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Thirty-nine finalists from government schools across Victoria are short-listed for the 2022 awards.

2022 Individual Award finalists

Outstanding Primary Principal

The Outstanding Primary Principal award recognises exceptional principals who have demonstrated leadership excellence in a Victorian government primary school. These principals have made a significant contribution to improving staff and student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing; raised the quality of teaching; and improved the overall performance of their school.

Kim Jackson, Kunyung Primary School

Principal Kim Jackson leads a high-performing learning community at Kunyung Primary School. Empowering students to have agency in their own learning has been key to improved student outcomes and strong learning growth.

Kim is leading key reforms to ensure student agency is at the forefront of all decisions made at the school. Her leadership has resulted in outstanding student growth in Reading from Years 3 – 5, and significant improvement in the number of Year 5 students achieving in the top two bands of NAPLAN.

Kim’s strong instructional leadership within her school community and the Central Peninsula Network of schools, has been acknowledged by the region where she has presented to principals at state-wide conferences. Kim’s leadership of a successful school improvement agenda has led to an upward trend of all key data sets over the past five years, resulting in the school’s performance being categorised as one of ‘Influence’.

Kim Saddlier, Kangaroo Flat Primary School

Principal Kim Saddlier leads the learning community at Kangaroo Flat Primary School, where equity and a strong sense of belonging enhance the education of every child.

As a school leader, Kim uses her expertise to focus collaborative effort on improving the quality and impact of teaching and learning, ensuring each student has the best opportunity to reach their potential. Solution focused and pro-active in reducing barriers to education, Kim involves families at every step of the learning and support process.

Working across school and pre-school settings, Kim has initiated a therapeutic model to support oral language development and students’ self-regulation and transition. Her innovative student and family-centred approach is evidenced by significant improvement in students’ health and wellbeing data.

Improving the academic and wellbeing outcomes of students, regardless of their start in life and family circumstances, Kim’s exceptional leadership is ensuring inclusive and effective educational provision for all.

Brendan Dawson, Glengarry Primary School

Brendan Dawson is an outstanding instructional leader who has demonstrated highly effective primary school leadership in two rural communities in Inner Gippsland.

Principal of Glengarry Primary School and previously Willow Grove Primary School, Brendan’s leadership focus on school improvement has been transformational for both schools.

Brendan believes that open communication and positive relationships are the keys to leading an effective school in a rural and regional setting. Working collaboratively with the school community, he has successfully built staff capacity to support targeted improvements in student learning and wellbeing.

Brendan’s commitment to collaborative processes has impacted positively on student learning growth. In each school, Brendan has lifted overall performance levels to a status of ‘Influence’, through implementing innovative change management processes that are positive and purposeful.

Brendan also makes a significant contribution to the wider educational system through his leadership role on the Latrobe Valley Principals Network Board.

Colin Simpson Outstanding Secondary Principal

The Colin Simpson Outstanding Secondary Principal award recognises exceptional principals who have demonstrated leadership excellence in a Victorian government secondary school. These principals have made a significant contribution to improving staff and student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing; raised the quality of teaching; and improved the overall performance of their school.

This award is named in recognition of the late Colin Simpson who was a teacher and education leader in Victoria. He was the foundation principal of Richmond High School from 2017 to 2019 and principal of the Victorian College of the Arts Secondary School (VCASS) from 2004 to 2016. He was awarded the Outstanding Leadership Award at the 2009 VEEA.

Pitsa Binnion, McKinnon Secondary College

Pitsa Binnion is a highly experienced educator and principal of McKinnon Secondary College ­– one of the largest and highest-performing secondary colleges in Victoria. An advocate for public education, Pitsa demonstrates a sustained commitment to the Victorian state school system and its students.

Working as an advisor, mentor and educational leader, Pitsa is building teacher and principal capacity across the sector, contributing to department advisory panels and as a Challenge Partner in school reviews. Her exceptional leadership, positive community impact and contribution to improving student and organisational outcomes has led to McKinnon Secondary College receiving accreditation with the Council of International Schools (CIS), significant growth in VCE results and improvements in classroom pedagogy.

Pitsa’s exemplary commitment to building a positive learning culture and environment for secondary education continues to deliver high-quality outcomes for young people living in Melbourne's South East.

Seona Murnane, Mount Rowan Secondary College

As principal of Mount Rowan Secondary College, Seona Murnane’s inspirational leadership is driven by the learning and wellbeing needs of her students and college community.

Communicating and promoting clear college-wide targets for improvement with students, teachers, parents and families, Seona’s high expectations for students and staff are given sustained and appropriate support. Under Seona's instructional leadership, Mount Rowan Secondary College has developed a strong culture of professional learning, evident in the school’s consistent improvement over many years.

Seona’s leadership in improving numeracy outcomes has been acknowledged at a regional level. In 2022, Mount Rowan Secondary College was identified as one of the Top 5 Schools who reduced the numeracy decline of students between Years 7 and 9.

A champion for and an early adopter of many department initiatives, Seona is a highly regarded and respected role model in her own school community, and across the network and Central Highlands Area.

Brett Moore, Ashwood High School

Principal Brett Moore has a distinguished record of transforming underperforming schools into high performing learning communities, and Ashwood High School is no exception.

Brett’s strength in building a culture of inclusion and openness enables students, staff, and families to fully support the vision and values of the school. A visionary educational leader and an expert in managing school improvement, Brett communicates with conviction and purpose, setting high expectations for himself and those he works with.

In his role as executive principal, he has transformed Ashwood High School from a school at risk of closure, to a school with VCE results amongst the top 10 government schools in Victoria.

Brett is also a genuine system leader who consistently demonstrates his commitment to evidence-informed improvement across the sector. Dedicated to improving research and inquiry in educational leadership, Brett is an active Monash Q project partner working to improve the use of research in Australian schools.

Outstanding Primary Teacher

The Outstanding Primary Teacher award recognises effective and innovative teachers who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice at a Victorian government primary school and have made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing.

Donatella Giuliano, Lalor Gardens Primary School

Teacher Donatella Giuliano has led significant improvement at Lalor Gardens Primary School since joining in 2019.

As the school’s Program for Students with Disabilities coordinator and Wellbeing Leader, Donatella regularly liaises with multiple internal and external stakeholders to support students with significant learning, wellbeing and cultural needs.

In her wellbeing-focused role, Donatella has been able to transform the school’s approach to behaviour management. Promoting a better understanding of neurodiversity, Donatella is a passionate advocate for meeting the needs of neurodiverse students in mainstream schooling.

Donatella also introduced Professional Learning Communities to the school, steadily building collective ownership and engagement with professional learning by working collaboratively with staff to learn from data, develop curriculum, and implement school-wide initiatives.

Leading the implementation of a School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support framework, Donatella has engaged closely with students, families and the school community to establish a strong culture of student inclusion and support at the school.

James Dobson, Tylden Primary School

Teacher James Dobson is building students’ literacy skills at Tylden Primary School by encouraging students to become proficient readers who love reading and writing.

A literacy learning specialist, James has led the school in implementing a new and effective literacy instructional model. James has collaborated with colleagues to ensure that reading and writing are informed and taught explicitly by evidence-based practices around writing and knowledge building.

James’ dedicated and systematic approach to explicit instruction in the teaching of literacy is at the heart of significant improvements of all students at the school.

Sharing his knowledge and practice in literacy teaching and learning, James’ expertise is positively impacting upon the wider educational community. Currently participating in the Victorian Academy of Teaching and Leadership's Teaching Excellence Program, he is mentoring new educators and delivering professional learning for teachers to an increasing number of schools seeking to develop knowledge around reading fluency.

Ruby Russell, The Basin Primary School

For teacher Ruby Russell, students are at the centre of every planning, teaching and improvement decision she makes at The Basin Primary School.

Ruby prioritises getting to know student’s backgrounds, interests and abilities when developing lessons. Consistently creating opportunities for students to contribute to learning in the classroom, Ruby is providing a safe, supportive and exciting space for students to develop their voice and agency as learners.

In encouraging student voice in all aspects of student experience and learning, Ruby is creating multiple opportunities for student leadership and development and is enhancing their wellbeing, self-confidence and growth as learners.

Ruby’s advocacy for student wellbeing is given focus through her leadership and implementation of a consistent whole-school model of student behaviour. Undertaking professional learning around the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support framework, Ruby has initiated a relaunch of school values developed in consultation with students, parents, staff and the wider community.

Outstanding Secondary Teacher

The Outstanding Secondary Teacher award recognises effective and innovative teachers who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice at a Victorian government secondary school and have made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing.

David Black, Wantirna College

Over the past seven years at Wantirna College, David Black has achieved outstanding results as a Physical Education teacher and educational leader.

David has held three different leadership responsibilities in his time at Wantirna College – Leader of Physical Education/Health, Leader of Teacher Practice and currently, Leader of VCE Improvement. Outstanding and consistently high VCE results from his Year 12 Physical Education classes have substantially exceeded the school and state mean study score each year.

David is changing the way the college views learning outcomes.

Whether implementing new initiatives that change how formative assessment is applied and understood across the college or embedding a digital learning platform that is revolutionising how students communicate and collaborate with teachers, David is empowering students to realise their goals.

Leading Wantirna College towards measuring student learning by growth, rather than general achievement, David’s student-centred approach is developing individual agency in learning and transforming teaching practices.

Kimberley Zammit, Warringa Park School

Secondary teacher Kimberley Zammit has been instrumental in improving Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) engagement and employment pathways for Later Years students at Warringa Park School, and across the wider Wyndham network.

Kimberley has transformed Later Years education and outcomes at the school by developing informed and productive partnerships with teachers, students, families, training providers, community businesses, local council and schools.

A passionate advocate for inclusive learning opportunities, informed by student voice and agency, Kimberley has increased student’s access and inclusion in vocational learning. Her introduction of project-based learning into the VCAL curriculum and ‘supported’ Vocational Educational Training programs are greatly improving VCAL students’ engagement, achievement and completion outcomes.

An experienced Professional Learning Community leader, Kimberley is currently building the capacity of Later Years teachers to support the embedding of the Secondary School Pathways reform at the school, ensuring the quality of Later Years education for staff and students.

Andrew Byrne, Prahran High School

Andrew Byrne is the inspiring drama teacher and mentor of Prahran High School’s new performing arts program.

Facing significant challenges in developing the foundation years’ new performing arts culture during COVID-19 restrictions, Andrew invested significant effort to build a strong and supportive culture with students and their families, also establishing important connections with local primary schools.

In 2021, Andrew worked with students to rehearse and develop the school’s first-ever school production, even during remote learning. Ensuring that all drama students had opportunities to perform and participate, Andrew involved over 100 students (nearly a third of the school) in the production and created a defining, celebratory moment in the development of the school community.

Andrew has also supported the school in undertaking a reconciliation journey. Engaging with the local Indigenous community, Andrew has led staff in professional development and modelled approaches to growing authentic connection and understanding.

Outstanding Early Career Primary Teacher

The Outstanding Early Career Primary Teacher award recognises effective and innovative teachers in the first five years of their teaching career who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice at a Victorian government primary school and have made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing.

Amy Davis, Clyde Creek Primary School

As an early career primary teacher, Amy is demonstrating great passion and skill in teaching mathematics, and harnessing evidence-based best practice to engage, teach and assess early numeracy skills.

Amy’s strong knowledge of the numeracy continuum, her engaging teaching practice, effective goal setting and reflection is demonstrated by her students’ improved outcomes in numeracy, connectedness to school and positive wellbeing.

Clearly valuing the connection between department and system priorities, Amy successfully balances student learning and wellbeing, guided by the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes 2.0 in the classroom and across the school.

As leader of her Professional Learning team, Amy actively fosters collective staff efficacy by collaboratively planning and implementing curriculum. Her commitment to data-informed practice and professional learning is inspiring others to ensure all students at Clyde Creek Primary School are achieving success and growth in their learning and wellbeing.

Emily Roberts, Footscray Primary School

Emily Roberts began her teaching career at Footscray Primary School as a first-year graduate teacher in 2020. Quickly demonstrating skills in educational leadership, she was appointed as a year level leader in her second year of teaching.

Within three months, Emily was elected to School Council and in that role supported the school through a transition to Footscray Primary’s long-standing bilingual program.

Emily’s sense of fairness and her balanced, open approach to listening and learning has enhanced her capacity to contribute to and lead respectful conversations with students, parents and colleagues. In all situations, Emily ensures equity of voice and maintains a strong focus on student learning and engagement.

Embracing coaching and productive feedback, Emily consistently searches for ways to improve her practice in the classroom and is an active participant in a Professional Learning Community, contributing to the development of a new approach to professional learning.

Kira Elliott, Wattle Glen Primary School

A second-year graduate teacher at Wattle Glen Primary School, Kira Elliott is committed to ensuring that her evidence-based teaching practices and professional learning are helping students to improve their learning and wellbeing.

For a teacher early in her career, Kira is working at the highest level to achieve the best possible outcomes for her composite class of Grade 2,3 and 4 students, particularly in literacy and numeracy. Contributing to many school improvements, events and educational initiatives, Kira’s capability as a teacher and colleague is exceptional.

Transitioning in and out of remote learning with ease, Kira carefully monitored student progress and engagement, communicated with parents and built a rapport with her students and their families.

Applying evidence-based approaches and initiatives to grow her student’s reading and maths capability, Kira has consistently provided an inclusive and stimulating learning environment for students, all while integrating her growing knowledge and understanding into her teaching.

Outstanding Early Career Secondary Teacher

The Outstanding Early Career Secondary Teacher award recognises effective and innovative teachers in the first five years of their teaching career who have demonstrated excellence in teaching practice at a Victorian government secondary school and have made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing.

Taylah Quinn, Berwick College

Bringing a fresh and informed approach to teaching and learning at Berwick College, Taylah Quinn is ensuring all her students can experience success in her classroom.

An inspiring English and Literacy teacher, Taylah has promoted the implementation of classroom libraries to improve reading achievement and embraced the opportunity to support some of the college's most vulnerable students. Drawing on the department’s Literacy Teaching Toolkit, Taylah has developed a unique Literacy program for students performing below the minimum standard.

Creating and maintaining supportive and safe learning environments, Taylah has made a significant contribution to the wellbeing of her students.

Impressing her colleagues with her focus on building her capacity to support the learners in her care, Taylah regularly seeks advice and professional learning about her teaching practice. A highly capable member of professional learning communities, she is making a positive contribution to improving the outcomes of all students at Berwick College.

Ben Wilson, Hampton Park Secondary College

Ben Wilson is an innovative new educator making a significant contribution to improvements in learning and teaching at Hampton Park Secondary College.

Ben’s in-depth knowledge of the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, Science and Maths curriculum, coupled with his openness to try new approaches to engaging students in learning, is resulting in highly effective learning experiences and innovative new subjects.

In Ben’s current roles as a learning leader and Year 8 mentor, he facilitates student forums, collates data, and with the students, identifies areas of their learning and engagement that require improvement. Ben has also developed new, more effective methods to track and assess student progress and outcomes, is creative in his blending of digital and face-to-face learning and is leading professional learning sessions with colleagues.

A highly respected member of the Hampton Park community, Ben’s creativity and care are having measurable impact on the quality of education at the college.

Seamus Kavanagh, Richmond High School

Seamus Kavanagh is a well-respected English teacher at Richmond High School.

In his first two years of teaching, Seamus established himself as an engaging and effective classroom teacher, developing positive and respectful relationships with his students. His classroom is inclusive and collaborative, with a strong focus on student voice and agency.

As Year 8 coordinator, Seamus continues to make a genuine difference to his students, modelling an unconditional positive regard for each individual.

Seamus has been instrumental in establishing VCE English Language at Richmond High School, mastering a different study design and developing new coursework, all of which he has done with genuine commitment to excellence. Through providing challenging content and learning experiences, Seamus extends his students to meet their learning goals.

Seamus also manages the popular Richmond High School Basketball Club and contributes to the life of the school to enrich students' wellbeing and strengthen the school's connection to the local community.

Outstanding Physical Education and Activity Teacher

The Outstanding Physical Education and Activity Teacher award recognises an exceptional teacher in a Victorian government school who has demonstrated leadership and excellence in teaching physical education that has led to significant improvements in student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing.

Alison Dowler, Western Port Secondary College

Alison Dowler is a dedicated and innovative Health, Physical Education and Outdoor educator and leader who is positively impacting on the development of the Health and Physical Education curriculum at Western Port Secondary College.

Working to improve students’ physical activity, agency and inclusion across all years, Alison has embedded tertiary-level research into the curriculum. Alison has introduced Sports Education at Year 7 and 8, launched a new fitness centre and led a curriculum team to develop a new approach to curriculum architecture through a learning partner.

Through her role as Head of Health and Physical Education/Tech/Arts, Alison has strengthened the school’s place as a top partner school with Monash University. Demonstrating her dedication to the next generation of educators and her support for tertiary research into fitness testing, Alison has led her team to facilitate more than 85 Health and Physical Education pre-service teacher placements from Monash University since 2021.

Daniel Gwynne, Mount Waverley Secondary College

Teaching hundreds of students each year, all with diverse learning needs, Physical Education and Health teacher Daniel Gwynne has provided students an inclusive and engaging learning environment for over twenty years.

Daniel’s ability to foster positive relationships with all members of the college community is remarkable. Daniel is a much-valued leader in the Physical Education/Health faculty at Mount Waverley Secondary College.

Translating those positive relationships into opportunities for the promotion of physical activity and participation in sport, Daniel encourages both staff and students to engage at all levels with physical activity and education. An exceptional team-teacher and leader, Daniel also mentors graduate and pre-service teachers.

Connecting to others beyond the college, Daniel facilitates students’ access to elite sportspeople and resources to support students’ aspirations and development, initiates fundraising events for charity and has mentored many thousands of students through School Sports Victoria.

Outstanding Business Manager

The Outstanding Business Manager award recognises exceptional business managers within a Victorian government school who have demonstrated excellence in school finance and business management, while making a significant contribution to the performance of their school.

Peter Cameron, Wantirna College

Peter Cameron was so committed to the vision of Wantirna College as a parent, that he joined the staff as business manager to dedicate his skills to improving student outcomes.

A Certified Practicing Accountant with a background in the corporate world, Peter looked upon the role of business manager at Wantirna College with a new lens. Well-placed to take on the challenge of becoming business manager at a college of 160 staff and 1500 students, Peter’s expertise and enjoyment of his new role is having a positive influence on staff, students and the wider community.

Transforming the customer service needs of the school and the way budgets and people are managed, his focus on building the capacity of those around him is empowering others to excel.

Introducing new administration practices and refining systems, Peter’s skills have greatly improved the school’s finance and resource management and led to benefits for students, staff and parents.

Victoria Harris, Greenhills Primary School

Victoria Harris’ outstanding business leadership enables the highest level of teamwork and has strengthened a shared commitment to serving the Greenhills Primary School community.

As business manager, Victoria has been instrumental in establishing strong and supportive organisational systems that enable the school to deliver a caring, well-equipped and engaging learning environment.

At a time where many schools are challenged by the demands of creating a COVIDSafe environment, Victoria has ensured that students experience a highly inclusive and responsive environment where students and their families are supported with every opportunity possible.

Implementing many new initiatives and provisions for students and their families, Victoria’s whole-hearted dedication to providing support for improvements in children’s learning and wellbeing has strengthened the bonds between parents, staff and students.

A well-respected member of the Business Manager Network, Victoria is also sharing her considerable expertise across the system and providing support to other schools in the region.

Giovanna Tarsilli, Harvest Home Primary School

Giovanna Tarsilli is an exemplary business manager with over 30 years’ experience resourcing rapidly growing school communities.

Widely respected for her expertise and inclusive approach to school administration, governance and finance, Giovanna has been the foundation business manager of two high-growth primary schools in Melbourne’s North. Harvest Home Primary School opened in 2017 with a student enrolment of 269, and currently, in 2022, 1100 students are enrolled.

Giovanna’s efficient and strategic resource management practices have enabled the school to financially plan for the successful growth of the school, while ensuring student progression and outcomes are at the centre of every decision.

Harvest Home Primary School is a multicultural school representing over forty different countries and cultures. In modelling empathic leadership in the school and community, Giovanna has established high levels of mutual trust and respect between teachers, parents and families, and increased parental and family involvement in the school.

2022 Team Award finalists

Outstanding School Improvement

The Outstanding School Improvement award recognises exceptional school staff within a Victorian government school who have demonstrated excellence to improve whole-school outcomes through strategic planning and improvement initiatives, and have made a significant contribution to developing effective partnerships with the broader community to improve overall school performance.

Frankston North Education Plan

The Frankston North Education Plan is leading community renewal through education.

Comprising three schools, Aldercourt Primary School, Mahogany Rise Primary School, and Monterey Secondary College, the Frankston North Education Plan has achieved collaborative, place-based educational improvement that is providing highly effective and interconnected education services to their communities.

The Frankston North Education Plan positions the schools at the centre of an ambitious, holistic, education-led community partnership that offers integrated early learning, high quality and consistent teaching and learning across primary, secondary, Victorian Certificate of Education, Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning, Vocational Education and Training and Adult Education, as well as programs supporting community education, health and wellbeing.

Underpinned by deep cultural renewal, the resulting educational transformation has seen significant improvements in the teaching practices of staff and learning outcomes for students, raising the quality, consistency and outcomes of public education in Frankston North.

Warrnambool West Primary School

The path to improvement under new leadership at Warrnambool West Primary School required courage, vision and commitment. Despite the challenges of 2020 and 2021, the improvement team has transformed Warrnambool West into a high performing school, significantly reducing the impact of disadvantage that is present among the students and families the school serves.

Led by new principal Clare Monk, a small leadership team came together to enable necessary improvements in students’ achievement and wellbeing at the school.

Aligning resources and actions to key student-centred priorities, the team employed a cycle of inquiry into improvement. Consistent professional learning supported the implementation of a new instructional model and organisational processes. Building the capability of staff to understand the impact of trauma on students was key to nurturing trust and students’ sense of belonging.

The improvement team’s establishment of purposeful relationships with staff, community, students and their families has resulted in the school’s transformation and much-improved learning and wellbeing outcomes for students.

Cranbourne East Primary School

With the introduction of the department’s Tutor Learning Initiative (TLI) in 2021, Cranbourne East Primary School identified an opportunity to provide targeted catch-up learning for students experiencing disruption to their learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Forming a Tutor Learning Initiative team of education support staff, graduate and experienced teachers, they worked collaboratively to research, resource and implement the small group learning initiative at the school.

Since the TLI’s inception, students from Year 1 to Year 6 have shown exceptional progress, with the majority of students achieving between 12 to 36 months of learning growth, especially those cohorts identified as at-risk with their learning, including English as an Additional Language, Koorie students and students in out-of-home care.

The school’s successful implementation of the TLI has been presented as a model of excellence by the Southern Metropolitan Area (SMA) student achievement manager across three Networks in the SMA, supporting capacity building in primary, secondary and special schools.

Outstanding Education Support Team

The Outstanding Education Support Team award recognises exceptional education support teams within Victorian government schools that have demonstrated excellence in collaboration and teamwork within a school setting and made a significant contribution to improving student achievement, engagement, and wellbeing.

Ashby Primary School

At Ashby Primary School, the Educational Support team work collaboratively with teaching colleagues in Professional Learning teams to share best practice and to foster student-centred, professional conversations based on data around individual student achievements.

The Ashby Primary School community consists of a diverse group of learners that often require adjustments throughout each day, demanding an in-depth understanding of individual student profiles. In working collaboratively with parents, therapists, and colleagues, the Educational Support team ensures the needs of individual students are shared and understood.

Respected as co-educators within each classroom, the Educational Support team assists classroom teachers to implement high-quality, differentiated learning programs, while also providing individualised support to students that enable greater engagement and success within the classroom.

Working together, the Educational Support team has been instrumental in creating a safe, and inclusive learning environment that is responsive to the individual needs of a diverse and unique student body.

Mount Waverley Secondary College

The Student Wellbeing team at Mount Waverley Secondary College (MWSC) has developed an innovative whole-college Student Wellbeing Model that is supporting students and their families, particularly during the recent periods of remote learning.

The MWSC Student Wellbeing team is a diverse group of education support professionals, representing a range of student-focused disciplines. Led by dedicated teachers, the model includes four areas: ‘Positive Relationships'; 'Social and Emotional Learning'; 'Partnerships and Support'; and 'Student Voice and Agency'.

The team’s wellbeing model adapted to the changing learning situation of students. During remote learning, student counselling moved to a videoconferencing platform, nurses' visits shifted to a telehealth model, community outreach moved to webinar formats, and a previously optional social wellbeing focus became a key part of the daily online school experience.

Regarded as being at the cutting-edge of wellbeing improvement and innovation in schools, MWSC’s exemplary Student Wellbeing Model is helping others to deliver effective whole-school wellbeing initiatives.

Kurnai College

The Careers and Pathways team at Kurnai College consists of four Career and Pathway coordinators, working across three campuses in the Latrobe Valley. Their effective careers and transition program is a vital component of Kurnai’s motto: ‘Pathways to Success’.

Empowering students with tools to assist with career pathway decisions, the Kurnai Careers and Pathways team is enabling students to explore their aspirations, make connections and develop experiences vital to further study and employment.

Tertiary education visits, industry forums, work experience and placements lift students’ aspirations and awareness of career pathways, many of whom are from a background of entrenched generational poverty.

From Year 7 through to Year 12, students are taken through a staged process of self-development and skills acquisition to shape career goals, gain employment and seek further educational opportunity. With the support provided by the Careers and Pathways team, many students successfully become ‘first in family’ university students and make successful transitions into employment.

Brandon Park Primary School

Brandon Park Primary School’s Literacy Team led by specialist, Shane Pearson, has been instrumental in transforming teachers and education support staff’s knowledge and practice of teaching children how to read and write.

Brandon Park Primary School is a diverse multicultural community with over half the student population coming from an English as an Additional Language background. Since Shane’s implementation of an inclusive approach to reading in the curriculum, involving explicit vocabulary instruction and the teaching of word origins and meanings, children’s reading and comprehension has shown great improvement.

Brandon Park Primary School, as a Professional Learning Community Link School, has a strong collaborative professional learning culture. Shane has led professional learning in literacy development in children, inspiring profound changes in the way the school teaches reading and writing, makes assessments, and develops students’ comprehension and communication skills.

Dedicated to improving children’s literacy, the Brandon Park Primary School Literacy Team is ensuring all students have equitable access to high quality literacy and reading instruction.

Outstanding Inclusive Education

The Outstanding Inclusive Education award recognises exceptional staff within Victorian government schools who have demonstrated quality teaching and learning, delivered outstanding system improvements that have made a positive impact in their school and community that support achievement, engagement and wellbeing through a positive climate for learning for students with additional needs.

Clifton Springs Primary School

Clifton Springs Primary School is a genuinely student-centred and inclusive school, where the development of student voice and opportunities for student leadership are offered to all students, regardless of ability level or additional need.

The school’s Wellbeing and Inclusion team supports the embedding of inclusive practices in every classroom, ensuring that students’ cultural identity is honoured, and that students’ self-regulation and engagement is creating a positive climate for learning.

Multiple evidence-based approaches are utilised by the team, allowing students to maintain focus and positive interactions, and to develop life and leadership skills. The team has initiated three school programs integral to the learning and wellbeing success of students with additional needs: the Just Right Zone, the Sensory Motor Program, and the Life Skills Program.

The Inclusion and Wellbeing team is pivotal to the success of students with additional needs, supporting students and families through an inclusive and engaging whole-community approach to learning.

Cranbourne West Secondary College

Cranbourne West Secondary College is a newly established Supported Inclusion school, purpose built for inclusive teaching and learning; the first of its kind in the South Eastern Victoria Region.

The school’s Inclusion and Engagement team has been instrumental in creating a positive culture of whole-school language around inclusion, equity and excellence. Implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Supports for a full spectrum of learners, the team is delivering engaging and inclusive programs based on evidence-based practice.

Supporting student abilities and needs that include learning difficulties, cognitive and social-emotional barriers, physical disabilities and giftedness, the Inclusion and Engagement team has created an ecology of supportive relationships in the school and wider community, that are extending staff, parents and carers’ understanding of students’ individual and social learning needs.

The school’s positive reputation in the community is supported by outstanding results in the region, evident in students’ Attitudes to School and staff opinion surveys.

Berwick College

The learning support officers at Berwick College provide support to some of the most vulnerable young people in the college. Not only to those who are funded by the Program for Students with Disabilities (PSD), but to any student experiencing barriers to their education.

Building positive relationships across the college, the learning support officers are valued members of student support groups and work collaboratively to improve outcomes for students. Adopting a Team Around the Learner framework, they work with teachers, parents and external agencies to develop individualised approaches that support each student to experience success.

In 2021, 100% of Year 10 funded students, completed Year 12. “It’s not so much what they have done for me but what they have helped me to do for myself,” says a graduating, PSD funded Year 12 student. “The support I’ve had from the learning support officers at Berwick College has been pivotal to my success at school.”

Outstanding Koorie Education

The Outstanding Koorie Education award recognises exceptional educators in a Victorian government school who demonstrate Aboriginal inclusion across the whole school, respectful and inclusive teaching and learning practices to improve Koorie student achievement, wellbeing and engagement and embed Aboriginal perspectives in the curriculum.

Moolap Primary School

With the support of the Wadawurrung Traditional Owners group, professional learning and key partnerships, Moolap Primary School is deepening the cultural understanding of its staff, students, parents, and wider community.

In committing to an ongoing Reconciliation Action Plan, the school has immersed all students in cultural experiences that build competence and encourage a deeper appreciation of local Koorie culture and care of the land. Professional learning for staff and quality teaching and learning, exemplified in the award-winning Cultural Immersion Project with Deakin University, has informed a curriculum that embeds First Nations’ perspectives into all aspects and areas of the school. Students actively engage in decision-making, initiate projects, and take positive action towards Reconciliation.

Moolap Primary School also shares its learning with other schools to assist their own development of culturally inclusive practices. Through presentations and partnerships, the school demonstrates their commitment to improving outcomes for Koorie students across the sector.

Portland Primary School

Portland Primary School is acknowledged by their Koorie community for their genuine engagement with the local Gunditjmara culture and people.

A strong emphasis on student engagement, wellbeing and connectedness has been guided by the Marrung Aboriginal Educational Plan and supported by classroom teachers at all levels.

Working collaboratively with local community and their Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group Chair and Marrung facilitator, they are successfully integrating local Koorie culture, language and history into the curriculum and culture of the school. Everyday school routines, uniforms, artefacts, and signage, create a learning environment immersed in Dhauwurd-Wurrung language, history and perspectives.

In collaboration with other local primary schools, the initiatives of Portland Primary School are positively impacting student outcomes. In 2021/22, all their Koorie students were at or above their expected level of achievement in literacy, and families share with the school that they feel culturally safe and experience a high level of inclusion.

Reservoir East Primary School

Reservoir East Primary School is committed to facilitating a strong sense of belonging and identity for their First Nations students. The school provides a culturally competent, responsive and inclusive learning space reflective of Aboriginal culture and peoples.

Initiatives to improve the educational outcomes of Koorie students have placed a strong emphasis on First Nations representation in decision-making, guided by the Marrung Education Plan. A strong connection to the Koorie community has been facilitated by the appointment of the school’s own Indigenous workforce, including education support staff, teaching staff and an Indigenous Liaison Officer.

Reservoir East Primary School has become well-known as a culturally safe school for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and their families. This is evident in the increase in the number of First Nations students enrolled over the last five years, increasing from less than 10 students 5 years ago, to the 65 First Nations students currently enrolled today.

Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students - Primary

The Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students award recognises exceptional teams within Victorian government schools that have demonstrated excellence in provision for high-ability students, supporting their learning, engagement and wellbeing and helping them thrive now and into the future.

Doncaster Gardens Primary School

Doncaster Gardens Primary School has a clear vision for all children, where teaching and learning is driven by the core belief that every child can be a student of high ability and that growth at every level is the norm rather than the exception.

As a team, the school is using evidence-based teaching and assessment to drive high growth in all their learners. Through data analysis, collection of evidence both by the student and teachers, and a focus on the next steps in learning, students are challenged to excel beyond their current level of ability.

Community and school networks expose students to multiple learning opportunities that reflect individual student interests while increasing each student’s potential to be a high-ability learner.

Strong NAPLAN results indicate that the school’s vision and practice is succeeding at producing self-regulating learners, working to their highest ability who are well able to advocate for self and for others.

Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students - Secondary

The Outstanding Provision for High-Ability Students award recognises exceptional teams within Victorian government schools that have demonstrated excellence in provision for high-ability students, supporting their learning, engagement and wellbeing and helping them thrive now and into the future.

Camberwell High School

Designed as a learning environment to prepare students as global problem solvers, the Launch program is Camberwell High School’s select entry, two-year program for high-ability students with a passion for Science and Maths.

Currently there are 75 high-ability students participating in the program across Years 9, 10 and 11. The centrepiece of Launch is a new subject called ‘Science as a Human Endeavour’, designed to ensure that students grasp the impact that Science and scientists have upon our world and how it can be used as a positive force in the future.

Launch’s tertiary partners, including Melbourne University, Swinburne and Box Hill Institute and industry partners BHP, Telstra, Trustwave and NBN, work with teachers at the school and workplace to mentor students, helping them to develop their individual projects and discover agency through their learning.

On every measure including engagement, academic results and general capability development, Camberwell’s Launch students are excelling.

Mount Clear College

As the global pandemic began to seriously impact students completing VCE subjects, the Earth Ed team at Mount Clear College applied its technical proficiency and educational knowledge to create an innovative response to a clearly identified student learning need.

In 2021, utilising a range of STEM expert teachers, educational service providers and organisations, the Earth Ed team delivered 52 online VCE masterclasses. Supporting high-ability VCE students to review and develop their subject understanding remotely, the masterclasses provided high-ability students access to expert teachers, regardless of background and socio-economic status, across a range of topical subjects.

The Earth Ed team developed partnerships with the Mathematical Association of Victoria, Federation University and Australian Council for Health, Physical Education and Recreation to offer the masterclasses.

The timely and accessible VCE support provided by the Earth Ed team’s online masterclass series, helped hundreds of high-ability students to achieve excellence during some of the most challenging periods of learning.

Reviewed 20 October 2022


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