WSSC Study Club – Wodonga Senior Secondary College

We had the opportunity to speak to Samantha Leary, the coordinator of Wodonga Senior Secondary College (WSSC) Study Club. This year, WSSC Study Club was recognised for their amazing program as the winner of the Out-of-School-Hours Learning Support Program of the Year in the Regional/Rural category.  

What is the WSSC Study Club?

The WSSC Study Club runs at lunch time for students from Monday to Friday. The primary aim is to meet every student’s need to feel safe and included, with access to the opportunities and resources needed to succeed. A significant proportion of our students are from disadvantaged backgrounds, including a cohort of pre-offending, at-risk youth from migrant and refugee backgrounds. Study Club addresses their urgent need for a sense of belonging and connectedness, by engaging them in one-on-one and small group tuition delivered in a culturally appropriate and effective way. For some students, the food at Study Club provided is often the only food they have access to during the school day.

“Study Club has provided students with a welcoming space to receive support from a wide range of teachers outside the pressures of the classroom, enabling them with an opportunity to keep up with classwork, work on literacy skills and develop good study habits.”

Teacher at WSSC

What are some key highlights or successes of your program?  

One key highlight is the growth in confidence, academic achievement, and wellbeing of a student who suffers from extreme anxiety and has needed extensive support from a range of wellbeing services. This student couldn’t attend school for two years due to poor mental health. In a recent survey asking why students attend Study Club, they commented, “I can confidently say it has been the most beneficial decision I have ever made, as I don’t think I would have made it all the way to Year 12 without it.” With the support of Study Club volunteers, this student applied for and was granted unconditional entry into the University of Victoria for a Bachelor of Arts. Study Club prides itself on creating an environment which is relaxed, welcoming and inclusive, where students feel safe and able to succeed.

“We have an amazing opportunity to engage with different teachers if we aren’t understanding our subject content, learn study skills and eat food that many students don’t typically have access to. My school experience has improved in both my grades and my mental health”.

Student at WSSC Study Club

What do you think makes your club successful?

Study Club is really successful in its consistent engagement with a broad range of students from all backgrounds. Last term a total of 1463 students attended Study Club, with an average attendance of 38 students per session. Student attendance data indicates that our students are from a diverse backgrounds, genders and academic ability. Even though attendance is completely voluntary, many students go on a regular basis, often five days per week. Students particularly appreciate being able to access additional educational support, from a range of teachers, which is often not available to them within a normal classroom setting. The support they receive at Study Club enables them to keep on top of their studies, leading to an improvement in their confidence, academic achievements, mental health and overall wellbeing.

“WSSC’s Study Club is one of the best aspects of the school. Not only does it provide a comfortable space for students who want to study, it ends up being a catalyst for striving to do more academically.”

Student at WSSC Study Club

What does winning the OSHLSP of the Year award mean to your OSHLSP?

It’s really lovely to receive some recognition for the work that’s gone into creating a Study Club, which the school community can be very proud of. I’m hoping the award will give us some credence when we apply for the further funding needed to pay for intensive English language support for our migrant and refugee students. To be honest, the best part of the process has been reading the letters that students and staff wrote in support of our nomination. It brought home to me what an important and much-needed resource the Study Club is, especially for our refugee students who often don’t have enough to eat or have a quiet and supportive environment in which to study. It’s what will inspire me to keep going.

To find out how Learning Beyond the Bell can support your OSHLSP, click here.