About the project
The Victorian Government is transforming local education through the Flemington Education Plan.
Work on the plan began in 2018. Its vision is for the Flemington community to have high-quality, seamless education from birth that fosters positive health and wellbeing and the capacity to succeed.
We work with two primary schools, a special school and secondary school, connecting and supporting them to share their expertise and resources.
The schools involved in the plan are:
In the 2018–19 State Budget, $17.2 million was allocated to schools across the State for planning. This includes funding for the Flemington Education Plan. The Victorian Government has invested over $32 million in this plan for new, and more modern, school buildings.
Engaging with the community
The Victorian Government recognises the importance of rejuvenating and transforming education in Melbourne’s inner north-west and announced the Flemington Education Plan in the 2018–19 State Budget.
The plan aims to ensure that all learners have access to excellent educational opportunities. Schools involved include Flemington Primary School, Debney Meadows Primary School, Mount Alexander College and Ascot Vale Special School.
The Department of Education and Training is working with these local schools, Moonee Valley City Council, other key partners to develop the plan and ensure it meets the diverse needs of the community and the educational requirements of all local students.
While the Flemington Education Plan is being developed, the 4 schools are exploring opportunities to share resources and leverage each other’s strengths. This includes working together to develop a range of shared programs and approaches to improve teaching and learning.
We engaged with students, teachers, parents and community members from Flemington and the surrounding area from 2 May to 14 June 2019. We did this via an online survey, 13 workshops and two pop-up community events.
Through our engagement we asked the community to identify the top things that contribute to a good school, what barriers exist for them in achieving a quality education, and what additional support would help to better provide a quality education.
This report provides a summary of what we heard from the community during this engagement.
- 411 online survey responses
- 30,497 people reached through social media
- 13 workshops with 267 teachers, staff, students and parents
- 3326 individual comments received
- 3800 postcards distributed to 25 locations
- 37.6% of survey respondents clicked through from Facebook
- Survey respondents: 18.25% were parents of preschool-aged children and 30.23% were from a culturally diverse background
- 2 community pop-up sessions at an early learning centre and farmers market
“A good school is one that helps students to reach their full potential, whatever that might be, and to engage with the world and their community. It's not just about ‘excellence’ or ‘results’. It's about respect for others and appreciating the world, and stimulating an interest in it.”
“Good teachers, engaged parents, inviting physical environment, good facilities, processes to solve problems with students/teachers/ behaviour/bullying, safe environment, broader learning opportunities for science, the arts etc”
“A good school is about learning to live a full and interesting, but responsible and contributing, life!”
What makes a good school?
Online survey respondents believe that good schools are safe, inclusive and well equipped, where teachers and students are encouraged to interact via a curriculum that focuses on individual student needs.
The most commonly expressed themes were:
- students need a place where they feel confident, included and protected
- there is an emphasis on excellent teaching
- schools also need good quality facilities for learning to take place
- a school’s values and culture are a key factor
- student-focused learning.
During the workshops, students were asked ‘what makes a good school?’. Students participating in the workshops across all the schools believe good facilities, teaching and school culture were all factors that make a good school.
The most common themes mentioned were:
- facilities that meet a good standard for everyone
- student-centred learning and teaching
- positive and inclusive school culture and values
- good teachers
- up-to-date technology
Number of comments:
- Safe & supportive environment/community involvement: slightly above 351
- Qualified/Committed teachers: slightly below 300
- Pedagogy/curriculum: 150
- Good infrastructure/amenities: slightly below 150
- School culture/value: below 150
- Student-centric learning/teaching: below 150
What factors contribute to a quality education?
For this question participants were asked via digital and paper survey to rank a range of factors, with the results below representing the average ranking for each option across all the participants. To be as inclusive as possible, for this question visual aides were used to assist people who do not speak English as a first language. This enabled participants to answer the questions visually.
Consistent with the previous question, teaching, good facilities, a safe and inclusive environment and student centric learning were all seen as important to good learning outcomes.
That these results are reflective of the question about ‘what makes a good school’ reinforces that respondents feel that a ‘good school’ and ‘quality education’ are very closely related.
Number of comments:
- Quality teaching: slightly above 10
- School that is safe and secure: slightly above 8
- Good quality school facilities: 8
- Individual learning catering for students: 8
- Student voice and leadership: slightly below 8
- Innovative curriculum (specialty courses): a little more below 8.
Top factors when choosing school
When choosing a school at any level, there are common features that parents and students are looking for. As we have heard consistently throughout this consultation, teachers are viewed as very important along with accessibility from home, good facilities and the reputation of the school. As students get older, they value subject choice and specialty subjects more highly.
The list below shows the results of participants ranking their top six factors when choosing a school from a list of options.
- Close to home
- Facilities/physical environment of school
- School reputation
- Subject choice
What do you value about your school?
Both students and parents contributed to this question, with quite different priorities. Facilities and teachers were the most valuable for all respondents, while students value subject choices and their fellow students highly.
The top survey responses were:
- experienced, high quality teachers (both parents and students)
- a sense of community surrounding the school (important for parents)
- choice of subjects (important for students)
- a positive and inclusive school culture (important for parents).
“Great teachers who make an effort to connect with parents, fantastic extra curricular program (particularly sport and music), strong focus on culture and personal resilience.”
“We truly believe in and act on student voice. It’s such an intimate and diverse community, and we are truly challenging what education could be.”
“The hard work of staff and sense of community.”
Barriers to a quality education
“Resourcing of teachers and speciality teachers, bureaucracy about processes at school and generic responses rather than a specific response”
Of the relatively low numbers of respondents answering this question, the vast majority did not believe there were any particular impediments to their child’s education. However, those who did identify areas indicated a lack of quality teachers and inadequate facilities as issues.
In the workshops, the following themes emerged:
- Concern about a perceived lack of engagement between the schools in question and local community and industry
- Funding for a range of facilities, property and staffing
- More assistance for children with additional needs
- Access within the school for allied health services
What are the barriers to quality of education for your child?
Number of responses:
- No barriers identified: above 65
- Lack of quality teaching: 30
- Poor infrastructure amenities: slightly above 20
- Poor funding: slightly above 20
- Lack of local government schools: slightly above 20
- Distruptive student behaviours: slightly below 20
Some respondents indicated that additional help with learning/teaching in the classroom and wellbeing services would help support their child obtain a quality education. A subsequent question asked what wellbeing services would be helpful. Mental health support and counselling were the top answers.
What would support you/your child and family to obtain a quality education?
Number of responses:
- Addition support at school: above 140
- Wellbeing services: slightly below 140
- Links to industry and pathways to jobs: 80
- Teacher’s aide: 60
- Early learning services: 60
- Career services: slightly below 60
The online survey and workshop participants in the consultation reflected the diversity of the Flemington area. There was a mix of parents, teachers and students of different ages and from different schools and parts of the area. Around two thirds of survey participants indicated that they spoke a language other than English at home.
I am a...
Number of responses:
- Parents/guardian or a child/children currently attending: 180
- School students: slightly above 120
- Parent/gardian a preschool child/children: 70
- Teacher: slightly above 20
- Not answered: 10
- Community member: slightly below 10
- Family member: 5
- Service provider: 3
Do you speak a language other than English at home?
- Yes: 3/4
- No: 1/4
- Not answered: Less than 1/4
Where do you live?
Number of responses:
- Flemington: almost 150
- Ascot Vale: almost 80
- Kensington: around 30
- Mooney Ponds: around 30
- North Melbourne around 30
- Travancore: around 30
- Brunswick: around 20
- Footscray: around 15
- Pascoe Vale: around 10
- Yarraville: less than 10
- Preston: less than 10
- Melbourne: less than 10
- Maribyrnong: less than 10
- Carlton: less than 10
- Others: less than 10
- N/A: around 25
What school do you attend?
Number of responses:
- Mount Alexander College: around 130
- Daycare/kinder: around 90
- Flemington Primary School: slightly above 50
- Kensington Primary School: around 30
- Debney Meadows Primary School: around 25
- Ascot Vale Primary School: about 20
- North Melbourne Primary School: about 10
- Mooney Ponds Primary School: less than 10
- Other: nearly 50
At each school, workshops were held with staff (the majority being teaching staff), students (often the leadership) and parents. During the pre-engagement phase, school principals were asked the most appropriate ways to engage their school community and each workshop was tailored to the occasion and participant numbers.
Your feedback will help inform the development of the Flemington Education Plan. While this work progresses, the four schools will continue to work together in and beyond 2020, to help ensure the Flemington Education Plan is developed to meet the future education needs of the local community.
You can access a designed version of this report.
This is one of several education plans we are involved in. To learn more about the new buildings, upgraded facilities or community consultations connected to others across the state, please visit the page.
Reviewed 14 November 2022