• Publications 2012 Annual Report
  • Action Area 4 – Partnership


    • Increase the active engagement of parents in their child's learning.

    • Develop Catholic schools as core community centres.

    Read more about the Partnership Strategic Direction. 

    Research demonstrates that effective schools have high levels of parent and community engagement. Such engagement with the school is strongly related to enhanced wellbeing, positive behaviours and improved student learning.

    Catholic school partnerships

    The Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM), through the Wellbeing and Community Partnerships (W&CP) Unit, continues to showcase its commitment to ‘increasing the active engagement of parents in their child’s learning’. This is demonstrated through leadership across a range of initiatives that build links with parents and local communities to promote student wellbeing and improve learning outcomes.

    Family–School Partnerships initiative

    The Family–School Partnerships initiative is delivered under the Smarter Schools National Partnership for Low Socioeconomic Status (SES) School Communities. School data indicates considerable changes in the way schools operate in building and enabling partnerships with parents and families particularly through learning at home initiatives and a strong focus on the language of learning as a key engagement strategy.

    In 2012 the Family–School Partnerships Initiative was implemented across 35 schools which produced the ‘Learning Together’ DVD and resource.

    Schools as Core Community Centres

    To assist schools develop a strategic approach to school improvement reform with an emphasis on wellbeing, learning outcomes and school community partnerships, the W&CP Unit supports the ‘development of Catholic schools as core community centres’. This whole-school approach to wellbeing provides a framework for the engagement of the school and the broader community. It facilitates the development of ongoing links among staff, students and parents, and encourages the forging of closer links between schools and their local communities.

    The Schools as Core Community Centres (SACSC) approach, which has been incorporated into the Family–School Partnerships / Community Partnerships work, focuses on:

    • building partnerships
    • community participation
    • outward-facing schools
    • forming clusters of schools to work together
    • building capacity
    • recognising the role and expertise of other professionals
    • enhancing relationships.

    In 2012 the CEOM, through the W&CP Unit, continued the support and facilitation of six SACSC clusters of schools focusing on school community partnerships.


    Personal Story 

    Kerrie Salvatore 

    Kerry Salvatore
    St Stephen’s School, Reservoir

    The wonderful thing about being a parent of two children at St Stephen’s is the school’s community spirit. The education of the students is a team effort between the teachers and the parents; a shared responsibility.

    The school has a strong focus on parent engagement and promoting the community spirit. To that end, parent involvement is actively encouraged through several initiatives.

    A program where the students grow their own vegetables and then cook meals for the other children has been enthusiastically welcomed. The students have ownership of the garden and take pride in looking after the vegetables and then picking them when they are ripe.

    On alternative Fridays the children, with the aid of a teacher and up to six parents, cook a meal using the vegetables in the kitchen. Duties don’t end there: after they have prepared a meal they serve it to another class. They also have the responsibility of placing flowers on a table, greeting the students at the classroom door and showing them to their seats.

    The students explain to the ‘diners’ what they are about to eat, which promotes public speaking and socialisation. They are learning excellent life skills from a young age.

    The school also runs a ‘Let’s Talk’ session for parents, to give them the opportunity to talk to teachers about any issue. What’s working in the school, what’s not working? And how can we improve things?

    Professional Learning

    Course and Institution PRIMARY SECONDARY CEOM STAFF

    Master of Education Student Wellbeing at the University of Melbourne

    50 48 2
    Master of Education (Wellbeing in Inclusive Schooling) Australian Catholic University 42 4  
    TOTALS  92  52  2 
    Master Class with Maggie Farrar National College for Teaching & Leadership (United Kingdom) 130 70 30
    SS:NP Low SES Schools Anne Henderson National Centre for Family & Community Connections with Schools USA 42 4 30
    TOTALS  172  74  60 

    Other Stakeholders

    In 2012 the W&CP Unit continued its collaborative partnerships with key stakeholders (including parish communities, government departments, non-government agencies and universities) to progress implementation of key initiatives related to building and maintaining partnerships across Catholic school communities for the benefit of children and young people.

    Other Initiatives and Responsibilities 

    • Collaboration with Australian Catholic University (ACU) under National Partnerships on the Partnerships in Learning (PiL) initiative for Pre-Service teachers. This included the development of a new Resource Manual.
    • Implementation of the CEOM Student Wellbeing Survey across all schools in preparation for a mid-point review of the CEOM Student Wellbeing Strategy 2011–2015.
    • Implementation of the Student Wellbeing Leaders Strategy including credentialed learning with university partners, support to SACSC clusters, professional learning and ongoing development of the Student Wellbeing Action Partnership website.
    • Production of key resources for school leaders and teachers, including Family–School Partnerships newsletters.


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