Fourteen students from Years 7-10 have been selected to participate in the Open Book program, designed to catch disengaged students before they fall through the cracks and offer them an alternative approach to learning. 

The program sees students get out of the traditional classroom and into the community, working on a suite of “hands-on” “real- world” projects to help them identify their strengths and eventually transition back into mainstream schooling or the workplace.

Alongside regular classes, Open Book students manage and maintain a school nursery and vegetable garden, contribute to community art projects and restore bikes for a local charity.

Principal Stan Koios says the program offers a tailored model to build students‘ literacy, numeracy problem-solving skills away from a school desk.

“The improvement in literacy and numeracy is driven through curriculum differentiation, effective feedback, one-on-one support and supporting students to apply skills to real-world scenarios,” he says. 

And while there’s plenty to recommend the program in terms of the focus on academic skills, Open Book is equally interested in promoting students’ emotional health and wellbeing.

The principal says the program is already showing signs of success.

Rates of regular attendance have increased, students are engaged in interest-based activities and are actively contributing to the school and wider community, Koios says.