Supporting students to stay in school


​​Supporting our schools

We will enable schools to engage and retain every student. This includes providing the right data, and identifying and promoting the precise skills and practices to recognise and respond to students who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging.

Supporting disengaged students to reconnect with school

In these times of change due to COVID-19, some young people may need extra support to encourage them to return to school and engage in their learning, or continue to learn at home where parents have chosen learning@home arrangements. Regional office staff and school teams play a vital role in identifying students who may need additional support to help them make a successful transition back to school. To learn more about the signs that may indicate a young person has disengaged or is at risk of disengaging from school and how these young people can be supported, please download the Supporting students who are at risk of disengagement and those who are disengaged fact sheet (PDF, 940KB).

FlexiSpaces: Doing things differently to get students back on track

Many students experience challenges at various junctures in their school life, and for most students, remaining at their school provides their best chance of success.

The Department of Education is working to build the capabilities of schools to engage and re-engage as many students as possible.

As part of this, the department is implementing FlexiSpaces in up to 52 schools by 2022. FlexiSpaces equip schools with high-quality, bespoke built environments that facilitate flexible learning opportunities for students who are at risk of disengaging. In 2018, the department trialled FlexiSpaces in two State High Schools, refurbishing existing learning settings into modern, inclusive spaces to deliver individualised and high-quality teaching and learning strategies to support their disengaged students.

Students in need of additional support are eligible to access the FlexiSpace on a case by case basis, ensuring that attempts to make suitable adjustments in class, or the wider school setting are undertaken in the first instance. The FlexiSpace is just one of schools' many strategies and approaches for supporting students who are at risk of disengaging. Students who access the space continue to access some subjects with the rest of their peers in mainstream classes, and are supported to return to mainstream classes full-time when appropriate.

The first of their kind in Australia, FlexiSpaces represent a new way for mainstream schools to support every student to be engaged in their learning and achieve outcomes. To see the FlexiSpace trial in action and for more videos about the project, go to the Youth Engagement YouTube channel.

For schools who have been selected to implement a FlexiSpace and for those who are interested in the operating requirements of the FlexiSpace model, please refer to the following guidelines:

Delivering a digital engagement strategy

We will strengthen our online engagement with young people and their parents.

Two new digital platforms are available with friendly and accessible information to help young people stay on track and equip their parents to support them in navigating their options.

The We the Differents website is a collective of information, tips, ideas and experiences to empower young people to learn what’s on offer and to find the right support and options for their education.

The Spark their Future website is for parents and carers to find practical tips, information and support to help disengaging young people to get the most from their education.

Promoting high-quality alternative settings

Our Quality Pathways for all young people; a commitment to alternative education lays out the shared commitment of the non-state and Queensland Government schooling sectors to provide high-quality education to young people in alternative schools. This commitment is imperative because, while we know mainstream school is the best place for most young people, there is a small number of students who cannot thrive in mainstream schools and require an alternative learning setting.

Establishing spotlight schools

We will work with the non-state sector to establish a number of Spotlight Schools. These Spotlight Schools will exemplify high-quality practice and provide insights for continuous improvement across all alternative settings.

Practice insights

Our schools set out to support every student to succeed. However, each year, too many young people disengage from education, training and employment pathways. What we do in our schools can have a great impact on the future wellbeing of young people. While each school and cohort is unique, research and evaluation of effective practice has identified key practices that underpin the academic achievement and meaningful engagement of every student. These practices apply across diverse settings, in different contexts and can respond to varying student needs.

These practice insights (PDF, 389KB)​​ provide an evidence-based guide for schools seeking to promote best practice in student engagement alongside academic achievement. It uses established research to define capabilities and practices that put engagement at the heart of professional practice. Schools can use this framework to evaluate their efforts in identifying students at risk of disengagement, connect with students who have disengaged, and take steps to better support students to re-engage with education, training and employment pathways.

Below you will find practice i​nsight postcards designed to support discussions with your colleagues about engagement practices in your school:

Everybody's Business

Everybody's business (PDF, 896KB) outlines an evidence based approach to meeting the needs of children and young people who are at risk of disengagement, or who are disengaged from education. It outlines components of a strong and inclusive system. It has been developed to support Queensland state schools, regional staff in the Department of Education and other stakeholders to maximise engagement and re-engagement of young Queenslanders in education.

Components of a strong and inclusive system:

Framework A: a system of programs and services (PDF, 113KB)

Framework B: before transition (checklist) (PDF, 52KB)

Framework C: early warning signs and interventions (PDF, 88KB)

Framework D: evaluation (PDF, 38KB)

Framework E: our roles and responsibilities (PDF, 84KB)

Framework F: strong response (PDF, 101KB)

Framework G: what does a high-quality alternative setting look like? (PDF, 52KB)

Framework H: when a student transitions (checklist) (PDF, 44KB)

Last updated 25 August 2021