Bendigo Education Plan 2018-2028’s broad approach to improving the quality of education within the region highlights the importance of every stage of the learning cycle, starting at early childhood through to higher education.
Bendigo Senior Secondary College principal Dale Pearce said it was a positive plan and a good opportunity for the region’s schools.
“The new plan is far more wide reaching and therefore has the potential to have a much greater positive impact on education,” Mr Pearce said.
It’s important to identify there are pathways such as apprenticeships, traineeships, TAFE courses and other options.Brad Madden, principal Crusoe College
“There are some sensible approaches in the plan driven by the fact we think we can do better and need to do better in a few areas.
“Myself and the other principals look forward to working together within our school communities over the next 10 years on the plan.”
The drafting process of the plan involved representatives from universities, TAFEs, employers, students and staff of schools, government and health providers.
A spokeswoman for the Department of Education and Training said they would “continue to work with the community and key stakeholders on how to implement the plan” to improve education outcomes in Bendigo.
The plan outlined the need to address achievement and retention outcomes, which are falling below expected levels.
“Retention is a complex issue with multiple factors contributing,” she said.
“The plan focuses on different factors to improve retention including strengthening supports for children and young people through key transition periods, and partnering with family and carers.”
Mr Pearce said it was an important area of focus for schools and collaboration would help improve outcomes.
“One thing in schools that we could’ve done better, which we will work on with renewed vigor is collaborating between schools,” Mr Pearce said.
“This will help support students as they transition. The schools are certainly keen to collaborate around making sure students have no issues as they move schools. “
The DET spokeswoman said during the first stage of the plan, “how to best implement specialist programs across Bendigo’s secondary schools and new arrangements to oversee collaboration” will be investigated.
“This will help ensure that resources and opportunities are equally distributed so that every local young person has access to a great education,” she said.
“Teachers play a crucial role in providing high quality education for our students and that’s why we’re strengthening and expanding opportunities for shared professional learning for teachers.
“This will boost their shared knowledge and expertise and help create a system-wide culture of teachers as leaders and problem-solvers.”
BSSC principal Mr Pearce said another key area for success would be to engage parents and students to set higher aspirations for themselves.
“We want to inspire them to do well in school and beyond into further education,” he said.
The DET spokeswoman said the plan outlined how partnerships with families and carers would strengthen community involvement in children’s literacy.
“With a particular emphasis on engaging Koorie families and carers in early years literacy learning and development,” she said.
“This extends to keeping parents and carers informed about a range of career pathways and resources available to help young people make informed choices about their learning.”
Crusoe College principal Brad Madden said the plan looked to “innovate” the ways students were engaged at school and more widely within all streams of education.
“It recognises there are plenty of pathways, particularly moving on from Year 7-10 schools,” Mr Madden said.
“It’s important to identify there are pathways such as apprenticeships, traineeships, TAFE courses and other options.”
The plan discussed the importance of acknowledging the need to prepare for a growing population and requirements to “ensure provision of accessible and equitable education services for our growing community”.
”There’s no doubt if you look at where schools are situated and where the zones currently sit, there’s an imbalance in the demand for places,” Mr Madden said.
“The way the zones are set now and the way children will access schools is certainly something that needs to be resolved, not just for today but for the future.”
The Bendigo Education Plan 2018-2028 is the successor to the first plan that was released in 2005, which the DET spokeswoman said resulted in a period of change across government secondary schools in the area.
“The plan has ushered in cultural change, with greater openness to experimenting with different approaches to the curriculum, teaching and learning practices,” she said.
“With changes there comes a period of adjustment, and despite efforts to minimise disruption this can sometimes impact on student outcomes.”
Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards said the new plan focused on “what happens within the education system itself in Bendigo”.
“This will ensure every child has every opportunity available to them, we believe education is significant to support young people to future success,” Ms Edwards said.