How does your school engage your most vulnerable young people?

We have the resources on hand in quite-
an extended team now that is based across two guidance officers, an industry liaison
officer across senior schooling – a school-based health nurse, a school-based police officer. We have very strong case management of our students,
from the very time they arrive and interview – quite often there’s a lot of work to
get done before they even get there. Our role as educators is to educate the whole child. That means we need to have a real understanding of who they are. Their personal backgrounds, then in the classroom,
not just themselves but the whole class around them. So by having a personalised approach we can
make sure that we meet them where they’re at – and really engage them in a meaningful
way that leads to positive outcomes. Make sure we listen. I think that’s a big one,
if we listen to what – the student actually wants, use that as –
the connecting point and then get them engaged. It might be through anything from sport,
through to the arts, dance, culture. We’ve tried to have a very innovative curriculum
around science, technology, engineering and mathematics – so that’s about things like 3D printing,
laser cutting, plastics manufacturing – and now we’re even investigating drone curriculum. As a young person, if you’re struggling with
the work in the classroom – if you misbehave you get sent out.
So if you get sent out, you don’t actually have to – address the learning issue you have. So for us,
we try and address the issue and we engage them – and we tell the student that the further they push away,
he more we envelop them with all of our support. I think we have to have great relationships
with our kids, and if you can combine those two elements – the relationships, good practice in the classroom
from our teachers, and having good curriculum – I think we can keep our kids engaged in the classroom. It’s the skills that we can provide and develop
within people and have all the back-up resources – to be able to support the individuals
so that they can achieve their best – because in complex areas, our postcodes don’t define us.

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