Doing School Differently – Advancing practice and research in Flexible & Inclusive Learning Options

I was lucky enough to be invited to speak at the Doing School Differently Conference on the Gold Coast last month. I wasn’t just lucky to be escaping the Melbourne winter, I was in for a real treat as an attendee as well.

The DSD Conference is held every second year and brings together Flexible Learning Options (FLO) to share practices, research and programs to better advance these settings as best practice education settings.

BGKLLEN has been a long-time supporter of FLO and its place in a healthy education system. As identified in the Successful Journey Report undertaken by FLV in 2017, these settings hold student wellbeing as the number one driver of their engagement and achievement. This means that students who need reliable relationships, trauma informed practice or even just a feed can get what they need in these settings. This is vital for their health, wellbeing and their learning.
The conference largely focused on the necessity for knowledge and evidence that sits behind this individualised response. I won’t cover everything, but we kicked off with one of the most incredibly engaging keynote speakers I have ever seen – Nathan Wallis from Conscious Intelligence. He taught us that to repair trauma, you need to start from the brainstem and work your way up and you the first point is a sound dyadic relationship (a special one on one). This was incredibly powerful and resonated with many in the room.

We then learned from Pamela Snow about Literacy and how oral competence is incredibly important as a 21st century skill. We learned that a child of a low income home might hear 600 words per hour and that in a middle/high income home that jumps to 2100, meaning by age 4 the child in a poor home has heard 30 million less words. Incredible to think what number that may be by age 10!

It was great to see presentations from Nick Johns on FLV, a project BGKLLEN managed as well as from many of our own networks including Melbourne City Mission, headspace and Foundation for Young Australians. There are so many of us trying to pull together to maximise the opportunities for the students in these amazing education settings.

The conference was also the launch of the Australian Association of Flexible and Inclusive Education which you can check out here –

Below is a video that was presented to us which I think you need to see.

Contact me if you have any questions or would like any more info.