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School is one of the most important protective factors in a young person’s life, so being excluded or expelled can have a devastating effect. That’s why one of the Drug Foundation’s strategic directions is to help schools keep young people engaged in education.

And that’s why our Deputy Executive Director Ben Birks Ang was thrilled to contribute to a new book on safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environments for young people in crisis and trauma.

Ben’s chapter focuses on the Drug Foundation’s ongoing work with New Zealand secondary schools and youth addiction services – particularly Tūturu, a project that helps schools plan and develop their approach to improve student wellbeing and foster their critical thinking skills.

Ben says it takes everyone in a school community working together to make sure that all their students feel like they belong at school and can achieve. “Education providers can help all students achieve no matter what their personal circumstances.”

“When students know that they can bring their whole selves to school, it makes it much easier for them to learn, and it becomes much easier to identify issues that get in the way of learning and address them before they get out of hand.”

Safe, Supportive, and Inclusive Learning Environments for Young People in Crisis and Trauma addresses both general and specific barriers experienced by children and young people from diverse populations such as indigenous, migrant, and LGBTQI children, or those who experience mental health problems, drug misuse, and abuse.

It’s a great source of practical information for anyone working in education, health, and social work.

Check out Tūturu here

Safe, Supportive, and Inclusive Learning Environments for Young People in Crisis and Trauma was edited by By Patty Towl and Sheryl A. Hemphill. It’s available online from fishpond or The Book Depository.

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