EREA Youth+ Townsville Flexible Learning Centre

22-26 Ingham Road, West End, Queensland, 4810

Established in 2006, Townsville Flexible Learning Centre (TFLC) is one of 14 sites operated by Youth+, an initiative of Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA). TFLC provides a place and an opportunity for young people to re-engage in education in a suitable, flexible learning environment. Students have usually experienced complex educational, social, developmental, psychological, health, legal or familial situations and have been disenfranchised by mainstream education. TFLC provides for students of diverse backgrounds and both genders, with particular sensitivity to Indigenous culture and socioeconomic disadvantage. In 2012, 107 students were enrolled at TFLC.

How this program works

TFLC-photo1-300x224TFLC aims to provide educational experiences that enable personal and communityliberation by developing relationships and skills that meet young people’s needs and empower them to participate fully in the community, in and out of school. TFLC responds to the needs of students by building honest and authentic relationships with young people and their families, supporting and celebrating the uniqueness and dignity of each young person. Young people are encouraged to understand and be guided by four common ground principles that emphasise democratic relationships rather than rules: respect, participation, being safe and legal, and honesty.

All students undertake a Personal Learning Plan that relates to their life experience and responds holistically to their learning needs including: literacy, numeracy and relevant life skills, promoting confidence, enjoyment of healthy, fulfilling lives and responsible citizenship. TFLC Junior curriculum (Year 8-10) is based on the Key Learning Areas of the Queensland curriculum. Senior students (Year 11-12) undertake nationally accredited Certificate I-III vocational courses, the Queensland Certificate of Education (QCE) or Queensland Certificate of Individual Achievement (QCIA). Electives and project-based learning include Flexi-Farm, Music, Sport, Fishing, Gym, Woodwork, Fibreglassing, Film and Photography, Cooking, Barista, Art, Outdoor Education and Cultural Activities. All students are encouraged to engage in camps, outdoor activities and work experience as appropriate. The program operates Monday to Friday between 9.30 and 2.30. Each day begins with breakfast made in the school café, followed by a meeting of all staff and students. The courtyard gathering is also used throughout the day for organising activities, sharing lunch, celebrations and reflective problem-solving. Students’ learning and wellbeing are supported through pastoral care, community groups, chaplaincy and interagency work. Staff act as mentors and advocates, providing guidance to resources to support students to achieve their goals, recognise their potential and acquire an optimistic view of their future.

Outcomes