunks that give satisfaction of accomplishment are encouraged at an executive level. Staff maintain records of all tasks and submissions and acknowledge the problem before it surfaces so we can reduce the number of warning letters to discourage achievement.’

‘Sometimes the girls just need time out for talking through their concerns and the College Counsellor provide Professional Assistance and office girls are willing to act as listening boards for support.’

‘We have North Coast Area Health call into the college each Tuesday and have made connections for the mothers with pregnancy advice and health checks if they want it.’

Mark comes back to the College after having been a coach for the Parramatta Eels. He was has been involved in some form with the College since 1995 when he was involved in the initial plans for starting the College with Jann Eason, who founded the College.

Mark’s sporting background has allowed him to find meeting points with the students quickly.

‘I teach Sport Leisure and Recreation as an interest elective and take the students for circuits and training during sport time. We have also commenced training before school twice a week for any student and fitness, as well as after school twice a week for Footy skills and games.’

‘My contacts and standing in the League circles have enabled the