Compass plots new course for early school leavers

Kelly Bunyon (The Southern Cross)

A unique Catholic education and community services "village" in Adelaide’s northern suburbs is taking shape with the naming of its school for 17- to 24-year-olds. Source: The Southern Cross.

Compass Catholic Community will be a fee-free, co-educational special assistance school in Davoren Park.

Head of village Kelly Bunyon is leading the work to establish the purpose-built school ahead of its opening in January next year, with enrolments expected to grow from 60 to 120 by 2025.

Ms Bunyon said there was a large number of students who exit school early for various reasons including mental health challenges, family issues, money, not finding the learning meaningful and “everything in between”.

“What we know is that finishing high school and getting your SACE is a real milestone and pathway to the next phase of life,” she said.

“If young people exit education they are exiting from a really main place that society wraps around with care; schools can be really nurturing communities.

“We want to create an environment where young people have agency in their lives, where we say to them you are worth investing in by us as a system and as educators. You matter to us.”

After two months in the job, Ms Bunyon has embraced the vision of a project that Church and Catholic education leaders have been dreaming of for a number of years.

At Compass Catholic Community, learning will take place in small groups with a “teacher mentor who can work to co-construct the curriculum” based on the young person’s interests and goals from learning. The teacher mentor would be “deeply involved in all aspects of the student’s life”.


Focus sharpens on vision for youth in the north (By Jenny Brinkworth, The Southern Cross

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