EREA is pleased to announce the planned establishment of the St Laurence Flexible Learning Centre, located at Broadmeadow, commencing in January 2019. The St Laurence FLC will be operated by Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) in partnership with the Diocese of Maitnland-Newcastle. EREA Youth+ is the largest provider of flexible education in Australia and currently operates 19 flexible learning centres, each a registered school, around Australia. They provide a place and an opportunity to re-engage with learning and community for those young people who, for various and often complex reasons, have become disconnected from a mainstream education.
The St Laurence FLC will be established on the site of the former St Laurence O’Toole School. This connection is significant as St Laurence was known for his care for the poor in Ireland and for establishing places for homeless youth. Edmund Rice Education Australia is inspired by the story of the founder of the Christian Brothers, Blessed Edmund Rice, also in Ireland, who recognised that education was the most effective way of liberating those who were trapped in poverty and by lack of opportunity.
The Diocese is pleased to enter into this partnership with Edmund Rice Education Australia which, in addition to the 19 flexible learning centres, owns and governs 34 mainstream Catholic schools in the Edmund Rice tradition around Australia. The St Laurence FLC will address a very real need identified for such educational opportunities in the diocese and is in keeping with the Church’s mission to support those who are disenfranchised in society.
The St Laurence FLC will have its first enrolees in 2019 but it is hoped that some staff will be in place during 4th term this year to occupy the site and build links with the community and the young people who may attend in the future. It is anticipated that the school will commence with around 30 young people and grow gradually to between 80 and 100 young people. Advertising for staff will commence shortly.
Youth+ schools operate on a common ground concept where rules are replaced by four key principles – respect, honesty, participation and safe and legal. The first centre was established in 1985 in the western suburbs of Brisbane, the most recent in Hobart in 2016. There are now Youth+ flexible learning centres in all states and territories, except the ACT.
Youth+ is the arm of EREA that supports young people’s re-engagement in education for positive life futures.
We acknowledge the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples of Australia as the traditional owners and custodians of the land of our schools. We are inspired and nurtured by their wisdom, spirituality and experience. We commit ourselves to actively
work alongside them for reconciliation and justice. We pay our respects to the Elders; past, present and future. As we take our next step we remember the first footsteps taken on this sacred land.