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High hopes for new school

Wednesday, 7th December, 2011

Rowan Radvan Rowan Radvan

By Kurtis Eichler

Young people disengaged from their high school education now have another alternative.

Non-Government special school Alesco Learning Centre, under the banner of Equity for WEA Hunter, will set up a site at Robinson College, taking in 30 students by 2013.

Managers from Alesco as well as Robinson College yesterday held an information session at the Democratic Club about the new facility which offers formal education in a non-institutional environment.

It is available for students from years nine to 12, and 15 years of age and older.

Manager of Equity for WEA Hunter in Newcastle, Rowan Radvan, said that they might have become disengaged for a number of reasons, including family problems or conflict in their personal life.

“There is disruption at home usually for these young people or they live a lifestyle that is not conducive to regular school attendance,” Ms Radvan said.

She said the school provided young people with flexible, fair and responsive learning.

“It takes all of those things and then marries that up with a traditional school curriculum.”

CEO of Robinson College, Steve Baker, said the school was an extension of programs they were already running, and that enrolments would open in the latter half next year.

He said its was a “natural transition” for the college.

“The students and the schools have probably indicated that they would like us to be able to run these programs for longer periods, long term,” he said. “We think there’s a demand. 

Mr Baker said keeping the class sizes small was part of its appeal.

“We’re not opening a cafe, we’re not running a program. This is going to be a school that in 25 years’ time students will want to have school reunions and will want to keep in touch.

“We’re actually creating a culture of a learning environment.”

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