School community partnerships

SVA and Bright Spots Schools Connection LeadersLast month, school leaders from the Social Ventures Australia (SVA) Bright Spots Schools Connection came together at Bastow for the second Thought Leadership Gathering. The topic of this two-day event was ‘Community partnerships’. The SVA Bright Spots Schools Connection supports exceptional school leaders in disadvantaged schools to improve the outcomes of their students.

Over the course of two days, school leaders worked with leading academics, innovative thinkers and expert practitioners to empower them to advance their work and build their network.

Jan Owen, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA), explored with the group how to achieve successful community partnerships. With her extensive experience in leading youth-centred partnerships, Jan was able to offer insights into both the common shortcomings and successes of partnerships. One of Jan’s key ideas is that schools must be highly selective with their partnership choices. While partnerships have the ability to leverage outcomes for schools, they can also have the opposite effect by demanding a lot time. Jan pointed to the importance of co-design during the development phase to ensure commitment to the long-term sustainability of the partnership.

Dr Michelle Anderson, an ACER Principal Research Fellow and Project Director of Tender Bridge challenged school leaders to overlay a more directed framework to their partnership choices, relating to their school goals. Michelle provided examples such as crowd funding for school projects, housing partnerships for community development, and school-to-work initiatives.

A Q&A panel discussion with Anton Leschen from the Smith Family, Val Ridley from the Beacon Foundation, Russell Kerr from Hands on Learning, and Michelle Hamilton from Schools Connect Australia, shared insights from their experiences with school to community partnerships.

The Thought Leadership Gathering challenged perceptions of community partnerships and presented strategies to enhance their efficacy.

Bastow was proud to host this SVA event and is looking forward to partnering again with SVA for the twilight seminar Using Evidence to Beat Disadvantage (PDF - 166 Kb) with Dr Kevan Collins CEO of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) on Tuesday 14 October 2014. EEF is an independent grant-making charity dedicated to breaking the link between family income and education achievement, ensuring that children from all backgrounds can fulfil their potential and make the most of their talents.

On Wednesday 10 September 2014 Bastow is also hosting a twilight seminar Evaluating family – school partnerships with Associate Professor Joseph Flessa, Ph.D.

These seminars are open to all education professionals from government and non-government schools and the early childhood sector.