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Our Organisational Approach

Current operating environment

The department is operating in a challenging and complex environment as it supports Victoria’s economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The flexibility and agility of the Victorian school education system has been well demonstrated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Against a backdrop of disruption and uncertainty, every level of the Victorian education system, demonstrated extraordinary ability to continuously adapt and innovate to ensure the continuous delivery of student learning and wellbeing supports. The department is using the lessons learnt from this period to embed agility into its services and modernise the way it works. As part of these improvements, the department is adopting the best elements of remote and innovative technology.

The importance of immediate communications between the department and education settings has been critical through the pandemic. We are engaging more directly with more of our stakeholders and continue to share knowledge and engage openly to support effective service operations. The ability to connect more efficiently and effectively will be a feature of our education system going forward.

The department allocates and deploys public resources to support outcomes for Victorian learners. With a clear focus on delivery, we have embedded greater oversight, reporting and monitoring of the delivery of major initiatives and key strategies. This maximises our ability to implement reforms and deliver improved outcomes for all learners.

The department is committed to supporting safe and high-quality front-line service delivery to nurture a community of lifelong learners, supporting our education and training workforces and delivering on the Government’s commitment to making Victoria the Education State.

Our Stories: Keeping our schools and early childhood services safe in 2022

As students, staff and families across Victoria prepared for the beginning of the 2022 school year, the department played a key role in rolling out a full suite of COVID-safe measures to protect our community and minimise disruption to learning. This involved supporting access to COVID-19 vaccinations for school communities and providing 80 million free Rapid Antigen Tests (RATs) through schools and early childhood services for use by all children, students and staff.

Improving ventilation was a key measure to slow the spread of the virus around schools and early childhood services, particularly in high-risk areas like staff rooms, music rooms, indoor canteens and other high traffic areas. To do this, the department arranged the delivery of 51,000 air purification devices to government and low-fee non-government schools ahead of the first day of Term 1. Grants of up to $25,000 were also available to schools to manage construction and installation of shade sails. More than 1,800 schools applied for a Shade Sail Grant which facilitated safe outdoor learning.

Not-for-profit sessional and long day care providers offering a funded three or four-year-old kindergarten program were eligible for grants of $4,500 in 2021 and $4,000 in 2022 to support ventilation and air purification measures.


Adaptation action plan

With the potential for other disruptions including extreme weather and emergency situations, our services need to be responsive, adaptable and flexible. Climate change means that we have more very hot days and less rain. The bushfire season is longer than it used to be, and when big rains come, they are more intense and may cause flooding.

The Adaptation Action Plan 2022–26 for the education and training sectors reflects the department’s priorities, as outlined in the Climate Change Act 2017 and the Victorian Climate Change Strategy. The plan outlines risks and opportunities within the system in relation to climate change and new measures to build the system’s resilience. There are 22 actions in the department’s plan including:

  • developing a policy on environmental sustainability in schools
  • incorporating region-based climate adaptation tools and resources (such as flood overlays, and temperature and rainfall projections) when selecting sites for new education facilities
  • understanding skills issues arising from both the impacts of climate change, the requirement to achieve net-zero carbon economy by 2050, and providing recommendations to the vocational training sector
  • convening a diverse group of students to advise on the most engaging learning and teaching resources relating to climate change, climate change adaptation and disaster risk reduction, and communicating these to schools and TAFEs
  • exploring ways to support early childhood education providers to build organisational resilience and adapt activities to the impacts of climate change on wellbeing and service delivery.

Future demand

Victoria’s population growth has slowed in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, long‑term population growth remains a significant challenge for the department. By 2026, enrolments in early childhood services are predicted to grow to more than 150,500, while primary school and secondary school enrolments will grow to about 559,000 and 493,000 respectively [1]. The department is carefully monitoring changes in population forecasts and government sector market share to inform its strategic planning.

Chart: Student Enrolment Growth 2018–26

Bar chart shows the department’s records of enrolments in primary and secondary schools show that: In 2018, 971,669 students enrolled  In 2022, 1,014,247 students enrolled. By 2026, enrolments in primary and secondary schools are predicted to grow to 1,052,0153.

Our Education State reforms are expanding the services the department is offering, while also supporting a greater proportion of Victoria’s population. The initiatives and programs outlined in this plan require localised and tailored approaches. Changes in the movement and spread of learners affects demand at a local level. The department continues to tailor our response to ensure every Victorian has access to high-quality education services.

The department’s Asset Strategy 2021–31 develops and maintains a high performing asset base that supports improved education and development outcomes. By targeting our investment, we improve asset planning, acquisition, operation and maintenance and disposal across the early childhood, schools and higher education and training and skills sectors. The strategy is consistent with best practices and the Victorian Government’s Asset Management Accountability Framework. It has taken the population growth into account to ensure we have an asset base that can meet the projected demand.


Building our workforce capability and supporting teacher and educator supply is essential to improving the quality of early childhood, school education and VET.

Victoria’s changing population is placing additional demands on our services and workforces, with specific planning and support required for staff across different education settings and locations. By 2026, Victoria is projected to require 103,410 teachers across the early childhood education, primary school and secondary school settings [2].

Supply in regional areas remains a particular challenge. Government schools in some locations continue to experience recruitment challenges for specific teaching roles, such as science, technology, engineering and mathematics, languages and special education. The roll-out of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten is likely to impact workforce capacity in the early childhood workforce, particularly in some regional locations.

Early childhood workforce

The department has a range of workforce attraction and retention initiatives to enable the expansion and rollout of the Three-Year-Old Kindergarten program. To make the program a success an additional 4,000 teacher and 2,000 qualified educator positions will be created by 2029.

Our Stories: Three-Year-Old Kindergarten: making a difference

The rollout of Three-Year-Old Kindergarten is creating 6,000 new teaching jobs, for those committed to providing Victorian children the best start in life.

Andrew Ross was frustrated as an IT professional when a friend suggested that he consider teaching because of his ability to explain technical things to other people. After investigating his options, Andrew decided early childhood teaching was his passion.

'Not only is learning in a kindergarten guided by a child's own interests and curiosity, I quickly discovered that this was where I could have the greatest impact,' Andrew said.

Having initially completed a Bachelor of Computer Science, Andrew was eligible to undertake the Graduate Diploma in Education (Early Childhood) at RMIT University. After gaining his Diploma in Education, Andrew landed a job at Leongatha Children's Centre. The mentoring experience at Leongatha led Andrew to proceed in the early childhood industry and become a three-year-old kindergarten teacher.

Andrew identifies the variability of each day as the most enjoyable element of teaching three-year-old children.

'Every day is different. The young children are developing all the time and their interests are changing,' Andrew said.

He strongly encourages other people to consider teaching kindergarten. “To know that you are making a difference to individual children, families and eventually to society is very satisfying”.

The department continues to work with the Early Childhood sector to build awareness of the existing initiatives and identify new actions and partnerships across the sector. This includes providing scholarships for aspiring kindergarten teachers, accelerated initial teacher education, employment incentives and professional development support.

Schools workforce

The department is committed to improving the capability, quantity and wellbeing of its school teaching workforce.

To support the growing demand for teachers in schools, the department is lifting the number of graduates and career changers entering the teaching profession through the Innovative Initial Teacher Education pathways, and by incentivising teachers to move to rural and regional schools.

The department also continues to support existing teachers to train in areas of subject demand such as mathematics and science. The Primary Mathematics and Science Specialist program is training an additional 100 government primary teachers as mathematics specialists by 2025. A quarter of these positions will be filled in rural and regional areas.

The Excellence in Teacher Education Reforms are attracting a diverse range of high-quality teaching candidates, raising the status and entry standards and ensuring strong and effective pathways into the teaching profession. Graduate teachers continue to be supported through induction and mentoring, the Graduate Teacher Conferences, the Graduate Learning Series, and the Effective Mentoring Program. The Career Start pilot is providing support to graduate teachers in the first two years of their careers. Career Start provides time-release, professional development opportunities and a range of additional supports to graduate teachers and their mentors to accelerate graduate teaching and learning.

Quality teaching means giving our teachers opportunities to focus on teaching activities that provide the greatest benefit for students. In line with the 2022 Victorian Government Schools Agreement, the department is reducing the maximum face to face teaching by 1.5 hours over the next 2 years by funding an additional 2,000 teachers in government schools. This enables teachers to spend more time collaborating with their peers, planning lessons based on individual student needs and participating in professional learning and development activities.

In addition, the department has established a new academy, The Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership, to provide advanced professional learning for Victorian teachers and educational leaders.

The Victorian Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) initiative takes an evidence-based approach to improving student outcomes based on sharing best teaching practices. PLCs support teachers to evaluate and monitor the impact of their teaching by using the FISO 2.0 Improvement Cycle to guide inquiry and feedback on student learning. PLCs aim to systematise teacher collaboration, providing opportunities for teachers to work together in small teams focused on cohorts or subject areas to investigate the best ways to teach individual students and content. Every Victorian government school receives intensive implementation support to implement PLCs. This includes a comprehensive professional learning program, expert advice from regionally based teams, and peer-to-peer support from PLC Link Schools.

Vocational education and training workforce

As we introduce a new core vocational offering across senior secondary schools, we make sure that every senior secondary student can access quality vocational and applied learning. To strengthen the teaching workforce in these new pathways, a new funded to study program to attract 400 extra VET trainers is being introduced, along with professional development for up to 1,900 teachers and increased funding for jobs, skills and pathways coordinators in schools.

There are approximately 4,100 teaching staff in TAFEs across Victoria. The TAFE teacher scholarships program supports industry experts to retrain as TAFE teachers so they can bring years of valuable experience into the classrooms. In addition, the TAFE Teacher Incentive Program provides up to 200 study assistance scholarships valued at $10,000 each, to enhance the TAFE teaching workforce amid growing student enrolments. The program was launched in late 2021, with 157 skilled workers signing-up across a variety of in‑demand industries, including health and community services, construction and electrotechnology.