Specifically it has supported a number of initiatives at both a local and state-wide level including:
- Supporting local rural communities in developing collaborative partnerships between education settings; and between education settings and the broader community in the development and provision of learning from 0-18+ year
- The development of resources and materials that provide support to rural learning communities who would like to develop collaborative approaches to learning. These resources will include support materials, research papers, and best practice examples. This material will be made available through the CEP website in the near future.
- Documenting examples of rural communities who work within a collaborative arrangement, highlighting the key elements that support an effective partnerships and sharing these approaches with other rural communities.
- Providing professional development and leadership development for rural learning communities who would like to develop a collaborative approach to the provision of learning within their community.
Clustering has been a key element of rural education in Victoria for some time, and CEP has been a strong advocate of clustering as a way to provide quality learning opportunities and outcomes for rural communities. Examples such as shared specialists; the delivery of VCE across schools; the provision of cluster professional development; and exploring possible shared governance approaches highlight the ways in which rural learning communities have worked within a cluster arrangement.
In recent discussions with rural communities within Victoria, nationally and internationally, the concept of clustering (or Collaborative Autonomy, or Alliances as refereed to in other education jurisdictions) is being seen as a viable option for enhancing and improving learning opportunities and outcomes especially in the light of plateauing school performance and the growing interest in local autonomy
“We have been able to improve our school performance across a number of indicators by utilising the skills and knowledge of our workforce where they “best fit”.
The challenge for us in moving from a “good performing” school to an exceptional performing one, we will need to build relationships with people and organisations outside our school through alliances to support the ongoing development and learning of our workforce.”
The 2013 Rural Learning Summit also focused on the value that clustering provides rural communities. The outcome of the Summit highlighted the great value that clusters provide in enhancing learning opportunities and outcomes for rural communities. A copy of the 2013 Rural Learning Summit report detailing the outcomes of the Summit is available on the CEP website.
The Country Education Partnership is in the process of developing a range of resources and case studies focused on the development and implementation of effective collaborative approaches to learning that enhance and improve the learning outcomes and opportunities for rural communities. This page will provide a link to a range of resources and activities and CEP is expecting that such information will be available within this page in the very near future.
Currently, CEP are working with four Rural Learning Alliances; supporting them in strengthening approaches to enhance teaching and learning with improved outcomes for students. The focus is on sharing resources, partnerships, education leadership approaches and governance arrangements.
Please click on the following links for information on:
Rural learning communities interested in accessing such support, or wanting to explore the development of a cluster approach within their community, can contact CEP for more information.