Welcome to our Centenary Heights State High School Flexi School
You will see and hear in the wider Toowoomba community that the name is sometimes shortened to Toowoomba Flexi School however, please understand that the Flexi School is very much part of the fabric of Centenary Heights State High School.
We are one school with two campuses.
Flexi School staff are teachers and teacher aides of Centenary Heights State High School (CHSHS). All Support staff are Centenary Heights State High School—our Social Worker, School Based Youth Health Nurse, Chaplain, Wellbeing Worker, Industry Liaison Officer, Office Manager, Engagement Officer, Guidance Officer. Our Flexi campus caters to students in years 10, 11 and 12 who have become disenfranchised/marginalised from the offerings of a traditional mainstream campus delivery and as a result have become 'at risk' of not attaining a Queensland Certificate of Education and/or a work or further education pathway.
Our Flexi School program is a specialist program and referred to by the Department of Education as a Program of Excellence. It has a ceiling enrolment of 55 students with age eligibility from turning 15 in the first half of a year to maximum age 18 at end of the program. Given the limited number of spaces, as Principal, with advice from our Head of Campus, I make decisions on enrolment acceptance. My decisions are based on whether our Flexi School program design is suited to the needs of the applicant and whether we have the staff on site skilled to service those needs. It may be that the student is best served by another of our specialist programs at CHSHS [provided the applicant lives in the CHSHS catchment area] and if so the student's request for enrolment will be directed to our main campus. Where a student's needs are able to be served in a mainstream school program I do not accept enrolment to our Flexi School.
Our other CHSHS specialist programs are based at our main campus where our staff are trained to deliver and where funding is focussed. These are for students for whom English is a second language and for those students who are formally verified with a disability. While our school is subject to an enrolment management plan, all applications are considered with people living outside of our catchment area welcome to apply through the out-of-catchment application process.
Students accepted into our Flexi School program have faced/are facing significant social disadvantage. As such our staff are well trained in Trauma Informed Practice, a mantra which skills our staff to deal calmly with all situations. Our programs are especially designed to support young people who are exposed to poverty, homelessness, substance abuse either personally or within the family, domestic violence, youth justice orders, teen pregnancy. We provide free breakfast and lunch and, in the case of dire family circumstances, pack meals for dinner as needed. We also reach out to our families in many other tangible ways understanding that helping the family, helps the child.
The vocational education component of our curriculum delivery mirrors that of the mainstream campus in that all subjects are aimed at Certificate attainment which is well regarded by employers and for those aiming at further education, is a wonderful stepping stone into that next phase. We deliver a wide variety of personal development programs which are aimed at skilling our young people in personal confidence and presentation. Participation in our planned away from home camps is a requirement which takes our young people a step further in their personal capacity. Work focussed programs are core to Flexi - work experience is a required participation with a view to gaining a school based traineeship. Aligned work programs such as GenR8 and Allev8 are two of many such programs in which our students succeed as are the University of Southern Queensland [USQ] Head Start and Tertiary Preparation Program. Our Flexi School partners strongly with Toowoomba Older Men's Network [TOMNET] with both men and ladies working each week as Mentors to our young people. This is another of our required participation programs where our Mentors, who are trained, build relationships of trust with our young people.
We enjoy great support from within the Toowoomba community with our main partners, Toowoomba East Rotary, Toowoomba Regional Council, USQ and TOMNET. Their support of us and our work, our families and our young people comes emotionally, physically and financially – we are just so thankful to them.
Our success rate is amazing with our young people, whether at the end of year 12 or earlier, moving with confidence into university, TAFE, fulltime work, or fulltime apprenticeship pathways. My expectation as Principal is high as it is with our main campus – students are required to attend their learning program every day and to maintain that high rate of attendance and engagement. Our Standards and Expectations may be seen further on in the website – safety, respect and learning are paramount.
Supported by our excellent staff, I understand education is the key to youth moving on to create happy and fulfilling lives.
Maryanne Walsh OAM
Centenary Heights State High School