Oakwood School, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

coming to the courts and when she would ask where do you go to school will be no answer often the young people don't go to school so that was where a problem was identified so Oakwood School was started as a response to maybe thousands of students across the region who justdon't go to school the model is for school's is you turn up toschool and you get counted in February in a school with a budget to work with you ifyou actually not there in February you don't get counted so there's no money in educationallocated to you for your education so that's part of the model of Oakwood School is to find the young people who are not at school enroll them therefore we have a schoolbudget and we can employee teachers to work with them Who is meant to keep them at school? Well, parents should.

Parents would like to and that hasn't worked.

Who would be next? It will be the teachers.

It's theteacher's job to cater for the students at school.

Teachers are meant to help kids and unfortunately what we do when we get to the pointy end of difficult kids atschool we stop saying, what can I as a teacher do to fix this and we turn it around we findsomebody else will blame the kids because they live on the wrong side ofthe road or they didn't do something didn't work hard enough last year orthey're not trying here we actually we we do actually blame the student if I wasgoing to work and I had no clue what was going on and I had no answers and people kept asking me questions and I still had no answers and then people were horribleto me I'd probably take a sicky and I'll probably look for a new job and ithink is this the same experience that our kids have had.

They've been in schoolhaven't been up to be successful and people have told them off for it.

people have told them that they need to be better they need to pull their socks up They need to try harder honestly if they could have they would have they would have done it in prep.

And our students have been unsuccessful for a long time at schoolto the extent that they stopped going and I think the the idea of stoppinggoing to me is a very understandable response.

I wish they hadn't done and I am really proud of the fact that they have asked to come back to Oakwood School but I don't think it's hard to understand where they're coming from i had an accident on my scooter I broke my spleen and stuff like that.

I went into ICU for two months worker she got me into school and she ended up advising me to come here and since then I've been coming here its been good.

Its like one of the best'ist schools.

i have ever been to Yeah at my old school i used to wag heaps.

Skip all my periods and stuff like that.

But now, its alright.

I don't.

I haven't wagged here yet.

No.

There's no point you know.

I just come here and do it.

I was in Stepping Stones the psychiatric hospital and I did not want to go to school I had a really bad anxiety of to school I like a really bad headache I feel like throwing off I was really really frightened of people thinkingthat I was stupid of being told that I was doing something wrong if I couldn't learn properly I just got really really scared of going I like English cos I like reading andwriting and I kinda liked Science but it was still very difficult when you can't concentrate cos Icouldn't i couldn't sit down read so I kind of didn't like that I couldn't dosomething that I loved that I used to really love to do I couldn't do it andto not being able to do something some people don't value it has much like somepeople see school was just something that just want rather than waiting is itreflects what he had a big future and what you gonna do people in the world don't get education and i am happy that I get an education Every single parent wants the best things for their children and every single parent wants their kids to do well in school and they findthemselves at home with someone in the bedroom that won't talk to them, won't go to school won't engage.

a student sitting athome by themselves, they are not really imagining a great future forthemselves it's really difficult for the families it creates a whole bunch ofstress for them but also really difficult for the young person because westrongly believe that everybody wants to have a great future everybody would liketo be successful and our young people have found that taken away from themselves.

to be successful in society what youneed you need to go to school understand that it's a significant thingfor us to be aware of everyone's individual learning plan we're notasking students to work groups The program is really designed or devised hand-in-hand with the young person so the teacher has the goals that they would liketo achieve in terms of literacy numeracy positive behaviour but we're doingaround the interests of the young person So if they decide that like to do somework around the environmental the AFL some pop star that's okay that's wherewe started work so the teachers setting goals and young is setting goals together but I can kind of choose what it is that I want to do he makes me do Maths what I want to write about I can kind ofchoose for myself and i can choose where I want to go I like that moreMaths i am so bad at I think its because that i don't like things that are black and white like you can sit down and debate things that haven't been decided on thats fun You get a different opinion everything single person.

I find interesting and I like to write about i like to read about I like History.

I'm good at learning History History is fun.

The first level of success is to engage the student with the teacher and to begin learning again.

For me thats an enormous success I think its a beautiful thing when the kids come back they very quickly move on from the history they very quickly start to think about afuture for themselves and I think that's a great thing for teachers.

it talks tothe strength of Education and learning and what teachers can do.

We as teachers and careers teachers we worry about where are our students going to go and how successful can be.

So the approach of Oakwood School reallycame from employing some very smart skilled teachers and working with them tothink about how were going make this work Oakwood likes to incorporate three key words into the philosophy It's Learning, respect and empowerment.

Learning emphasises well to learn.

to proceed on with your life in such a way that you keep on learning.

everyone learns every day The next aspect of the philosophy of the school is respect Just to be friendly, humble and the school tends to emphasise on that cos no one likes to have conflict in students And the school does like a perfect job in avoiding conflict.

the final element of the schools philosophy empowerment was a big part of me progressing through Oakwood We use this empowerment method to help with the respect and learning aspects like, you're not going to do work when you're like down or you're not going to be able to completely function when you're depressed So what the school likes to do is empower the student and then have a sort of uprising where they're progressively or exponentially learning and becoming more happy I say to our students, I'm not going to drag you by the foot, grab you by the foot and drag you to class I'm just not going to do that.

I want you to be there and I want you to want to be there working on something positive but wehave to have this year already in place to do it so that's why we don't startclasses straight away we work really slowly on induction we're getting the young person ready for learning and on our model by the time they are in class they are ready for learning and will be successful and when the student actually arrives in the classroom I want the teacher to be the most important person for that young person The other way of looking at that is if our students end up in a class somewhere in with a bunch of kids in a teacher they most likely going be taking the lead from the other kids and not from the teacher at that stage is where it goes wrong.

So our induction process its really designed to get to know the student well for them to know uswell and for the young person to be successful when they join the class the right choices going the right way unquestioned but for me I want more than that I don't want just a good relationship.

I want that to lead to fantastic learning One of the youth workers we worked with in South Melbourne described that well to me she said yes you don't want a teacher who thinks they're a youth worker I want a teacher who might have the skills of a youth worker but I want them to be a teacher.

so the relationships at Oakwood school between the young person and the teacher are strong positive fantastic relationships, but I don't see anything more than an honest, honest human relationship so they could have been had difficultygetting out of school students who have significant issueswith school to be successful a really difficult place for them to beto be in school everyone's happy and they lost and the other part of it is ahundred percent chance withdrawing their lives which is a significant impact onthe capacity to stay in school can be successful at school so I could havedropped in school but that doesn't mean I don't want to be successful and one ofthe things that I could school does these kids to experience success wedon't push through a particular day to the extent that we actually goingexperience failure our students always experience success in school and sosimple but so successful because everyone wants to be successful everyone likes to feel that they just achieved something good to have smile back fromthe teacher and the positive feebdback and be able to go home and say to someone atleast think to themselves that had a good day was it done something good Ithink that there's no such thing as a lost cause I think everybody can besuccessful we we might not yet have found the answer and so to be verydifficult but I wouldn't be prepared to write anybody off been out of school for a long time sothe average would be close enough to a year out of school but i think there is probably anotherfive thousand out there who we haven't met yet, who are in the same circumstances who have dropped out of school.

I can imagine that maybe some of them are not ready to be talking to a teacher, but the quicker that can the better but we really need to be ready for and asking for this.

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