Port School Mobile Classroom is an initiative that seeks to meaningfully engage some of the most marginalised and disengaged students at our school. The program operates out of a bus and students’ entire syllabus takes place off-site, in and around Fremantle and Perth.
The program is targeted at those students for whom a more conventional classroom just does not work. For a multitude of reasons, classrooms can be agitating, distracting and counter-productive for some young people’s learning. We have the luxury of designing our whole learning program in the wider community, often outdoors and in a range of situations.
We aim to remove conflict on our program by building strong, meaningful relationships with our students. We have the same staff working the whole day with students and through this, we build positive rapport and trust as a group.
Without trust and relationships, we have nothing.
We have a strong literacy and numeracy component of learning, that targets students’ individual needs and abilities. The educator works closely together to identify specific areas of need in individuals and will work with each student to develop specific strategies to reach their goals. We aim to get all of our students to a level where they can function fully in wider society, and flourish with confidence in their abilities. We also have a very strong cultural and social program, that looks at issues such as race and identity, history, Noongar language and culture, health and wellbeing, as well as social and emotional development. We also study art, woodwork, cooking and plenty of sport, to keep the boys active. The week consists of four days, with the Friday being a reward day for students who have attended all sessions.
There are two staff on the program at all times, one educator and one youth worker. We often have a counsellor on board and students have full access to Student Support Services and a full counselling suite on the school campus. The wide range of expertise amongst our staff enables us to work with the students holistically and to support them beyond just their educational growth.
The main focus of the Mobile Classroom Program is to create a space where some of our most disenfranchised and disengaged boys can simply belong. By creating a sense of community within the group, we aim to instil characteristics of honesty, respect and participation in a safe and legal setting. These seem like fairly humble goals, but they are essential to any individual’s chance of success in the wider community.