Journal of Educational Leadership in Action


Students who drop out, or disengage, prior to completing secondary education are at an increased risk of a range of poor social and well-being outcomes, and in turn experience reduced opportunities over the course of their lives. Although there is a body of literature identifying strategies within educational settings to counter risk factors for young people dropping out, little is known about perceptions of students in receipt of these strategies. This paper reports on a study conducted within a high school in Melbourne, Australia. Most students attending the school are at high risk of dropping out due to socio-cultural, behavioral, or mental health issues. The school utilizes alternative education practices to provide a calm and therapeutic environment to re-engage students with education, while providing a curriculum that adheres to mainstream standards. This paper reports on findings from an online questionnaire conducted with 62 students attending the school. The findings suggest that the students disengaged from mainstream schools because of a lack of support from their teachers, bullying, or behavioral issues. Students described their reasons for re-engaging with this current school as being the culture and structure of the school as well as their relationships with staff. Based on these findings, it appears that positive staff/student relationships developed and maintained under the therapeutic approach may be an effective strategy for engaging young people in education.

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.