Student attendance rates at Ararat College are on the rise this year thanks to two nationally recognised intervention programs.
Hands On Learning (HoL) and Flexible Learning Option (FLO) were introduced by the school in Term 3 of 2020 and have been helping tackle disengagement across various year levels.
The programs are facilitated by specialised staff and allow students to tap into their individual talents and interests.
HoL engages students in significant hands-on projects around the school and the local community, while FLO allows students and their parents to work with a school coordinator to identify strengths, special interests, and areas where the student needs support.
FLO Program Coordinator Celia Fairley said since the introduction of the initiatives, student attendance rates have dramatically increased.
“A range of students, including some who would not otherwise be engaging with education at all, have close to 100 per cent attendance in these alternative programs,” Miss Fairley said.
“The feedback we’ve had from students is that they feel much more comfortable and confident coming along to the specialist classrooms than they do attending the main campus.”
The HoL and FLO programs are self-funded by the school, with additional financial support from School Focused Youth Services and Central Grampians Local Learning and Employment Network (CGLLEN). Both initiatives operate out of the CGLLEN building which is located behind Ararat College.
Principal Ellie McDougall said she was grateful for the support CGLLEN had provided to the intervention programs.
“We are extremely thankful that CGLLEN was willing to provide us with office space that we could convert into a specialised classroom for our FLO and HoL students,” she said.
“Without access to facilities like this, we wouldn’t be able to provide our disengaged students with such vital learning opportunities.”
CGLLEN Acting Executive Officer, Jane Moriarty, said the organisation valued its partnership with Ararat College.
“We jumped at the opportunity to support these programs and help disengaged students reconnect with their education,” she said.
“As we are sharing a building, we get to have frequent interaction with the students and we are blown away by what they are achieving. The personal growth and development they experience as they progress through the program is clearly apparent.”
PHOTO: Education Support staff member Rachel Billett and FLO Program Coordinator Celia Fairley assist student, Seth, with his course work.