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Do you have a positive story to share about family school and community partnerships? Don’t keep it a secret – someone else might just benefit from your experiences.

Collaborating beyond the school

Education has the power to change lives and break the cycle of disadvantage.

Kingswood Park Public School and Cranebrook High School collaborating with the Smith Family to improve outcomes for students.

To improve a young person’s chances to create a better economic future for themselves, research tell us it’s important for children to be engaged in school and stay until Year 12 or equivalent. But sadly not every child has the same opportunities to achieve this. 

Their work focuses on Australian children in families and communities where we know it’s harder for them to fully participate in their education without some help.  

 Learning for Life program provides emotional, practical and financial support to help disadvantaged children and young people with their education. Our support starts in the early years of learning development and continues through primary and high school. Our programs help build skills, knowledge, motivation, self-belief and a network of positive relationships with parents, peers and significant others. This support increases a young person’s likelihood of remaining engaged with school, completing Year 12 and developing realistic and informed study and career pathways for life beyond the school gate.

Collaborating beyond the school

Successes of school/community partnerships

The School Business Community Partnership Brokers programme fosters a whole-of community approach to supporting young people as they learn and develop—with a key goal of ensuring that young Australians attain year 12 or equivalent qualifications.

The programme operates nationally and is based on the principle that education and training for young people is a collective responsibility. With this in mind, Partnership Brokers build partnerships between schools and training organisations, business and industry, community organisations and parents and families.

To learn more about the benefits of a partnership approach and how a Partnership Broker can help, the success stories provide practical examples of how partnerships are working in communities across Australia. 

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Kindergarten Parents Care Package

Cambridge Park Public School in Sydney's Western Suburbs have welcomed kindy families in a creative and caring way. After noticing a post on Facebook, the school considered how they could implement the idea into their school context and promote the value they place on family school partnerships. 

The school made little care packages that would be given to the parents on their child's first day of kindergarten, knowing that this time is teary for some and cheery for others.

This is the package the gave.


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Collaboration with school community to produce a Welcome video for other parents.

After the school executive of Greystanes Public School NSW, led by Principal Elizabeth Gledhill attended  a 2 day professional learning workshop on Developing, Building and Sustaining Family- school and community partnerships the school team collaborated with their community to make a welcome video "through their eyes".

The school sourced support from the Regional Partnership Officer who had delivered the professional learning workshops and planned 5 consecutive workshops. The workshops were based on 21st century themes of communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking, whilst showcasing curriculum based activities.

Traditional invitations were sent out in the form of notes, but to increase appeal-ability they also made a promo video to advertise the sessions which can be seen below. 

 

Rather than using the sessions to simply instill information onto the participants of what the school wanted in the video the school encouraged participants to investigate what they considered to be welcoming at the school.

Armed with an I pad the participants began their investigations and searched for images that they could use in their video that was in their opinion welcoming. These images would then be used in a variety programs and apps which would then lay foundations for the final video.

During the sessions participants critically evaluated the content, collaborated with another and came up with something creative that would communicate their message.

Comments made by the participants included:

Wow, I never knew learning was so much fun

My son came home the other day and said mum I have to make a power point for school, to which I replied oh no I know how to do something so much better than a power point let me show you.

I can hardly wait to practice and show my daughter so she can be proud of me.

We feel so proud of ourselves.

The video it which the participants produced has been extremely well received at meetings and kindergarten orientation sessions by staff and parents and can be viewed below.

Parent Group

Joanne Wheaton, a parent involved with Kaniva College:

“I know you probably hear this from every school but, I believe our school is well on the way down the path you are hoping to create.

We are a small rural P-12 school. Our enrolments stand at about 230. We are the only school in town and our enrolments come from one kinder. I believe our parents’ group is unique in Victoria. When all of the local ‘feeder’ schools closed about 40 years ago to make the Kaniva Consolidated School, each of the local communities retained their own Parents Clubs (known here as Welfare Groups) which then had representatives come together during the year to meet. This still continues today. This combined group fills one of the co-opted positions on our school council, the other co-opted position is shared by two students.

The Kaniva Combined Parents Association (KCPA) school council representative, Kaye Bothe, and myself attended the Parents Victoria conference in Melbourne earlier this year. At this we heard [about the Bureau] and we went home even more inspired about our school — both what it already is and what it could be!

Since this trip Kaye has spoken to individual groups and is trying to increase participation. These groups have been running for a long time and it has been assumed that people know how they run and what they are there for. Unfortunately, over time, they have become viewed largely as fundraising groups and people are put off by the thought of just being involved to cater.

That is all changing! A new generation of parents are becoming involved as they find that these individual groups and the KCPA are like peak bodies for the parents. Kaye and I spoke at the kindergarten’s AGM last week, informing parents they can be involved in the school through the Welfare Groups, School Council and less formal ways. It’s all about demystifying the system and making parents feel like a part of their children’s education even after they have started school.

We are fortunate to have a new, young principal, Tiffany Holt. Together we share the vision of Kaniva College being the best P-12 school in Victoria, and beyond!
We are also at Stage 4 of Building Futures and are busily working with architects to form a master plan which will see our primary section refurbished and new buildings built to fit our p-4, 5-8 & 9-12 sub-school structure. I would love it if you could suggest ways of obtaining extra funding to have a parents’ space included in our new school. If the Government is serious about the family/school partnership they need to fund the infrastructure to make it happen.

What is happening at Kaniva is exciting, and with the possibility of the new school coming closer to being a reality it is the perfect time to physically build from the ground up what we already have established in the people.”

Employment of Parent/Community Liaison Officer

from Debbie Nobbs at Cranbourne West Primary, highlights the benefits of a dedicated Parent and Community Liaison Officer:

“I thought you might be interested in our school in the South East Region of Melbourne. I believe that we may be unique, in that the principal has allocated funding for a full-time Parent and Community Liaison Officer.

I have been in this role for almost 2 years and we have demonstrated that allocating resources to improving partnerships between school, family and community pays high dividends.

My job is to build upon our community initiatives, develop value-added programs for our students and their families, and work with our broader community utilising a community development framework to support individuals, families and our broader community. As well as allocating a worker to develop these programs, the school has also allocated space to develop a Parents and Volunteers Room

We have significantly increased the percentage of parents and community members who volunteer in programs within the school and the broader community. We have initiated and/or enhanced a broad range of programs that improve student health and well-being, such as Breakfast Club, Brunch Club, Emergency Lunches, Lunchtime Activities and Mentoring programs, just to name a few.

We have received significant financial support for the development of our programs through government funding, and support from local businesses and services. We have developed strong partnerships with a number of local organisations including WillowWood Aged Care Facility, Anglicare, CHIPS, Salvation Army, City of Casey, Youth Services, Cranbourne Community Plan, Turning Point Family Church, Cranbourne Police, YMCA etc. These partnerships benefit both our school community and the organisations we partner with.”