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

Lewis, Marian and Brennan, Jo and Bates, Darryl (2014) Addressing the needs of disadvantaged youth - the Toowoomba Flexi School: a sustainable alternative. In: Community capacity building: lessons from adult learning in Australia. NIACE, Leicester, United Kingdom, pp. 79-90. ISBN 978-1-86201-722-1


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.

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Item Type: Book Chapter (Commonwealth Reporting Category B)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Current - Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts - School of Teacher Education and Early Childhood
Date Deposited: 23 Feb 2015 04:20
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2017 00:22
Uncontrolled Keywords: alternative education; alternative schools; disenfranchised youth; Toowoomba; Centenary Heights State High School; disruptive students; community involvement
Fields of Research : 17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170103 Educational Psychology
13 Education > 1301 Education Systems > 130106 Secondary Education
Socio-Economic Objective: C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9301 Learner and Learning > 930101 Learner and Learning Achievement
C Society > 93 Education and Training > 9399 Other Education and Training > 939903 Equity and Access to Education

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