Giving young people Flexible Learning Options
New research by Mission Australia and the University of Adelaide highlights the strengths of our Flexible Learning Options (FLO) program. It calls for a long-term commitment from the SA government to support the initiative, as well as expansion of the program to other parts of Australia.
The FLO program provides casework support and individualised learning programs for high school students who have disengaged from mainstream schooling. Mission Australia has run FLO in South Australia since 2007 and currently supports more than 500 students across 32 different schools across the state.
18 year-old Indigo began as a student with Mission Australia's FLO program in 2015 when she was in Year 10 after disengaging from mainstream schooling in 2014. At this time, she was couch-surfing and didn't see the point of school.
"I didn't like high school. I hated the structure, the routine, the homework and even the uniform," Indigo explained.
She attributes her success with our FLO program due to the fact that there were less people in the learning space compared to mainstream education. Because of this, she was able to focus on her own learning. Her case workers were able to help her realise the importance of gaining an education.
"The benefit of FLO is that you're studying on your own terms. You go at your own speed and take as much or as little time as you need," she said.
During her time with the FLO program she has completed Year 11, a Cert II in Hospitality and gained her Responsible Service of Alcohol accreditation. This semester, she began the University of Adelaide's University Preparatory Program (UPP) and she will continue her undergraduate study next year in a Science/Arts double degree.
Mission Australia’s Regional Leader Adam Sherwood said that Indigo is one of hundreds of students who have benefited greatly from the individualised support offered by FLO's caseworkers and teachers.
"The evidence shows that FLO has a positive impact on disengaged and vulnerable young people. It highlights the importance of tailored casework to help them take the lead in addressing their individual challenges, boost aspirations, achieve learning goals as well as pursue post-school employment, training and further learning goals," Adam said.
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