Alia Compared to Mainstream Schools
What do we mean when we say Alia is an Alternative school? The curriculum that Alia College provides is the same as mainstream schools, but it is the environment in which Alia College provides this education that is very different. Below is a quick summary of how the environment at Alia College differs from mainstream schools.
A pleasant atmosphere:
- Teachers are on a first name basis with students.
- There is a pleasant atmosphere that people tell us is immediately obvious when you first come to visit (well, most of the time!)
- Normal, timetabled program, but no bells.
- You may come to have a quick (15 minute) look at the school almost anytime. We don’t have special visit days, so you get to see us warts and all.
- Students may do a trial day here to see what the students and teachers are really like in the way that only a student can.
- Students commonly say that bullying is effectively managed at Alia. This may be the thing that sets us apart the most.
- Students wear casual clothes – mostly jeans etc.
- Standard mainstream education, but from teachers who are more cheerful, interesting, engaged with the students and subject oriented.
- There are no formal sets of punishments such as detentions. If any issue arises, students and teachers discuss the matter – at considerable length, if needed.
- The most serious rule at the school is that students must not interfere with the learning of other students.
- The other one is basic respect…whatever that means….but everyone seems to just know when someone has crossed the line.
University or Community Style:
- Teachers maintain control of the curriculum. Students have considerable say in any other matters that relate to their activities at school. Lines of communication are always open, which creates conditions ripe for negotiation.
- Parents receive detailed reports of their young person’s performance, attitude, attendance, lateness, etc.
- There is no staff room. Teachers and staff mingle with students during breaks. Teachers have offices but there are no locked doors and students are always welcome.
- Students have open access to the school kitchen where there are ovens, stoves, toasters, knives and boiling water.
- Students are free to walk off the school premises during break and free periods.
- In addition to the usual desks, there are often couches in classrooms.
- If interested, students are able to organise school camps (within a budget). This includes choosing the venue, the accommodation, transport, meals etc.
- The gentle program for building confidence naturally is very effective. Students who are already confident find that they are able to take leadership roles and learn gradually how to lead effectively.
- The atmosphere of the school is so different that you could consider it a special program in itself.
- Every year at least one student comes who has been severely bullied and/or who has been school refusing who has finally been happy to come to school.
- Mathematics and English recovery results are excellent.
- Students that might be considered capable and/or creative and/or sensitive find the atmosphere here to be exactly what they seek.
Smoking, alcohol and drug taking is not permitted.
All schools are different and there will be some mainstream schools that have some of the environmental elements outlined above. However, we believe it is having all the elements working in conjunction, in reality, on a day-to-day basis that makes Alia College a truly Alternative school.