School Clustering: Happy Days in the Western Districts
It’s early days yet but a new rural alliance in Victoria’s western districts is reaping rewards.
Involving three schools — Balmoral K-12, Goroke P-12 and Edenhope College — the partnership has been steadily progressing since its inception at the start of this year.
For the schools’ principals there’s still work to be done determining the nature of a formal partnership.
But for the students — suddenly enjoying the diversity of new faces from neighbouring towns — the attraction of an alliance has already been won.
Balmoral Principal Jo Amott says it’s been a swift process.
“We (the principals) each wanted to create an alliance to increase the educational and relational opportunities for the students at our schools, especially our secondary students,” she says.
“From that, we’ve got students excited to meet each other, eager to work together and enthusiastic for what lies ahead, such as greater competition at sports days.
“And then for the teachers it has presented an opportunity for staff to collaborate, as well as a willingness to share resources across the three schools, which is a huge benefit.”
In recent weeks, the schools’ Student Representative Councils have undertaken a joint leadership program, creating collaborative activities to take back to their respective schools.
They’ve also proudly named their new alliance the Small Schools Society or ‘SSS’.
“Some of the ideas they’ve come up with so far include an activities week at the end of the year, with specific activities to link students through grades three to nine,” Ms Amott says.
“They’re also working on concepts for a whole-of-secondary activity, as well as a senior formal for students in years 10 to 12.”