Belvoir continues a role in helping kids

Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre Campus Principal Huw Derwentsmith and Garry Gibson hold the sign designed and built by students at the new campus, formerly Belvoir Special School in Wodonga. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

Wodonga Flexible Learning Centre Campus Principal Huw Derwentsmith and Garry Gibson hold the sign designed and built by students at the new campus, formerly Belvoir Special School in Wodonga. Picture: JOHN RUSSELL

THE former Belvoir Special School site is set to be reinvented with an educational theme as Wodonga’s Flexible Learning Centre.

The centre will open by the end of the month.

It will cater to primary and secondary school aged students who are disengaged from mainstream schools.

The Belvoir Special School moved out of Bowman Court last month and has relocated to a new $12 million school.

The Victorian Education Department has ticked off on the flexible learning centre setting up on the old Belvoir site with repair works under way ahead of its opening.

The site, surrounded by Catholic College Wod-onga, will cater to more than 130 students and 10 teachers.

It will operate as part of Wodonga Senior Secondary College with Huw Derwentsmith appointed head of campus.

Senior Secondary College principal Vern Hilditch said the site has been registered by the department with the centre aiming to re-engage as many children into mainstream school as possible.

“What we are recognising in education and in Wodonga is that one model doesn’t fit all,” he said.

“We’ve got to cater to try and keep kids in education whatever that looks like.

“It is not necessarily because they have been thrown out of school.

“It is basically because they can’t do school.

“We are looking at providing an alternative and work on getting them back into mainstream school, TAFE or employment.”

Mr Hilditch said the concept could expand further into North East Victoria.

“We will be providing flexible learning, which can be online learning or blended learning,” he said.

“There are a lot of reasons why young people can’t do school.

“Most of them aren’t around discipline.

“We’ve got young people with health reasons and have chosen not to go to school. But they are very bright kids.”

Belvoir Special School operated at Bowman Court from 1983 until the recent start of term three.

To meet its growing student population, Catholic College Wod-onga bought the former Westmont Retirement Village in Bowman Court in 2008 and transformed it into a year 9 campus.

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