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Hands-On Learning

Hands on Learning is an education adjustment program designed to support the social and emotional development of young people by catering to the different ways they learn and engage with school work. The program was established in 1999 and has been delivered in partnership with Save the Children since 2007


Groups of 10 students spend one day every week working with two artisan teachers on meaningful school and community projects, including building shelves and tables, landscaping gardens and fixing community spaces. Each day begins with a Focus Plan, where the leaders carefully structure the expectations, boundaries and parameters, before detailing what hands on experience the students will receive.

Throughout the course of a day, students will engage in Reflections, allowing them to consider how their hands on skills have developed, as well as their soft skills such as communication, problem solving and critical thinking. Combining the hands on approach with reflective practice helps students become future ready, able to recognise and track their important skill development, manage their emotions, and make responsible decisions.

Typically, students remain with their group for the entire school day, allowing them to build collaboration and friendships. Students are referred to the program by campus wellbeing staff, and the groups may comprise students from multiple year levels.


The Hands on Learning program runs at both of our junior campuses — Berwick and Officer — and aims to help students positively engage with a practical learning style that may suit them more than traditional classroom learning. Hands on learners are not always suited to very traditional education methods — they are at their most engaged when they are learning by doing and have ‘hands on’ practice.

When students are not supported with learning programs that suit their needs, they often disengage from school, demonstrate challenging behaviours and report low levels of belonging. Hands on Learning helps avoid these outcomes, giving students the chance to experience success and achievement while at school, helping keep them engaged with learning.

The benefits of Hands on Learning extend beyond secondary school too: 95% of students who go through the program finish school, get an apprenticeship or get a job. The program improves outcomes and highlights different careers for hands on learners, while also encouraging practical education and hands on skills as equally valuable to other learning situations.

Beyond allowing children to learn by doing, the program is built around these four fundamental tenets:

  • A place to belong;
  • People to belong to;
  • Real things to do; and
  • A chance to give back.

Hands on at SFXC

We are proud to be one of over 120 Hands on Learning schools in Australia, offering the program in addition to an extensive variety of learning programs and opportunities for our students. Not all students learn in the same way, and we are committed to creating a pathway for every child, helping them engage fully, learn effectively and find belonging.

If you are interested in finding out more about Hands on Learning, or believe your child may benefit from learning through doing, contact leadership or wellbeing staff at our two junior campuses.