For five years Doveton College in Doveton, Victoria has been pioneering an education model with a big difference. The Our Place model makes the school the community hub bringing together high quality early learning, effective schooling, wrap around health and wellbeing services as well as adult education training and employment, all in the one place.
Thirty years ago Doveton was a thriving working class suburb until its factories closed and the jobs disappeared. Doveton is now home to newly arrived refugees and asylum seekers as well as generations of Doveton families who have been doing it tough for a long time.
The Our Place model places the local school at the heart of the community and brings together the best quality resources and opportunities so that these children, adults and families have what they need to thrive. While children are engaged in learning their parents can take up opportunities that lead to jobs and for the community of Doveton, this is significant in an area with 12% unemployment.
Since Doveton College opened in 2013 they’ve seen more students attending school, feeling positive about learning and demonstrating growth against numeracy and literacy benchmarks. Children’s health and wellbeing has improved with a 13% reduction in the number of Doveton prep students being defined as developmentally vulnerable in 2015. More than 100 parents volunteer weekly at the school and more than 530 have participated in courses offered by the school from life skills through to Certificate IV and Diploma level courses. Incredibly almost 90 parents that completed study or were provided with career support from the Our Place team at Doveton have transitioned into sound employment, many for the first time.
Due to such positive achievements the Our Place model is being rolled out in an additional 10 communities across Victoria in partnership with the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
The first new site announced in February was Bridgewood Primary School and Integrated Child and Family Centre. It opened at the beginning of the school year implementing the Our Place model and offering early childhood, school and adult education services, Maternal and Child Health services and parenting support programs in the one location.
The rest of the sites will be announced throughout the year by the Victorian Department of Education and Training.
You can see what an integrated school experience looks like in Doveton College here:
A day in the life of an Our Place school: