New school set to open in Redcliffe

Published 6:00am 10 April 2024

New school set to open in Redcliffe
Words by Nick Crockford

Pictured above: Head of Curriculum Allen Ellis and teacher Bronnie at the new Edu Space school in Redcliffe.

Staff are preparing to launch a new independent school in Redcliffe, which will open next week with 24 foundation students.

Edu Space, run by Redcliffe Area Youth Space (RAYS), begins on Monday for Year 7-10 students not in mainstream and alternative education.

The school is for those aged 12-16 years with "complex and severe psychosocial, financial, systemic, clinical barriers which negatively impact school engagement”.

‘Barriers’ may include involvement with youth justice, child safety, sleeping rough, missing long periods of schooling due to expulsion or severe mental ill-health.

Edu Space has an independent board, two funding streams and six staff, led by head of curriculum Allen Ellis, who has been at RAYS for 15 years.

For more than two decades, RAYS has provided "critical services for those aged 10-25 and their families, who have been significantly impacted by trauma, oppression and poverty".

Allen is joined by Bronnie, formerly a teacher in NSW and four learning support officers. Allen said all staff have “a culture around trauma-informed care”.

They will use a project-based curriculum for the students, which come from across this region. Allen has prepared four years-worth of units.

New school set to open in Redcliffe

Two classrooms will be used at RAYS on Oxley Ave with school days, from 8.50am-3pm, though hours may vary meet different students’ needs.

The time Edu Space staff can give students is "key" for the school. “We’re trying to create stability and we have time to build long-term relationships,” Allen said.

“Relationships are the key to people loving learning and experiencing that depth of care.

“I want to see young people, who deserve more than a second chance, find something they love about learning and be excited to come here.

“We’ve seen in previous flexible learning, kids advocating for more days here to do more work. Six months earlier they were breaking into houses, stealing cars.

“Now I want to see kids increasing a sense mastery of something, have competency in something - that’s the benchmark and a launch pad to better things.”

Bronnie said it was her “dream job working with youth like this and developing relationships” at Edu Space.

“I’m looking forward to being in their corner, being that person for them and shining a light for them. There is so much potential in every young person,” she said.

Bronnie previously worked in a school in a low socio-economic area with gang violence, inter-racial issues, children with ADHD and ODD and an autism support unit.

New school set to open in Redcliffe

“Coming here was really eye-opening and challenged a lot of things I thought I knew about myself,” she said, “but it’s still my dream job.

Bronnie started as a music teacher with “art and drama added when needed”, then focussed on “kids who needed more support.”

“Here the kids will get the same teacher all the time,” she said, “there is consistency for every subject and what to expect from that teacher.

“This moment could be a changing point in the way we look at education and the way we facilitate working with young people.”

Allen said the aim is quality education “which is creative, in line with the curriculum and student centred, to feel a sense of connection with the learning space”.

“We’ve been doing things in the past (at RAYS) and learned from the errors, the wins to make it work, so, it’s not a big concept for us,” he said.

“Education is the key to getting out poverty and crime. Students find their voice in schools.”

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