Thursday, 25 June, 2015
In 2013, Reach commenced a regional pilot program in the Hunter Region of NSW, funded by BHP Billiton. The main aim of the Hunter Regional Pilot was to create a model for the sustainable delivery of Reach programs in regional Australia. Hunter Research Foundation (HRF) was engaged to develop a comprehensive evaluation program alongside and in tandem with the implementation of Reach to provide empirical evidence of the impact of Reach on Hunter students (wellbeing and protective measures), to obtain feedback from students and teachers about their Reach experience, to document other tangible outcomes at each school and provide insights to guide the future implementation of Reach school-based programs and evaluations in a regional context.
Delivery of Phase 1 took place in 2013 with a focus group of teachers from schools in Sydney and the Illawarra who had undertaken Reach activities in their schools to help inform the roll out of both the Reach Pilot Program and the evaluation activities in the Hunter Region. HRF also commenced developing the evaluation tools and methods during 2013. Phase 2 of the evaluation program began in 2014. Feedback was obtained from teachers using a combination of online surveys and in-depth telephone interviews. Feedback from students and assessments of the impact of Reach were conducted by way of online and paper-based surveys administered to students at three key points during the year; baseline, post-workshop and end-of-year. The results were analysed and presented in a comprehensive report.