Addressing the needs of disadvantaged youth - the Toowoomba Flexi School: a sustainable alternative

Edited book (chapter)


Lewis, Marian, Brennan, Jo and Bates, Darryl. 2014. "Addressing the needs of disadvantaged youth - the Toowoomba Flexi School: a sustainable alternative." Postle, Glen David, Burton, Lorelle J. and Danaher, Patrick Alan (ed.) Community capacity building: lessons from adult learning in Australia. Leicester, United Kingdom. NIACE. pp. 79-90
Chapter Title

Addressing the needs of disadvantaged youth - the Toowoomba Flexi School: a sustainable alternative

Book Chapter CategoryEdited book (chapter)
ERA Publisher ID2778
Book TitleCommunity capacity building: lessons from adult learning in Australia
AuthorsLewis, Marian (Author), Brennan, Jo (Author) and Bates, Darryl (Author)
EditorsPostle, Glen David, Burton, Lorelle J. and Danaher, Patrick Alan
Page Range79-90
Chapter Number5
Number of Pages12
Year2014
PublisherNIACE
Place of PublicationLeicester, United Kingdom
ISBN9781862017221
9781862017252
Web Address (URL)http://shop.niace.org.uk/community-capacity-building.html
Abstract

This story of hope and commitment illustrates how a small-scale community-based initiative can grow into something that is both sig­nificant and sustainable. The Toowoomba Flexi School is a highly suc­cessful and well-recognised example of an alternative education setting that embraces disadvantaged and disengaged students. Close to 15 years ago, a problem was recognised. A number of young people had with­drawn from mainstream education and had nowhere to go. Recogni­tion of the problem led to action - small-scale to begin with. From these tentative beginnings, Flexi began to emerge - more volunteers and community groups became involved and a viable alternative school was created. Sustainability was assured in 2004 when Flexi became part of Education Queensland, operating within Centenary Heights State High School. Its purpose and values affirmed, the school now goes from strength to strength.
The chapter examines the dynamics of this community endeavour, exploring how community capacity emerged, developed and was ampli­fied when the identification of a youth issue was linked to the will to find solutions. This dynamic is likened to a snowball, which both grows and gains momentum as it moves forward. Tentative links are made to the community capacity building literature in an attempt to understand better how community capacity was built in this instance and what may be learned from that.

Keywordsalternative education; alternative schools; disenfranchised youth; Toowoomba; Centenary Heights State High School; disruptive students; community involvement
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020520102. Educational psychology
390306. Secondary education
Public Notes

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Byline AffiliationsSchool of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Flexi School, Toowoomba, Australia
Toowoomba Regional Council, Australia
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
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