A new place to belong 

A new place to belong 

Margaret Jurd College is expanding to include another campus, which the school says will open in April.  
Margaret Jurd College’s Principal Darren Twist told Insights the college’s expansion has been underway for some time. 

“The College Directors and Senior Management have understood the need for Margaret Jurd to expand for a long time,” Mr Twist said. 

“There are a lot of public reports around student behaviours in schools, lack of external support, teacher shortages and burnout, and a youth mental health crisis.” 

“It has been known that these particular issues effect many isolated communities more than other, larger metropolitan centres.” 

Marget Jurd College originally opened in 1985. It provides an alternative education for students with social and emotional support needs within the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, and Hunter Valley regions.  

“It is within the College’s DNA to do everything we can to help those that may need our support,” Mr Twist said.  

“Through liaising with the community, and the local Uniting Church Congregation, it was decided that Forster-Tuncurry should be our first venture in expansion.” 

“Our Head of Campus relocated to the area almost a year ago with the specific intent of fostering relationships within the local community,” he said. 

At the time of writing, preparation work for the second campus is underway.  

The Tuncurry Uniting Church Manse is being repurposed to house up to 24 students and six staff. 
This pre-existing building, with the addition of a demountable has been designed with two classroom spaces, an administration block, a Ready To Learn space (RTL), Casework rooms, a Flexible Learning Space (FLS), and a Covered Outdoor Learning Area (COLA). 

According to Mr Twist, the College is ready to accommodate the first student enrolment in Term 2 2024, which starts 30 April. 

“It is hoped that in the near future we will be able to convert a large connected grassed area into a community garden fit for the needs of the students, the congregation, and the community in general, as well as a static outdoor gym and yarning circle,” Mr Twist said. 

“We are forever grateful to the support of the Forster Tuncurry community, in particular the Uniting Church Congregation of Forster/ Tuncurry.  Their support has made this important move achievable and we have enjoyed working with so many people with such a clear passion for their mission.” 

For more information on Margaret Jurd College, visit the official website here.  


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