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Educating on the margins: young people's insights into effective alternative education
journal contributionposted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by K Reimer, Luci PangrazioLuci Pangrazio
Like many countries, Australia has persistent rates of school exclusion, juvenile offending and recidivism. In response, there has been a growth of ‘alternative education’ provision – interventions that support young people to engage with learning opportunities outside the conventional education system. While alternative education programs educate more than 70,000 students each year across Australia, evidence of their effectiveness is lacking. There is a need to expand understandings of how alternative education provision works in practice, and what models best fit the complex needs of different groups of young people. This paper reports on Out Teach Mobile Education – an individualised alternative education program run by Save the Children, Tasmania. This unique program, operating out of a van, aims to engage young people, who have been involved with the criminal justice system, in further education and employment opportunities. In the paper, the young people involved identify how and why they believe the program works. The young people's perspectives provide valuable understandings of how ‘meaningful education’ in one specific program looks to the individuals involved. The article concludes by arguing that an authentic assessment of alternative education programs must include the voices of the young people whose lives these programs are aimed at improving.