The Centre Education Programme was developed from the Christian Brothers work in the Juvenile Justice System through the Children’s Court in Logan City. This led to the establishment of a community-based organisation Youth and Family Service Logan City Incorporated (YFS). A common experience of young people who came to YFS was varying degrees of truancy. YFS actively supported the development of the establishment of The Centre Education Programme.
In the early years of the Centre Education Programme a group of people including Presentation Sisters, teachers, youth and social workers came together with the Brothers to explore ways of working with young people who had been disenfranchised from conventional schooling. They drew upon the experience of outdoor education workers from The Outlook at Boonah and agreed to use the Four Principles of respect, participation, safe and legal and honesty as a guiding framework for working with young people who wanted to re-engage in education. One of the core ways of working with youth at The Outlook was using the Four Principles and establishing Working Agreements. That is negotiating how we will work with each other both staff and young people. The Centre Education Programme adapted the Four Principles to fit into the context of our educational framework.
The Four Principles provide a Common Ground for relationships to be established in a non-judgemental, inclusive and flexible way which helps young people engage in their learning and wellbeing. Several more flexible learning centres developed, each a registered school, and they, along with all the other schools operated by the Christian Brothers, came under the leadership of Edmund Rice Education Australia in 2007. In 2010, there were six flexible schools. EREA has continued its committed to this form of education and in 2022 the number of flexible learning centres has grown from six to twenty-two. In 2023, Edmund Rice Education Australia Flexible Schools Ltd was formed to support the growing needs of our schools, communities, young people and staff. We have twenty-one Flexible Learning Centres and two Special Schools around Australia in most states and territories except the ACT and Victoria. (EREA also have a Flexi School with multiple campuses in Victoria)