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Supporting students to stay in school

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Supporting o​​​​ur schools

Schools are best placed to identify and respond to early warning signs of student disengagement from education. We are working to support schools to have the tools and resources they need to engage and retain every student in school.

FlexiSpac​​es—Doing things differently to get students back on track

Many students experience challenges at various junctures in their school life, and for most, remaining at their school provides their best chance of success.

The Department of Education is working to build the capabilities of schools to engage and re-engage as many students as possible, in education.

As part of this, the department committed to implementing FlexiSpaces in up to 52 schools by 2022. FlexiSpaces equip schools with high-quality, bespoke built environments that facilitate flexible learning opportunities for students who are at risk of disengaging. In 2018, the department trialled FlexiSpaces in two state high schools, refurbishing existing learning settings into modern, inclusive spaces to deliver individualised and high-quality teaching and learning strategies to support their disengaged students.​

Students in need of additional support are eligible to access the Fle​xiSpace on a case by case basis, ensuring that attempts to make suitable adjustments in class, or the wider school setting, are undertaken in the first instance. The FlexiSpace is just one of schools' many strategies and approaches for supporting students who are at risk of disengaging. Students who access the space continue to access some subjects with the rest of their peers in mainstream classes, and are supported to return to mainstream classes, full-time, when appropriate.

The first of their kind in Australia, FlexiSpaces represent a new way for mainstream schools to support every student to be engaged in their learning and achieve outcomes. To experience the FlexiSpace trial in action, check out the Piloting the FlexiSpace ​YouTube video,​ ​t​ranscript​.

For schools selected to implement a FlexiSpace, and for those interested in the operating requirements of the FlexiSpace model, please refer to the following guidelines:

FlexiSpace operational guidelines logo 
  • ​FlexiSpace operation​al guidelines highlight successful practices, capabilities and innovations in delivering differentiated learning responses and outline the parameters, within which, all future approved FlexiSpaces are to be established.

Delivering a digital eng​​agement strategy

We the differents logo 

To strengthen our online engagement with young people and their parents, two digital platforms are available. These platforms offer friendly and accessible information to help young people stay on track and equip their parents to support them in navigating their options.

The We the Differents​ website is a collective of information, tips, ideas and experiences to empower young people to learn what is on offer and to find the right support and options for their education.

Spark their Future logo 

The Spark their​ Future​ website is for parents and carers to find practical tips, information and support to help young people, who are disengaging, to get the most from their education.

Promoting high-q​​uality alternative settings

Quality pathways for all logo 

Our Quality pathways for all young people: A commitment to alternative education​ lays out the shared commitment of the non-state and Queensland Government schooling sectors to provide high-quality education to young people in alternative schools. This commitment is imperative because, while we know mainstream school is the best place for most young people, there are a small number of students who require an alternative learning setting.

Quality alternati​​​ve settings

Queensland's mainstream schooling system spans the state, independent and Catholic sectors, and caters to the vast majority of children and young people—together forming a system that affords students the best chance of finding success and making strong and sustained transitions to further education, training or employment.

For a small number of young Queenslanders, success may not be found in a mainstream setting. For these young people, alternative settings in the state and non-state sectors complement the mainstream system by addressing their complex health, safety and wellbeing needs in a tailored environment.

Successful school systems are those that combine excellence and equity in their education priorities (PDF, 4.8MB), ensuring all children have opportunities for a quality education.

Meeting and exceedin​​​g quality standards

All state and non-state alternative settings are required to uphold the mandatory requirements outlined in legislation. In striving for excellence in educational delivery, alternative settings invest and prioritise a wide range of practices to support students to succeed.

In addition to these mandatory requirements, Quality pathways for all young people: A commitment to alternative education identifies 13 standards for high-quality practice in alternative settings, which can be considered under 4 quality areas:

  • equity in delivery
  • precision and quality
  • focus on outcomes
  • collaboration and partnerships.

Explore the quality principles to consider what these evidence-based quality standards look like in schools, and how all educational settings can implement supporting practices to deliver the very best outcomes for all students. Access the Summary of high-quality practices​.

Practice i​​nsights

Youth engagement—Practice guide 

Our schools set out to support every student to succeed. However, each year, too many young people disengage from education, training and employment pathways. What we do in our schools can have a great impact on the future wellbeing of young people. While each school and cohort are unique, research and evaluation of effective practice has identified key practices that underpin the academic achievement and meaningful engagement of every student. These practices apply across diverse settings, in different contexts, and can respond to varying student needs.

These practice insights provide an evidence-based guide for schools seeking to promote best practice in student engagement alongside academic achievement. It uses established research to define capabilities and practices that put engagement at the heart of professional practice. Schools can use this framework to evaluate their efforts in identifying students at risk of disengagement, connect with students who have disengaged, and take steps to better support students to re-engage with education, training and employment pathways.

The following practice insight postcards have been designed to support discussions with your colleagues about engagement practices in your school.

Everybody's ​​Business

Everybody's Business tile 

Everybody's Business​ outlines an evidence-based approach to meeting the needs of children and young people who are at risk of disengagement, or who are disengaged from education. It outlines co​mponents of a strong and inclusive system. It has been developed to support Queensland state schools, regional staff in the Department of Education and other stakeholders to maximise engagement and re-engagement of young Queenslanders in education.

Components of ​​a strong and inclusive system

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Last updated 23 January 2023