WARRNAMBOOL’S renowned alternative education school has relocated to “better digs”.
The Warrnambool Alternative VCAL Education (WAVE) project last month moved from its home in Henna Street to 80 Lava Street.
Program coordinator and teacher Damien Farley said the transition had been a “long-time coming” with the previous location “unfit for purpose”.
While Henna street had suited the school's purpose for some time, Mr Farley said a lack of disabled access in addition to poor heating and cooling made the environment difficult during extreme weather conditions.
"It was a former sandstone quarry so there was a lot of water seepage," he said.
"It was always cold and damp."
Students who may have become disengaged from mainstream education are offered the chance to complete high school studies in a supportive environment through the project.
Those aged between 15 and 19 can now pursue a Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) qualification at the “more professional” facility, with programs tailoring to specific needs.
“We’re running the same excellent program with the same kids, just in a better site,” Mr Farley said.
Students are required to follow only three rules at WAVES: Respect. Honesty. Success.
"We offer a more informal style of education," he said. "There's a mix of academic and hands-on classes like martial arts, woodwork, gym and photography… there's no uniform here and we go by first names."
Mr Farley said the school had increased enrolments in recent years with 51 students now on the books.
"We're expecting more enrollments now that we're here," he said. "We'd take referrals through the Henna street building before and it did look a bit rough.”
Despite the benefits of the move, it was a hit and a miss with some of the students.
"Some of the kids still miss the old site because of its history and the culture, so it is different,” Mr Farley said.
While students Corey Wood and Mitchell Zwiers said the previous location was "way better" with a more active program and "more gym space", Courtney Mabb found new building "a lot nicer".
Deny Hickson was more forward and described the old Henna Street building as "shit" and "shocking" with “too many stairs”.
The WAVE program now includes two full-time and one part-time teacher, two classroom aids, a wellbeing assistant and a school administrator.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.