For some, traditional schooling isn't an easy path. Fortunately, the new Y Vocational School (YVS) opening on 31 January 2022, is designed to offer local disengaged young people a practical learning alternative.
We sat down with Navit Shchigel, the new school principal, to find out more about the new school.
Why did the Y decide to open a vocational school?
N: "There is a growing need for alternative schools and a more holistic approach to learning, as more and more young people become disengaged from traditional schools. The Y has always supported young people and so we have spent the last two years building this new service to fill the gap. We believe all young people are capable of success, they just need the right environment and guidance- and that's what we will be providing.
What's different about the new Y Vocational School?
N: "Our small, independent school provides a safe and nurturing environment where all young people keen to learn
can enjoy a sense of belonging, regardless of their gender, sexuality, religion, or difference. We work in partnership with our students to restore their self-worth and resilience, teaching self-regulation and inspiring positive attitudes and behaviours towards themselves, their families, and the school community to encourage their success, so they can become happy, healthy adults and thriving members of our communities.
We work to re-engage young people in education through a unique approach that focuses on supporting and preparing them for the workplace. There is no one size fits all, so we have a full wraparound case management approach for each individual student and our philosophy is to meet them where they are at mentally and academically.”
Is there a difference between a care school and a vocational school?
N: “There isn't technically a difference, we've chosen to call ourselves a vocational school because we focus on preparing young people for the workforce. However, we are registered as a case school.”
Can you explain what a disengaged young person is?
N: “It’s a young person who has disconnected from education, for example they’ve stopped attending school or attend sporadically, or it could even be they still attend school but don’t actually take part in any learning. They could be disengaged for a number of reasons; it could be because of prolonged absences due to illness, or because of a traumatic incident, or because they don’t fit into the traditional school environment. Learning disabilities also make it really difficult for young people to access traditional education. And when we use the term disengaged, we are talking about disengaged from education.
Is it a legal requirement young people have to attend school until they’re 18?
In Western Australia the government has mandated that all young people are engaged in some form of education or traineeship until they are age is 17 years and 6 months.
Who can attend the Y Vocational School?
N: “Initially YVS will accept Year 10 students who have previously experienced challenges engaging in traditional education, and hopefully from 2023 we will be able to accommodate up to x100 students from Year 10 to 12. We will have the option for students to stay for Year 13 on as needs basis.”
Why do you focus on mental health?
N: “In order to learn we need to be able to focus and often disengaged young people suffer from trauma and mental health issues, for whatever reason – no judgement here! Our Body, Mind, Spirit program is ran by our trauma informed youth workers and is designed to help clear the ‘noise’ from student’s heads. By supporting student’s mental health, whether it’s regular sessions with our psychologist, or mindful lessons, we help students to become much more able to focus on learning.
What qualifications are available for students?
N: “To help students on their journey to employment each YVS student will have an Individual Education Plan designed to help them achieve their specific goals and every student who completes their schooling with us will achieve a nationally recognised qualification. We provide:
- Certificates I, II and III in General Education for Adults (CGEA)
- Each student has an individual Education Plans (IEP) based on their individual interests, strengths, and abilities, carefully designed to achieve their goals
- Year 10 students learn English, Mathematics, Health, Humanities and Social Sciences, Art, Science and Technology (STEM)
- Year 11 and 12 students also study Health, PE, Protective Behaviours, Humanities, in addition to CGEA in literacy and numeracy, and additional electives
- We focus our teaching literacy and numeracy skills using evidence-based programs.
How do you help students decide on a career?
N: “As well as teaching literacy and numeracy skills, we provide Vocational training opportunities through community partnerships, which lead to qualifications and employment in a variety of industries. We have developed strong community partnerships with organisations in the area so students can access workplace learning, traineeships, and employment.
Our highly experienced and capable teachers and youth workers provide educational programs to promote continuous engagement, meet individual student learning needs and interests, whilst placing an equal emphasis on social and psychological development, to improve the educational and employment outcomes for our students.”
Is there a cost to attend?
N: “We have a nominal fee of $1,000 which is a small contribution towards student costs. However, no student will be denied enrolment if they are unable to pay so, please contact us as where necessary we will waiver the fee.”
Where can I find more information about the school?
N: “Call me on 6234 1173 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We currently have spaces, but they are filling fast so if you are keen, please get in touch.”