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Flexible learning options program saving kids’ futures

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Instead of scratching their heads about how to reengage troubled students, Mission Australia has been getting on with things.

Their Flexible Learning Options (FLO) program in South Australia has been a success which could be usefully emulated in other parts of the country.

The FLO program not only successfully re-engages hundreds of disadvantaged high school students with learning, but also has a transformative and potentially life-saving impact on young people who are facing a range of difficulties.

The tailored classroom support provided through FLO teachers and caseworkers has a significant positive impact on a young person’s confidence, self-organisation and self-reliance which helps them to re-engage and successfully participate with learning and achieve learning outcomes.

FLO addresses the complex barriers that can affect a young person’s ability to stay in school, their social participation and achievement of positive learning and self-development outcomes.

The evaluation report released today by Mission Australia and University of Adelaide highlights that quality intensive casework support is critical to the program’s success.

Young participants involved in the evaluation identified the FLO casework support to be the single most important and personally transformative element of the service. Students said they valued their meaningful relationship of trust with their FLO caseworker above all other services that they access.

Mission Australia’s Regional Leader, Adam Sherwood said: “There are very few programs like FLO that work to address the root causes as to why a young person isn’t engaging with learning, such as mental health concerns, bullying, homelessness, intergenerational poverty or low literacy levels.

“FLO offers a flexible, person-centred, practical approach to address the complex issues that stand between a young person and their future aspirations, while also working to immediately ensure stable reconnection of that young person with learning in a way that works best for them.

“Unfortunately, there are too many young people in South Australia and across the nation who are falling through the cracks which has significant impacts on our nation’s productivity and the life and health outcomes of students. This is why we are calling for continued government commitment to this evidence based program that has clear and positive outcomes.”


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