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School operations

Flexible Learning Options (FLOs)

Policy

This policy sets out the requirements for school referrals to Flexible Learning Options (FLOs) and quality assurance requirements in FLOs.

Summary

  • A FLO is an educational setting that supports students at-risk or already disengaged from education.
  • Students at risk of disengagement should be attending FLOs only in instances where their needs are not able to be met in mainstream school and should only be used as a short term option.
  • The referral of a student to a FLO should be agreed upon between the referring school, the student, their family or carer and the FLO (and if required, approval by the region).
  • It is mandatory that schools follow the Flexible Learning Options Mandatory Guidelines and Procedures set out in the Guidance tab when considering student eligibility, referral processes and contractual agreements between the referring school and the provider (where appropriate).
  • Where appropriate, schools must follow the FLO online referral approval process (staff login required) to gain approval from the Local Area Executive Approver, or, in some specific circumstances, the Regional Director — refer to Referrals below for more information.

Details

Types of FLOs

There are 3 interrelated categories of FLOs within the Victorian Government education system:

  1. Flexible learning government schools — Victorian Registration and Qualifications Authority (VRQA) registered schools offering a flexible, individualised curriculum
  2. Flexible learning campuses — learning settings or programs that are standalone, registered campuses of Victorian government schools under the VRQA
  3. Flexible in-school programs — learning programs that are delivered within the school. They can be in partnership with other schools or external providers. These programs should be incorporated into a student’s existing learning program.

Non-government FLOs (re-engagement programs)

There are a range of non-government flexible settings that offer similar supports, such as VCAL delivered by a non-school provider. These are not within the scope of this policy.

Further information on these settings can be found in the Department’s Re-engagement Programs Policy.

Eligibility to attend a Victorian government FLO

Students at risk of disengagement should be referred to FLOs only in instances where their needs are not able to be met in mainstream school, and where in-school strategies (such as access to specialist services and classroom differentiation) are unsuitable or have proven to be ineffective. Students may be considered at risk of disengaging based on the following indicators:

  • low or non-attendance
  • literacy and / or numeracy outcomes
  • behaviours of concern
  • a history of school exclusion.

The student should present, at a minimum, multiple indicators that they are at high risk of disengaging from education, or are already disengaged from education.

FLOs should be considered a short term intervention and the focus should be on supporting the student to return to their host school, or into further training or employment.

For detailed guidance on eligibility, refer to: Flexible Learning Options Mandatory Guidelines and Procedures.

Referrals

The referral of a student to a FLO should always be agreed between the referring school, the student, their family or carer and the FLO (and if required, the region), and should first and foremost consider the best interests of the young person.

The specific eligibility criteria of each FLO will vary.

FLO Online Referral Approval Process

Schools and/or Department regional staff must use the FLO Online referral system (login required) to gain approval from the Local Area Approver when referring a student to:

  • a FLO learning campus of the referring school or another school. This includes Satellite Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) certificates at a campus/site external to the main campus.
  • a FLO in-school program offered by another school.

Specific additional approval is required by the regional director for referrals of students who:

  • are under 15 years of age
  • are being referred following an expulsion
  • are in out-of-home care
  • have been involved in the youth justice system
  • identify as Aboriginal/Torres Strait Islander, or
  • are eligible for funding under the Program for Students with Disabilities.

A referral is not required for:

  • flexible learning government schools
  • other flexible learning settings and arrangements not in scope (refer to Scope and definitions).

For further information on referral considerations and processes, refer to: Flexible Learning Options Mandatory Guidelines and Procedures.

Transitions and pathways from FLOs

FLOs should prioritise the achievement of meaningful education or employment pathways for students beyond the program. It is expected that FLOs have a clear transition plan for every student documentated in their Individual Education Plan (IEP). FLOs must also undertake regular Student Support Group (SSG) meetings for every student.

For detailed guidance on supporting transition at different school levels, see the the Flexible Learning Options Mandatory Guidelines and Procedures.

Quality assurance in FLOs

Schools should draw on the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes (FISO) in order to effectively plan and target resources towards initiatives that will have the greatest impact on improving student outcomes.

FLOs play an important role in complementing the work of schools to ensure that the system continues to support students at risk of disengaging, and provides them with access to a high quality education. FLOs are not considered a separate education sector in Victoria, and operate within the frameworks and policies of Victorian government schools.

For additional guidance on FLOs and how they can embed FISO principles in their planning, refer to: Developing Key Directions for the next School Strategic Plan: Flexible Learning Option settings (login required).

Definitions

Flexible Learning Options 
A FLO is an educational setting that supports students at-risk or already disengaged from education.

FLOs are not a separate education sector in Victoria and operate within the frameworks and policies of Victorian government schools.

FLOs complement the work of schools to ensure that all students can access a high quality education. They generally offer highly individualised learning plans and have a strong focus on providing holistic support for a student’s engagement and wellbeing.

Contact

  • The student’s school is the first point of contact for queries regarding the FLO policy.
  • Regional offices may also be contacted for queries regarding the Flexible Learning Options policy.
  • Policy owner: Engaging Students at Risk Branch
Department policy on existing Flexible Learning Options and their interactions with schools

Reviewed 19 October 2021

Policy last updated

10 May 2021

Scope

  • Schools

Contact

Refer to contact information at bottom of this page

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