2014 Conference Reports

Tuesday 18 February – Monday 24 February 2014
Together We Can Make a Difference
Social Inclusion – Australian and International Perspectives


Doveton College, as we know it, pretty much began as a concept just four years ago.  Today it is a vibrant learning community serving the families, children and young people of Doveton as well many other members of the broader Doveton community. 

What Doveton College ‘is’ at this stage of its development can at times be hard to define. At the end of last year I asked one of our first graduating students how she would describe Doveton College to an individual unfamiliar with our work. She thought for a while and replied “Doveton College is different. It’s more a community centre than a school. Well; it is a school but it’s also a community centre. That’s really good you know. It’s really cool seeing and working with the little kids, you know the teeny tiny ones!

Doveton College is that and much more. As Director of Planning over the initial stages of the development and build of the College I would say to people that a key raison d’etre of the Doveton Project was that ‘together we can make a difference’ for the children and young people of Doveton and their families.

As Doveton College commenced the third year of operation it was a fitting time to celebrate, to reflect and also take stock of this unique community development project. It was time to pose the question and test to what extent, together, we have already made a difference to the children and families of Doveton. Importantly it was also time to have agreement on what we need to put in place, into the future, to ensure that this is both sustained and enhanced.

To this end we had the opportunity to bring together leading educationalists from Australia, Canada and the UK to join with us in February 2014 in the College’s first Conference – Together We Can Make a Difference: Social Inclusion – Australian and International Perspectives

The Together We Can Make a Difference Conference had as its focus the evaluation of Doveton College’s work to date as well as an exploration of some of the key principles and concepts integral to our work, including social justice, integrated settings and the role of philanthropy in projects such as Doveton College.

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I welcome you to our report of the weeklong program of activities at Doveton College, confident that like the Doveton College community you already share our belief that ‘Together, we can make a difference.’


Executive Principal
Doveton College


The Together We Can Make a Difference: Social Inclusion – Australian and International Perspectives Conference brought together the following international and national key note speakers:

Professor Carl Corter
Professor of Applied Psychology and Human Development, the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study, Toronto, Canada

Carl is interested in improving policy and professional education to support children and families. His research has focused on integrated early childhood services in the community, including childcare and kindergarten as well as on parenting and parental involvement in schools and other services. His current research examines policy and practice directed at the development of self- and social-regulation in early learning settings. Carl leads the Toronto First Duty Research and Development team from the Atkinson Centre.

Professor Janette Pelletier
Professor Developmental in Psychology and Education, Toronto, Canada

Jan carries out research in the area of early child development and education with ongoing projects on full-day kindergarten, early literacy development, family literacy, parent involvement in education and play-based language development in northern Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal communities. Jan teaches courses in the MA in Child Study and Education program at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study and supervises Masters and Ph.D. students.. Jan is also on the Toronto First Duty Research and Development team from the Atkinson Centre.

Professor Jane Bertrand
Program Director, The Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation, Toronto, Canada

Jane is with the Margaret and Wallace McCain Family Foundation and a member of the Directing Committee of the Centre for Excellence for Early Childhood Development. She is a former Professor at the School of Early Childhood at George Brown College, Toronto. Jane is the author of the textbook, Essentials of Early Childhood Education (Canadian Editions). Jane was the principal researcher/writer on the Early Years Study 1, 2 and 3. She is a contributing author of the Science of Early Child Development and was a member of the Toronto First Duty Research and Development team from the Atkinson Centre.

Professor Edward Melhuish
Oxford University, United Kingdom

Ted is also the Professor of Human Development at Birkbeck, University of London and Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Institute of Education, University of London. He is an internationally recognised expert in the study of child development and childcare and has extensive experience with longitudinal studies. For several years Ted has been a Principal Investigator on the Effective Provision of Pre-school Education (EPPE) and Effective Pre-school Provision in Northern Ireland (EPPNI) projects based in England and Northern Ireland, which are following 4,000 children from 3-7 years of age. These studies are investigating the effects of family, community, and pre-school experiences (and their interaction) on child development. In addition, Ted is Executive Director of the National Evaluation of Sure Start and his work undertaken to date has addressed many issues relevant to Sure Start including cognitive, language and behavioural development of young children and the role of family factors, home environment, childcare and pre-school experience upon children’s development.

Associate Professor Frances Press
School of Teacher Education, Charles Sturt University, Bathurst NSW

Frances’ (PhD: Sociology) teaching and research interests cover the areas of early childhood policy, the sociology of early childhood, and the leadership of early childhood programmes. She has worked extensively with academic, government and non-government bodies on issues related to child and family policy and has a particular interest in examining policy and practice from the stance of children’s rights. As well as undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research, Frances has strong links with the early childhood field. She is frequently called upon to provide professional support, particularly to leaders and managers of early childhood programmes.

Dawson Ruhl
CEO Child
Australia, Perth WA

Dawson joined Child Australia in March 2008. With qualifications in Psychology and Social Work, he has worked in the human service field for over 30 years as a family and relationship therapist and more recently in a variety of executive management positions. Prior to joining Child Australia, Dawson was the CEO of a child and family service in Canberra where he established a suite of early childhood programs including an attachment clinic. He was also the Principal Mediator of the Family Court of Australia and the Director of the Family Court of Western Australia’s Counselling Service.

Emma King

Emma is widely respected in the Victorian community sector and in government for her inclusive leadership, collaborative approach and policy advocacy. Emma was previously the Chief Executive Officer of Early LearningAssociation Australia (ELAA), formerly Kindergarten Parents Victoria, whichrepresents 1200 early childhood education and care providers.  The work of VCOSS includes achieving positive and lasting change for vulnerable Victorians, and to strengthen the community sector at a time of major reform and increasing need for services and supports.


Evaluating of Integrated Settings - Lessons Learnt from Canada Professor Carl Corter

Evaluating of Integrated Settings - Lessons Learnt from Canada Professor Jane Bertrand

Evaluating Programs - Listening to the voices of children Professor Carl Corter

Evaluating Programs - Listening to the voices of children Professor Jan Pelletier

Delivering High Quality Services for Children - Lessons learnt from Canada Professor Jane Bertrand, Professor Carl Corter & Professor Jan Pelletier

Social Inclusiion - Australian and Interpersonal Perspectives Professor Edward Melhuish

Social Inclusion – reform in Victoria Emma King CEO VCOSS

Social Policy Development in Australia Associate Professor Frances Press

Applying the Evidence in Western Australia Dawson Ruhl CEO Child Australia