Josie Howie

Photo of Josie Howie 2018

Josie Howie is the co-founder and Principal of The Pavilion School, a Victorian state secondary school for students who have disengaged from, or been excluded by, the mainstream school system.

Since the beginning of her career working with children and young people in out-of-home care and youth justice, Josie has been a fierce advocate for high risk youth and their right to access high quality education.

Josie developed the Pavilion model with co-founder Brendan Murray in 2007 with the aim of enrolling students with the most difficult behaviours and backgrounds; those that other schools could not manage. Pavilion students may have experienced bullying, mental illness, family violence, poverty, and involvement in child protection and youth justice. Twenty per cent of students identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander. Josie uses her social work and education expertise to lead a multi- disciplinary team who deliver educational and support programs designed specifically for this student cohort.

Under Josie’s leadership, the Pavilion School has grown from a small program operating from a sporting pavilion, to a two campus school, in Preston and Epping educating 220 high risk youth. With thousands of young people disengaging from school and not completing year 12, Josie and her team have developed a calm and therapeutic environment for Victoria’s most vulnerable students to continue learning. The model has been used to establish similar programs around Victoria.

Josie’s innovative practice provides social and emotional support alongside excellent teaching and learning programs, and has successfully transitioned hundreds of students into employment, TAFE and university.

Josie has championed the notion that our most marginalised children need access to the best teachers and programs the state has to offer. Her leadership in education has influenced mainstream schools to develop more inclusive programs for at risk youth.