The Youth+ Institute is part of Edmund Rice Education Australia Youth+, the leading provider of flexible learning schools for disenfranchised young people in Australia.  Building on 30 years of success and in response to requests from government, non-government providers and community, the Institute has developed a range of services as outlined below to support mainstream and flexible education providers, communities and families in creating and sustaining meaningful education pathways for young people on the edges of or disengaged from education.

1.      YouthPlus Education (Y+E) Practice Training

  • Y+E Foundation Skills – Core training models
  • Additional training modules
  • Family and Community Foundation skills
  • School implementation support modules

2.      Supporting established Flexible Learning Options

  • Curriculum development
  • School Improvement processes
  • Strategic Planning processes
  • Leadership support and mentoring

3.      Response to School and/or Community invitation to investigate options and support for disengaged young people

  • Community mapping of need
  • Investigation of registering a Flexible Learning Centre (Special Assistance School) within EREA Youth+
  • Supporting schools/organisations/school systems to develop flexible learning options within their structure and organisation

Youth Plus Education (Y+E) Practice Training

YouthPlus Education practice leads to greater engagement and educational attainment for all young people particularly those who are disengaging or disengaged from education and experiencing long term social disadvantage.   The Y+E methodology combines a practical and evidence based approach with research foundations.

The Y+E training approach supports both the individual skill development of staff and the strengthening of a whole school inclusive approach.

Core Training Modules

Each module includes:

  • Y+E Practice
  • Links to research and theory foundations
  • Skill development and practice
  • Strategies for whole school, program and classroom implementation

Each module interlinks and re-inforce key learnings of Y+E practice.  Each module requires two hours for delivery.  A longer session provides opportunity for further skill practice.  Follow up activities can be provided for schools/programs to re-inforce learning.  Modules 1-3 can be delivered in a one day staff training and form the foundational skills of Y+E practice.

Module 1: Relational Pedagogy

  • Working in relationship with young people – creating environments which promote engagement, share power dynamics and maintain high expectations
  • Operation by Principles (This can build on and complement a school’s values based system or approach)
  • Strategies which support young people to internalise responsibility for their actions
  • Creating classrooms and schools which promote engagement and inclusion of all young people including those most vulnerable to disengagement
  • Assess your progress
  • Understanding professional relationship and boundaries

Module 2: Trauma Informed practice

Understanding trauma and adversity; understanding emotional behavioural disorders and impacts on child and adolescent development.

  • Understanding the brain and stress responses
  • Different types of trauma, adversity, emotional behavioural difficulties and how this may impact a young person’s development, learning and behaviour
  • Executive functioning and trauma: Interventions
  • Understanding the links between behaviour, emotion and communication
  • Inclusive whole school, program and classroom practice

Module 3: De-escalation

In response to heightened situations and proactive strategies

  • Training in using de-escalation strategies in response to heightened situations
  • Strategies which create calm and de-escalated learning environments

Module 4: Promoting Wellbeing

Strategies and activities to support wellbeing

  • Using a wellbeing matrix to monitor and measure wellbeing indicators
  • Developing curriculum which embeds wellbeing practice

Module 5: Culturally Informed Practices

Understanding and exploration of working in culturally informed ways.

  • Understanding trauma from a cultural perspective
  • Walking in two worlds: code switching and language loads
  • Working in partnership with young people, family and community
  • Strategies and resources which are culturally inclusive
  • Classroom/Whole school self-evaluation

Module 6: Language development and academic success

  • Understanding the developmental aspects of language acquisition and impacts on learning and literacy
  • Classroom strategies to support language growth in primary and/or secondary students
  • Implications of “hidden” language deficit for adolescent students including youth justice clients

Community/Family level Support:

Y+E packages can also include information and training sessions for family and community members to enhance the support of young people’s engagement in education.

School Implementation: Support Modules

Implementing new strategies and approaches at a classroom and/or whole school level are most effective when supported by intentional change processes.  Through years of experience in supporting teachers and school leaders to adopt relational pedagogies which improve engagement and academic attainment the Youth+ Institute has developed a range of processes which support and empower practice change and mastery.  The following two modules are recommended to strengthen outcomes.

Support Module 1: Working with leadership teams

Prior to delivery of core modules the Institute team will liaise and consult with the leadership team to understand the school context, priorities and needs.  The inclusion of this module will deepen the ability of the Institute team to tailor training and implementation strategies including additional service to the leadership team.

  • Working with the leadership team prior and following the delivery of the training packages to understand the current school priorities and needs and tailor training and implementation strategies accordingly.
  • Mentoring and problem solving support for whole school implementation
  • Supporting change process

Support Module 2: Practice Review and Improvement Processes

PRIP sessions provide opportunities for school community staff to reflect on positive change, share knowledge and practice, and identify areas for growth and improvement.

  • Collaborative processes are used to share, prioritise, problem solve and action plan
  • PRIP sessions can form an ongoing record of continuous improvement processes
  • PRIP sessions can be focused at whole staff, team or program levels
  • PRIP supports team development through shared vision, engaged and knowledgeable staff and collaborative maturity.

Supporting Flexible Learning options: Consultancy services

Curriculum

Y+E practice incorporates curriculum which is highly successful in engaging students who have experienced learning disenfranchisement.

Cert I and II Functional Literacy: The Youth+ Institute through the Youth+ RTO can offer access to a range of nationally accredited certificates in particular Cert I and II in Functional Literacy.  These qualifications are developed for secondary school students who may be struggling to attend mainstream schooling or may be part of flexible learning environments, outreach centres and other community organisations.

Curriculum Development

  • Staff training in developing and delivering curriculum in the Y+E model
  • Tailored curriculum units and packages developed to the requesting organisation’s needs.

The following attributes are evident in both staff training and curriculum packages

  • Age-appropriate curriculum that is accessible at individual levels
  • Tailored for the cultural and social environment of the community (classroom, school and extended community)
  • Linked to accredited learning outcomes i.e. VET, ACARA, State-based curricula frameworks
  • Authentic, real-life or life-like focus
  • Differentiated with regard to the literacy and numeracy levels of individuals
  • Includes assessment that is ongoing (formative), authentic, meaningful, and takes into account the variety of learning styles of individual young person
  • Takes into account the culture of the cohort and their interests
  • Provides opportunities for student ownership through choice and includes goal setting and self-reflection
  • Combines academic content with wellbeing- the holistic child

School Improvement for Flexible Learning Options (Schools, Programs)

The Youth+ Institute has developed the “Fidelity Factor:  A Continuous Improvement framework for Flexible Learning” to support flexible learning options enhance their practice of continuous improvement.  The “Fidelity Factor” has been adapted for schools/programs who work with young people who are no longer engaged in education in mainstream settings and so research and practice in these settings is used to inform the language and critical emphasis within the tool.

The Institute team can support schools in their school improvement process utilising the Fidelity Factor and/or the Improvement tool as required by the school’s educational authority.

  • Research and multi-disciplinary practice applied to Flexible Learning is reflected in the “Fidelity Factor” while still maintaining emphasis on engagement, teaching and learning practices
  • The Youth+ Institute can provide the panel chair to lead the review day/s. Expert panel members can also be provided.
  • Based on the experience of conducting School Improvement reviews in Youth+ FLCs the Institute provides a process which understands and is respectful of the specialist work in flexible learning options
  • School staff have endorsed the process as being validating, respectful, highly useful and suitable to their context.

Strategic Planning Processes for Flexible Learning Schools/Programs

The Youth+ Institute can support Strategic Planning Processes within School Improvement Processes or as a stand-alone process utilising similar strategies as indicated within the above inclusions.  The Youth+ Institute has been involved in developing strategic plans in both new and emerging schools/programs and established schools.

Leadership mentoring

The Youth+ Institute can provide whole school leadership mentoring support.

  • Leadership mentoring can be further prioritised and emphasised in the Y+E model as described in the above section.
  • A tailored individual Principal mentoring support from highly experienced Principals in the field of Flexible learning can also be individually negotiated.
  • Support may include informal debrief sessions; supervision; strategic planning support; professional learning plans, performance reviews.

Response to School and Community invitation to investigate options and support for disengaged young people.

The Youth+ Institute has developed a range of responses for schools and/or communities seeking to develop or support educational programs for disengaged young people.  These project scopes are developed according to the community request and need and will be unique to each community.  Projects can be focused at an individual school or community level or scaled across organisations.  A range of possible options are briefly listed as follows.

Community Consultation and Recommendation Reports

The Institute will conduct community consultations (including schools, support agencies, local government, families, young people, Elders and community organisations) to determine the needs, desires and potential responses to educational disengagement in the local community.  Recommendation reports including options for moving forward are discussed and provided.

School Registration within Youth+

The registration of a Special Assistance School within EREA as a Youth+ Flexible Learning Centre.  With eighteen new schools registered across the country since 2006 the Institute team is highly skilled and experienced in developing schools in response to community need, invitation and partnership.   See Youth+ Institute website section “New Initiatives” for more detail.

Supporting Program creation in Education systems and Schools external to Youth+

Re-engagement Programs:  Development of a school’s internal capacity to deliver specialist transition and/or re-engagement programs for young people who have or are at high risk of disengaging.

  • Transition back into learning programs offered on school sites or offsite programs which could include mobile programs (based on Youth+ established models of Bridge or Outreach programs).
  • The program rebuilds patterns of attendance and learning engagement, resilience and self-regulation skills, goal orientations and identification, and provides support for literacy and numeracy skill development as required. The focus is on providing students with the support and skills needed to be able to access their learning potential and transition back into supported learning environments.
  • The Institute will tailor support packages according to the school or organisation’s request and need. The support may include staff training and support modules as described in previous sections; governance advice; community consultation; program review and improvement support.

Bridge Transition programs: These programs are specifically designed to build the capacity of highly disengaged young people with youth justice involvement to re-engage in learning and/or transition from youth justice including youth detention centres.

Community/Family level Support:  The promotion of family and community inclusion and support of young people’s engagement in education pathways and community responsibility including:

  • Understanding and overcoming the barriers to education and learning
  • Building capacities to both advocate and support young people’s re-engagement and access to learning.
  • Understanding trauma and family responses to support healing
  • Developing engagement strategies in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities with organisations and local community members e.g.
    • Working with Elders focused on supporting the important interface of young people in youth justice systems.
    • Promoting strategies highlighting the importance of a two world commitment
    • Promoting and supporting community led strategies which support re-engagement in learning and “healing” from trauma.

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©2017 YouthPlus Institute - An initiative of Edmund Rice Education Australia

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