UNIQUE: Roseberry Community Services’ Branchout staff and students Jack, 14, Nicole Morris, Karen Battams, Aaron, 14, Chloe, 14, and Craig Shields.
UNIQUE: Roseberry Community Services’ Branchout staff and students Jack, 14, Nicole Morris, Karen Battams, Aaron, 14, Chloe, 14, and Craig Shields. Mike Richards

Centre gives teens a second chance at school

ALTERNATIVE education takes many forms, but what do you do when teenagers leave high school altogether?

One local organisation has an answer and is getting results for youth who are disengaged from schooling.

Branchout manager Karen Battams said her organisation's Alternative Learning Centre was able to use much-needed one-on-one teaching to fill a gap.

"School might not be a good place (for these kids) for a range of reasons, but all children that go into the ALC have a very strong commitment to achieving an educated status … a Year 10 pass is a key ambition," she said.

Gladstone youngsters Chloe, Aaron and Jack were studying at Branchout this week.

Chloe, 14, left high school eight weeks ago after being bullied.

"I'm not really excited to learn (at school)," she said. "I'd prefer to get a job and make a start at life."

Chloe found out about Branchout through her guidance officer at school.

Benaraby teenager Aaron left school after his parents were both diagnosed with cancer.

"I had trouble with teachers. They didn't have enough time to come around and help me with assignments," he said.

Jack went to a state school in Gladstone until a couple of months ago.

"I hated it," he said.

Branchout helps up to 60 young people to either return to school, complete their education to a Year 10 level or higher, or develop skills to help them enter the workplace.

Branchout's ALC is part of a joint partnership between Roseberry Community Services, CQUniversity (formerly Gladstone Institute of TAFE), Charters Towers Distance Education and the national Youth Connections.



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