Tom Quinn Community Centre Alternative School
The Tom Quinn Community Centre Alternative School (TQCCAS) is a non-government Independent, Special Assistance School based at the Tom Quinn Community Centre in Bundaberg and supported by the Salvation Army. The School has been established to offer support and an alternative pathway for the growing number of students in the Bundaberg catchment who are encountering barriers that prevent their participation in mainstream education settings.
The TQCCAS works in association with local High Schools. These schools identify and refer students who they feel will benefit from a chance to work in an alternative education setting. Students who are successfully identified are then given the chance to work within the Australian Curriculum in an integrated, engaging and flexible way, receive a personalised approach and also enjoy the wider benefits that the Tom Quinn Community Centre offers, with social, emotional, work ready and life experiences.
The TQCCAS is built on the idea that everyone has a skill or talent in some area and also that learning and life-long learning is a desire that comes from within each individual. Is has been shown from our students’ experiences at mainstream schools that no-one can force them to learn against their wishes, so it is the philosophy of this alternative school that we take the time and give students the space and opportunity to become engaged and interested in some area of life, work or curriculum in order to harness that interest and potential.
The major point of difference to our school’s approach is the ability to integrate students into the community centre for activities and social interactions. In this way students can get the opportunity to see different work areas and activities such as:
Commercial Kitchen operations
Successful and busy Café - with the opportunity to engage in enterprise education
Metalworking and construction
The Tom Quinn Community Centre also provides students with a lot of chances to experience success and be treated as equal, competent and even vital members of the community. Giving students the chance to interact with people with disability, customers, volunteers and staff members in a supervised, scaffolded and supportive way allows them to gain experiences which can then help to shape decisions and directions for their future education and life choices.
The TQCCAS has designed an integrated curriculum which is underpinned by the current Australian Curriculum. We focus on a problem solving approach which allows students to practice empathy when creating designed solutions for problems they encounter or that other community members ask them to solve.
The school has developed a number of learning strands that students of all ability and experience levels can engage with at their own level. We work to develop individual learning plans for each student and provide opportunities for students to work with industry standard tools and workflows to wherever possible allow for future pathways to employment.