by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Inside Teaching : April 2010
Inside Teaching | April 2010 FEATURE 10 the three sites in 2009, up from 67 the previous year. The results in the School Certificate are especially pleasing for Key College Principal Lou Single, given the type of hardship students have faced in their lives and in mainstream education. ‘For many of the young people who attend our schools, traditional initiatives and strategies have failed to engage them in learning and provide them with the support they need to realise their right to education,’ Single says. ‘In our schools, we aim to deliver innovative initiatives and strategies to meet the needs of our students, assist them with overcoming the issues and barriers affecting them, and ultimately turn their lives around.’ The key? ‘Being flexible in our approach to the curriculum,’ she says, ‘as well as providing our students with the support they need to get their lives back on track.’ As one 2009 graduate explains, staff at Key College never stop believing in the students. ‘My family once told me I would never make it through school, but they were wrong,’ the student says. ‘I’ve risen above my demons because my teachers here encouraged my dreams and ambitions in life. I’m not the only one proud of me; my teachers are proud, my mum and Nan and Pa are proud.’ Research has shown that education is a key factor in empowering young people to break the cycle of abuse and neglect. The main objectives of Key College are to ensure young people are provided with: schooling suitable to their specific needs; the support required to ensure they engage with the opportunities offered to them, particularly in regard to language, literacy and numeracy skills; and the support required to address the issues affecting them. A 2008 graduate describes the support as amazing. ‘It’s pretty cool to have support from the staff and students for any problem, to be understood when you try to explain and not just be told off,’ the student says. ‘The teachers always know how to solve a problem.’ Maintaining small teacher-to-student ratios, averaging between six and eight students to each teacher, and conducting lessons in one main classroom are just two of the strategies Key College uses. Individual education plans assist young people in Years 8 to 10 to develop the skills required to re-enter mainstream education and complete their NSW School Certificate and Higher School Certificate before pursuing employment or further education or training. Individualised, quality teaching is essential, says Single, but you also need to ensure you have support staff trained to deal with issues such as homelessness and instability of accommodation. ‘Our students face multiple and complex issues, which the school assists them to address in order that they can make the most of the educational opportunities offered and turn their lives around,’ she explains. ‘We have to be innovative in our approach, which is why we’ve developed and implemented initiatives and strategies to engage young people in learning. This in turn helps to improve literacy and numeracy in a manner that engages the students, makes them feel supported and encourages them to learn. ‘Activities such as service learning, which is structured to engage young people in projects designed to help others and stimulate social conscience, enable the whole community to become involved in the work of the school and allow students to improve the community,’ she says. ‘Service learning also helps to improve the self-esteem of students and allows them to see that they can make a valuable contribution to society.’ Key College students have been involved in a number of service learning activities: 12 students participated in the ‘Walking in My Shoes’ camp; three students were involved in a before-school reading program; seven cared for retirement village residents on a Blue Mountains day trip; and nine more were involved in creating artwork for playground areas. In addition to completing work in their communities, Key College students also participate in a wide range of life skills programs. These range from design and