24-26 High Street, Frankston, VIC, 3199
Started in 2010, the Brotherhood of St Laurence Community VCAL (BSL-CVCAL) program offers a tailored education program for young people aged 15 to 19 who want to complete secondary school but have experienced barriers to education in mainstream schools. The program delivers Foundation, Intermediate and Senior Levels of the Victoria Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) (Years 11 and 12). It combines classroom tuition with vocational training and work placements in a community setting, as well as access to School Based Apprenticeships and Traineeships (SBATs), and stand-alone apprenticeships. The program is based at the BSL Frankston High Street Centre, and works in partnership with schools and other local organisations to offer an integrated support and education program. BSL-CVCAL students remain linked to a government school and are enrolled concurrently in both educational sectors. Government funding for each student is forwarded by the enrolling school to the program, and this supplements funding from BSL reserves and philanthropic sources. Students are referred by schools, community support agencies and the youth justice system. The program caters for students with complex needs including: disengagement/truancy, family issues, carer responsibilities, substance abuse, homelessness, mental health issues and bullying, low levels of literacy and numeracy, and difficult relations with teachers. In 2012 67 students (38 male, 29 female) were enrolled in the program.
How this program works
The program is based on the principle that all young people need education options that meet their learning needs and helps to prepare them for the rest of their lives. It models a flexible supportive approach to education for young people facing multiple barriers. The program consists of three fundamental and combined components: education, vocational training, and well-being. High levels of pastoral care and resilience building are integral to the program. Wrap-around learning, well-being and pathways support is provided in partnership with local schools and organisations e.g. Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Frankston Mornington Peninsula Local Learning & Employment Network, Chisholm Institute of TAFE, and Peninsula Health. The staff team includes registered teachers, counsellors, trainers, education aides, and youth workers. Within a safe, comfortable, and inclusive learning environment, emphasis is placed on adult learning principles alongside student-centred and applied learning methods. The program sets positive expectations while providing autonomy to the students.
Typically, the program follows the school year with classes from 9.30 to 3.00 Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. Students attend VET, SBATs or work placements on Wednesdays and Fridays. The addition in 2014 of online provision will provide access to students outside of these times, and to those who cannot easily access the Centre. The timetable is flexible to nurture and support individual trajectories. There is a low student-staff ratio and a team-teaching approach is favoured. Learning takes place in and out-of-class and the learning experience is described as hands-on and real world promoting positive links between young people and