The role of Alternative Education Programs in Meeting the needs of Adolescent students with challenging behaviour: Characteristics of Best Practice
Australian Academic Press
Education and Arts
Recently the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA) conducted a nationwide survey on programs that exhibit best practice in addressing student behaviour issues (de Jong, 2004). Seven themes related to the characteristics of best practice were identified in this survey. Alternative education programs (AEPs) was one of them. Although contentious in the context of inclusive education, this survey indicated that, provided they are embedded in best practice, AEPs are still considered to be a creditable means of meeting the needs of adolescent students with challenging behaviour in most Australian education jurisdictions. This being so, what constitutes best practice in the construction and delivery of an AEP? This is the main focus of our article. We briefly define AEPs, submit a continuum of types of AEPs, consider the cases against and in favour of AEPs, and conclude by presenting the characteristics of quality AEPs according to three categories, namely: (1) organisation and partnerships, (2) pastoral care and ethos, and (3) curriculum and pedagogy.