Do unruly students need their own school?

by Robert Ballantyne27 May 2015

The plan, being developed by Western Australia’s Department of Education, would provide a solution for the state’s public schools that are struggling to cope with difficult students

Opening from next year for a one-year pilot program, the former Midland primary school would house the new "learning academy” and support up to 20 "seriously disengaged" high school students.

Western Australian Education Minister, Peter Collier, said he may open two more academies in Perth in the next three to five years if the trial was successful.

"In some instances they are violent or they are seriously disruptive," Collier told The West Australian.
"They may have had significant trauma in their lives."

Collier said problem students would be enrolled at the school full-time, instead of being withdrawn to attend a behaviour centre for a few days or weeks before being sent back to their regular school.

The department will also replace its 12 existing behaviour centres with 13 "engagement centres" to work with extremely challenging K-12 students.

"It's a reflection of the changing dynamics of our education system - this cohort of students is growing and we can ignore it, or we can do something about it," Collier said.

While a core purpose of the school would be to moderate students’ behaviour, it would be less authoritarian than mainstream schools. Students would not have to wear a uniform and would be able to call teachers by their first name.

There would be no formal timetable because each student would have an individual learning program based on their own interests.
 

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