Small school makes a big difference to Sunshine Coast teens

At five years old and with only 30 students on-site, My Independent School (MIS) in Beerwah is one of the smallest schools on the Sunshine Coast. Despite its size, this little school has big aspirations and is already making a huge difference to the lives of the Sunshine Coast teens that come through its doors.

Catering for Years 7–10, the school specialises in providing a holistic approach to education, while still being an independent private school covering the full Australian curriculum. Because of this, its program has become highly sought after by families whose children have become disengaged from learning. It is also appealing to those who need extra learning support.

“Students come to us from all backgrounds across the Sunshine Coast: whether neurodiverse, from home schooling, or sadly due to trauma or bullying,” MIS Principal, Bronnie Sewell, says.

“Sometimes our young people have never known what it’s like to be in a supportive education environment.”

With small class sizes of just 15, the school has a lead educator and a teacher aide in every classroom. There are also a learning support team and youth worker on-site.

“The small class sizes allow us to achieve more individualised support, and a lot more one-on-one small group work,” Mrs Sewell says.

The three tier model at MIS helping Sunshine Coast teens

The school’s model has three tiers—Nurture, Growth and Transition.

  1. Nurture: The school aims to engage and transition the young people back into a nurturing environment so that they actually have a positive relationship with education; they’re just getting comfortable being in a supportive environment.
  2. Growth: Growing their capacity as a learner, growing their resilience, growing their social capacity and their academic qualities.
  3. Transition: Where MIS transitions the young person either back into mainstream, should they choose year 11 and 12, or transitioning into the workforce, trade or apprenticeship.

“What we focus on in that transition tier is assisting students in creating that pathway and building them up for success once they leave MIS,” Mrs Sewell says.

“We need to make sure that young person feels safe and comfortable to transition back into our community.”

Mrs Sewell joined the school as Principal at the beginning of 2022, and has already seen significant steps made in students.

“It’s been really lovely to see the progress in young people actually achieving success, not both academically, but from a social perspective as well.”

MIS is adding a stand-alone Year 7 class in 2023. There are plans to gradually create space for more students, without losing the focus of individualised supports and learning for all Sunshine Coast teens that come through the doors.

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By Angela Sutherland
After spending many years hustling stories on busy editorial desks around the world, Angela is now mum of two little ones and owner/editor at Kids on the Coast / Kids in the City. She is an atrocious cook and loves cutting shapes to 90s dance music. Angela is the editor of Kids on the Coast - a free family magazine whats on guide for Kids: things to do, school holiday fun and free activities for kids... Fun attractions, family food & travel, kids health & wellbeing, kids parties venues, parenting, pregnancy & babies, guide for parents. Servicing Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and beyond, Kids on the Coast is an online guide for parents with kids things to do with kids, schools and education and lifestyle news located on Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast & Brisbane, QLD.

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