Collaborating beyond school
To support student learning and increase wider community involvement, many schools seek mutually supportive partnerships with external organisations.
- use the Family School Partnerships Framework School Assessment Tool - Reflection Matrix to guide the purpose of collaboration beyond the parent community
- develop strategies to establish and maintain community links in school planning
- conduct an ‘audit’ of local businesses and organisations who may offer enrichment and support to students and the school
- consider how local community/business/sporting connections may play an important role in supporting students
- invite service providers, local business leaders, and representatives of relevant organisations to the school for an initial introduction to the school’s programs and priorities
- include external community representatives whose values are aligned with the school, as members of governance committees
- recognise and celebrate the contributions of external providers where relevant
- develop formal partnership agreements where relevant
- evaluate the purpose of specific partnerships annually and use data to analyse the success of cross collaborative initiatives
- place school promotional material in local businesses and organisations
- place links to relevant community organisations on the school’s website and Facebook site
- make facilities available for use by the community.
What they said
"You can see the difference in the kids. All the kids, not just the Aboriginal kids in Year 7. Their self-esteem has improved and they want to do more to help the community." Aboriginal Elder, Toormina High School
"A direct correlation between improvement in a wide range of measures and practice (links with external providers, community consultation and personalised, enterprise education) has been established in school evidence." Rooty Hill High School Annual School Report 2015
"The educational aspirations of the students have changed and grown through the program (a partnership with the local Westfield shopping centre) as they learned about succeeding in a competitive field." Principal, Figtree High School
How they did it
Rooty Hill High School established close links with local community organisations including:
- Greater Western Sydney Giants AFL team
- University of Sydney, University of NSW and the University of Western Sydney
- local service groups and businesses.
The school is one of eight ‘Powerhouse Schools’ recognised across NSW and Victoria due to its partnership with Social Ventures Australia, a national not-for-profit group which partners with organisations to increase their social impact. The school has assumed the lead role in a partnership including 11 other schools, the Mitchell Institute in Victoria and Professor Yong Zhao from Harvard University formed to develop twenty-first century skills in entrepreneurship and collaboration.
Figtree High School worked with the local Westfield shopping centre to develop programs that could support Stage 5 students with career options. Planning included consultation with students, staff, parents, community representatives and outside agencies. The school also prepared a detailed presentation of their proposal – GenZ-2 Work. Over 50% of students participating in the program gained part-time or casual employment at Westfield.
Positive behaviour for learning in the community
At Irrawang PS, consultation with parents and a number of local businesses and services was critical to successfully implementing the Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) program across the network hub. The school collaborated with Irrawang High School, Hunter River High School, Raymond Terrace Public School and Grahamstown Public School.
In adopting the program, students, parents and the community are encouraged to use common PBL language at home and in the community. The PBL program implementation strengthened partnerships and raised expectations between all schools in the PBL network and local businesses and agencies: local, federal and state members of parliament, the local council, Raymond Terrace Marketplace, Raymond Terrace Bowling Club and other non-government agencies.