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FOR many young mums, their baby comes before their own education and VCE dropout rates in Casey only confirm this.
But a Young Parents VCAL Program (YPVP) run out of a portable classroom at Cranbourne Secondary College is helping to change all that – putting parents aged 15 to 20 through their VCE.
The two-year program and holistic approach to learning means parents can study with their babies in the same room and gain advice on parenting as well.
Hampton Park mum Brianna Young, 19, said the YPVP had set her on the right track after giving birth to baby Mia six months ago.
“Getting an education means I can help my family and Mia – I couldn’t have gone back to mainstream schooling,” Brianna said.
After dropping out of Alkira Secondary School aged 18, Brianna sat her Year 11 VCE exams while 13 weeks pregnant.
“Mainstream school would have been too hard being pregnant and having a baby with the judgements and negativity and this course is really flexible.”
“I dropped out after my last exam, I didn’t really have any options I was just going to be a mum, but this program has really helped me to pursue a career in nursing,” she said.
The program is the only one of its kind in the south-east, and is much needed with the region’s high teenage pregnancy rate, which was greater than the rate for Victoria as whole from 2004 to 2008.
Statistics on the rate of young parents from the 2011 Census data reveal more than 700 people aged 15 to 21 years of age became parents in the south-east region.
But Brianna said she didn’t regret a thing.
“I wouldn’t change it, I would go back and do it all over again, Mia is the best thing that has ever happened to me,” she said.
“Making friends who can relate to what you’re going through has also been great and you can look up to the older babies to see what you’re in for.”
No homework gets given to the students and an early parent specialist teaches the class once a week.
To find out more about the YPVP at Cranbourne Secondary College, contact Kathie Jacobs on 0410 490 007.

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