Students happy to go with the FLO

Fun: Caedin takes a kick at the target. photograph hayley mills

Alyssa Fritzlaff

LATROBE Valley Flexible Learning Option (LV FLO) is helping students find their own path.

The school was established in 2014 and allows secondary aged students who are disengaged with education, or at risk of disengaging, to access more flexible, personalised learning.

LV FLO is a partnership between Latrobe Valley secondary schools Kurnai College, Lowanna College and Traralgon College.

Their goal is to reconnect young people with education through providing individual support and engaging them with learning, giving them the tools they need to overcome obstacles and re-enter school, enter the workforce or pursue further education.

Connecting: Staff and students chat with Mark
Tanti from YSAS.

The school provides several programs, each of which cater to students with different needs. Adam Hinds teaches English and Maths at LV FLO.

He said the school is very much focused on each student’s individual needs and circumstances, and student to teacher ratios in classrooms enable this.

“That’s how we can get to know them a bit better, and that’s the way we can work with them a bit closer and individualise things for them,” he said.

“It’s great that it exists… there is definitely a need for it in the Valley.

“We focus a lot on their wellbeing and their social skills, and providing life experience. So, we take them up to the art gallery and out into the community… we go down to the tech school as well.”

Mr Hinds said the year is off to a good start, with students and teachers taking advantage of resuming continuous face-to-face learning after an interrupted two years due to the COVID pandemic.

“It’s been a really positive start to the year now that we are all on site and pretty stable,” he said.

“Every time we came back to onsite learning they came back stronger, so it’s been a really positive experience.”

Pathways for students at LV FLO are different depending on the individual, Mr Hinds said.

“Pathways vary, some go off to TAFE, some go back into mainstream school, some will find work,” he said.

“Especially with the older students, we try to get them into work experience,” he added.

Principal Nick Try said teachers at LV FLO are specially selected to suit the school and the students’ needs.

“We are very careful about who we bring on board… it’s all about the right personality and being relentless,” he said.

“We continue to work with students and families relentlessly until we can hopefully see improvement in their lives.”

Mr Try said the school meets the needs of the Latrobe Valley community, and provides an alternative option for students and their families when mainstream education isn’t working or isn’t appropriate.

“We offer a flexible approach, we offer, at times, a more relaxed approach to education and learning, and helping students and families manage what can be quite challenging situations or circumstances,” he said.

“A lot of the kids and families that we meet don’t necessarily have a great deal of trust in government organisations. We aim to be that solid, trusted organisation that they can go to, not just for educational support and help, but also in general.”

Linking students to available support services is another priority for LV FLO.

They recently hosted a ‘Health and Wellbeing Day’, during which a number of local support services attended the school and engaged with students.

“We had services like Anglicare, Headspace and YSAS come and introduce themselves to the students and let them know that they’re around,” Mr Hinds said.

“It was a really successful day.”