There are 583 students enrolled in flexible learning across the Ballarat area.
Highlands LLEN education engagement and placement coordinator Asha Buckmaster said there were currently nine flexible learning programs in the region.
These include the Berry Street School, which will open in Sebastopol next year, the Developing Other Talents and Skills program through Phoenix P-12 Community College, Federation College and the Flexible Learning Intervention Pathway at Ballarat High School.
There is also the Link Up program through Ballarat Secondary College, Pod 4 and the Young Parents Program at Yuille Park Community College, Satellite VCAL at Mt Clear College and the SEDA program which focuses on sport, arts and building.
“Some of these are attached to mainstream schools and others are stand alone such as SEDA or Berry Street,” Ms Buckmaster said.
Flexible learning was also the focus of a recent forum in Ballarat, which attracted about 60 educators and stakeholders from Melbourne, Geelong, Horsham, south east Gippsland and locally.
The third Flexible Learning Forum, held at the Ballarat Technology Park in conjunction with Flexible Learning Victoria, focused on local issues, such as the announcement of the Berry Street School.
However, Ms Buckmaster said it also looked at broader policy initiatives, student wellbeing, measuring and tracking student engagement and the flexible learning landscape statewide.
Highland LLEN’s latest resource publication, Choose Your Own Path, was also launched, which outlines the different types of flexible learning available.
It also answers a range of questions and answers on each, such as eligibility, time commitment, support available and costs.
“No-one’s ever really captured it all in one space before,” Ms Buckmaster said.
“The atmosphere of the forum was palpably positive.
“With more than 60 people in attendance and fantastic feedback provided, the opportunity for professionals and stakeholders to network and share best practice was a pleasure to be involved in.”
Ms Buckmaster said Highlands LLEN was passionate about trying to shift public perceptions about flexible learning and the students it attracts.
“We are excited to continue working with the Highlands Region Flexible Learning Network in 2017 and, with the network’s consultation and guidance, we look forward to improving support, collaboration, advocacy and relevant training events in this specialised field of education.
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