Flexible learning programs generate substantial benefits for individual young people as well as for their communities and broader Australian social and economic imperatives, according to this report.
The research for Putting the Jigsaw Together focused on the provision of education for disadvantaged young people through flexible learning programs in Australia. The overall goal of the project was to both assess and enhance the potential of flexible learning programs to contribute to marginalised young people’s learning and wellbeing, as well as to national educational attainment and social inclusion goals.
The research found:
- There are three broad structural categories of flexible learning programs: programs operating within mainstream schools, programs operating within TAFE or ACE, and separate (stand alone) programs.
- Nationally there are over 900 flexible learning programs, educating over 70,000 students each year.
- About one-third of programs offer credentials at both junior and senior secondary level. Almost half offer only junior secondary credentials and almost one-fifth only senior secondary credentials. About half of the programs also offer accredited VET certificates across a wide range of industries.
- Almost all programs indicate they target young people who are at risk of non-completion and early school leavers, reinforcing their shared mission of providing education opportunities for young people who may otherwise miss out on crucial secondary schooling.
- The website assists young people (and their parents, youth workers and teachers) to find a program that suits them, and enables flexible learning programs to learn about and from each other.