In a strong initiative towards social justice engagement, Catholic Education is working towards the establishment of a Flexi School for disengaged young people in Cairns and Cooktown.
The school will cater for students in Years 7-12 who have disengaged from education or for whom enrolling in a mainstream secondary school is not the best alternative.
The school will enrol up to 52 students in Cairns and up to 38 in Cooktown, of whom up to 32 will be weekly boarders drawn from the wider community including HopeVale and WujalWujal.
The school already has provisional accreditation from the Non State Schools Accreditation Board (NSSAB) and an application for capital funding is under way through the Queensland Catholic Education Commission for State Government funds provided for Flexi Schools.
The school has received the enthusiastic support of the Cairns and Cook local governments whose councils have provided land for both Cairns (Manoora) and Cooktown (Hope St) in recognition of the serious social issues relating to disengaged young people. Catholic Education will also operate a second training site in Cooktown in partnership with Gungarde Aboriginal Corporation.
The school will deliver a specialised curriculum that addresses numeracy and literacy skills (particularly remedial, functional and vocational skills), life skills (food and nutrition, personal health, grooming, money management etc), ICT, music, and sport and recreation. There is expected to be access to certificate courses in vocational education.
The goal is to help young people recognise their own worth and potential and to assist them in a transition back to mainstream education if appropriate but also towards further training or employment.
The school will work closely with Education Queensland in the delivery of services particularly the State’s Flexible Learning Centre in Cairns and the Cooktown State School. The school will also seek support from other schools, parishes and the wider community including the recruitment of volunteers who may wish to play an active role in helping the young people towards more positive life outcomes.
Staff at the school will reflect a need for both teachers and those with a background in human services such as youth workers and counsellors.
It is expected that most students at the school will be aged 11-16 years and have a background of difficulties in engaging with mainstream education. The Cooktown facility will provide a different opportunity for the large number of local young people who have not made a successful transition to boarding schools – the community has identified that a closer weekly residential campus might be a better option.
Depending on the capital funding application and the commencement of construction it is expected that enrolment interviews will commence later this year. The school will not charge tuition fees.
Principal: Mrs Erica Prosser
Address: Corner Hope and Burkitt Streets, Cooktown QLD 4895
Phone Number: 07 4069 6042
Address: Moignard Street, Manoora QLD 4870
Phone Number: 07 4053 4550