Educational Re-engagement as Social Inclusion: the role of flexible learning options in alternative provision in Australia (FORUM 3)
GEORGE MYCONOS, JOSEPH THOMAS, KIMBERLEY WILSON , KITTY TE RIELE , LUKE SWAIN
In Australia, a significant minority of young people do not complete upper secondary education. Whether procedural or enacted through the agency of students, the failure of the education system to accommodate young people through to completion can be regarded as a form of institutionalised social exclusion and injustice. In response, a growing number of flexible learning options (FLOs) are providing marginalised young people with alternative avenues for meaningful educational re-engagement. The authors of this article examine two key characteristics of FLOs: an unconditional acceptance of young people, and the integrated well-being support upon which inclusion is premised. Their discussion draws on in-depth interviews conducted with students and practitioners at a diverse range of sites. They find that FLOs play a key role in the process of re-inclusion, but this contribution to reducing social and educational inequality is predicated on a level of well-being support not ordinarily available in mainstream schooling.