Wodonga Senior Secondary College: Benalla Flexible Learning Centre

Location: Wodonga Victoria

Benalla Flexible Learning Centre was established in February 2015 as a campus of Wodonga Senior Secondary College to provide an alternative educational program for young people aged between 14 and 19 years who have had difficulties with mainstream education. Many of the centre’s students have experienced trauma of some form. Enrolment varies over the course of a school year but averages around 50 students.

How Wodonga SSC Benalla Flexible Learning Centre has used Gonski funding

In 2015, the first year of the centre’s operation, just one student had completed a work experience placement. Gonski funding allowed Benalla FLC to focus on one specific strategy: to substantially expand student engagement and increase students’ post-school options by funding to employ a dedicated pathways and transitions teacher.

How Gonski funding has made a difference for students

From just one student completing workplace experience in 2015, numerous students have now successfully completed structured workplace learning and work experience programs, including 11 students undertaking a Vocational Education and Training in Schools program, seven in hospitality, and one in each of equine, beauty, hairdressing and individual support, five students completing a part-time work program, and three students now doing school-based apprenticeships. Almost all students now have well-structured resumés, which boosts their confidence and expands their options. The coordinator also worked with the local council to allow students without access to cars to learn to drive and successfully get their drivers’ licences, by offering the L2P program at school.

What the continuation of Gonski funding means to Wodonga SSC Benalla Flexible Learning Centre

School Principal, Mr Vern Hilditch is emphatic that much of what has been achieved cannot be maintained unless the additional funding continues. The huge increase in the number of students involved in successful workplace and work-oriented programs are at risk if the level of equity funding is not maintained or expanded beyond 2017.

“Without sustained funding over a period of time new approaches will wither and die before they can prove their worth. Gonski funding has the potential to help us achieve better outcomes for all students; not just those who fit the ‘traditional’ model,” Mr Hilditch says.

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