St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre is part of Youth+, an initiative of Edmund Rice Education Australia. Youth+ services including 20 Flexible Learning Centres located Australia-wide, which offer full-time and multi-year secondary education and social inclusion programs for young people who are disengaged/disenfranchised from mainstream education.
Commencing operations as a registered school in 2012, St Joseph’s Flexible Learning Centre (SJFLC) is a long term secondary school program that also offers the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL).
SJFLC offers an inclusive and non-discriminating learning community to young people, who for a variety of reasons, are disenfranchised from mainstream education. Young people are enrolled from a variety of genders, sexualities, language, cultural and religious backgrounds, with particular sensitivity to indigenous culture and from backgrounds of socio-economic disadvantage.
SJFLC services provide young people with a varied and holistic set of learning experiences supporting them to identify and pursue an individual transition to adulthood, employment, further education and training and social connectedness.
Young people are exposed to learning experiences that develop understanding and an appreciation of diverse cultural values that constitute Australian society and learning is focused around the individual needs of students and progress is carefully documented and monitored.
Guided by the vision of Edmund Rice about the empowering service of education, to achieve personal and community liberation through educational experiences that enable transformation, SJFLC seeks to respond to the needs of young people by providing a place and an opportunity for young people to re-engage in a suitable, flexible learning environment.
The philosophy of the program has a practical focus, based in the application of four core principles of:
- Respect (self, others and environment);
- Safe and Legal;
- Participation; and
The principles apply to all participants of the SJFLC community and are a significant point of difference from mainstream schooling. The principles establish a “common ground” among staff, young people and families where the means to resolve conflict, negotiate learning, recognise rights and responsibilities are modelled and explored, both within the group and individually.