Independent Learning Centre chosen for pilot program
The South Australian Department for Education has chosen Murray Bridge High School ILC for a program to support local young people.
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Murray Bridge’s Independent Learning Centre has been selected as one of 12 schools across SA that will trial a new program to engage students through a different way of learning.
From 2024, Murray Bridge High School assistant principal Jared Daly said, the ILC’s Flexible Learning Options (FLO) program would become Tailored Learning Provisions, an individual learning program.
“The department are really happy with how we’re operating, so it’s trying to base some of the new forms around what we’re doing here,” he said.
What exactly are they doing at the ILC?
“We’re here for students that for whatever reason are disengaged from mainstream schooling, whether that’s wellbeing issues, behaviour issues, or maybe the mainstream learning environment just wasn’t suited for them,” Mr Daly said.
The students at the ILC are doing year 10, 11 or 12, and the Centre’s focus is on supporting these students to get their SACE, which may have have seemed an unreachable goal at high school.
“The big difference for us is we don’t have any classrooms, and we don’t have any lesson times as such,” Mr Daly said.
“We have two learning spaces, upstairs and downstairs, and then we have three session times a day, and the students come into their nominated session times, where they receive one-on-one support for whatever they’re working on.
“Students choose where they want to sit, they’ve all got individual workstations, and then they continue from wherever they left off when they last left the centre, so in terms of what they’re working on, it’s a lot more individual, a lot more of an adult learning environment.”
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Another difference between the ILC and mainstream high school was what Mr Daly called a “wraparound approach”.
“What that means is every student, whether it’s FLO or Tailored Learning Provisions, has to have a youth worker which is assigned to them, and that person is there to support them with not only their learning and their schoolwork but all those things outside school,” he said.
The youth workers may help students to get their driver’s licence, apply for a tax file number and so on.
As part of this highly practical support, the ILC can also help students to apply for a job or an apprenticeship.
“We have some students that come in and do their learning, but ultimately they want to get in the workforce, so we support them to get a job, whether that’s part time, full time,” Mr Daly said.
“Lots of our kids are wanting to move into an apprenticeship, so we support them.
“Some young people (have) this expectation that Old Mate Plumber’s going to knock on their door one day and offer them an apprenticeship, which we all know is not how real life works.”
Students can also do VET and TAFE courses at the ILC, and although the students are generally aged between 15 and 21, one is 24, a mum who wants to finish her SACE.
Apart from the 12 schools that will phase out FLO in 2024, other SA schools will replace FLO with the Tailored Learning Provisions in 2025.
Mr Daly said that the current ILC students wouldn’t notice any real difference when the centre introduced the Tailored Learning Provision program, but the funding attached to the trial would definitely help the ILC.
“At the moment, we have five teachers; next year, we’ll have six or seven,” he said.
“Currently, we’ve got four youth workers; next year we’ll have five.
“There’ll be more opportunities for more one-on-one support for learning and whatnot.”
A total of 180 students have completed their SACE through the ILC since it opened a decade ago.
Three of those graduates went on to work at the school.
“They’re three people that say they had no intention of finishing school and were disengaged with learning,” Mr Daly said.
“They came here, they finished school, and now they’ve done further education in the school setting.”
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