How Doveton College began
In 2009 the philanthropic organisation The Colman Foundation committed to becoming directly involved in the education of children in an area with a high migrant and refugee population. It approached the Victorian government.
At that time, the government was implementing a statewide reform program to revitalise schooling in disadvantaged areas of Victoria. It planned to build a birth-to-Year 9 community learning centre, which included early childhood services and a school, at Doveton.
Why our College is a pioneer
The state government, the Foundation and the federal government agreed to establish a unique partnership to plan, build and operate the new facility, Doveton College. It is the first government school partnership of its kind in Australia.
The Colman Foundation donated $1.8 million to the construction of the school and Early Learning Centre, on top of the state and federal governments’ $36 million contribution.
The Foundation has also pledged long-term annual funding until at least 2017 for programs and community facilities at the College.
A helping hand
The Colman Foundation’s financial contribution does not replace government funding for the College. It is extra money that gives the College flexibility to strengthen services, develop innovative new programs for children and families and support the community.
The state government signed a Memorandum of Understanding and a Deed of Agreement with the Colman Foundation to secure the funding partnership.
The College’s funding arrangement allows it to partner with other non-profit agencies and philanthropic foundations to provide services to families and the community on-site.
Advantages of our funding structure:
- Acknowledges that meaningful change takes time. The long-term partnership with the Colman Foundation gives the College greater scope for innovation, strategic planning, research and evaluation.
- Involvement of partners from the start of planning leads to better ideas, collaboration and community engagement.
- Creates a school-community relationship that becomes a tool to identify and address local needs of children.
Doing our homework
From the beginning of the Doveton College project, decision-making has been driven by data and an evidence base.
In the initial planning stages, the project team commissioned research to investigate how children, families and agencies experienced service delivery in Doveton and what improvements were needed. It also used data from Victoria’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development on student achievement and student and parent perceptions of educational provision.
Our research revealed that school and community services needed to be woven together to overcome barriers to children’s learning and development. To help children thrive, it was important to help parents at the same time.
This led to the development of Doveton College’s innovative model of service delivery: the integration of family and children’s services with a school. After two years of intensive planning and construction of state-of-the-art facilities, Doveton College opened in 2012.