On Tuesday 4th February, 2020, the Victorian Aboriginal Education Association Inc. (VAEAI) in partnership with Victorian Department of Education and Training (DET) held the first Koorie Academy of Excellence Statewide Planning Workshop at Mantra Bell City.
This workshop marks another step in the growth and evolution of the KAE, and further highlights the strength of the ongoing partnership between VAEAI and DET. This partnership has bolstered the success of the Koorie Academy of Excellence (KAE) program and ensured it is included as part of the broader focus on improving Aboriginal education outcomes.
When speaking about the KAE, VAEAI General Manager, Lionel Bamblett, noted that, “the word ‘Excellence’ in the Koorie Academy of Excellence is a deliberate choice to ensure high expectation for our students. We want our students to have strength in their connection to culture and community while supporting them in their academic outcomes, leadership aspirations and career goals.”
The Marrung Aboriginal Education Plan 2016-2026 has incorporated the KAE as part of its key strategies to improve participation and school outcomes for Koorie students.
In 2018, following an Expression of Interest process the KAE was expanded into three other DET regions across the state – South West, North East and South East Victoria Regions.
The three sites selected and approved by the Minister to deliver the KAE program are listed below:
- Wimmera South West – based in Warrnambool (covering Portland, Heywood and Hamilton)
- Ovens Murray – based in Wodonga (Wangaratta)
- Outer Gippsland – based in Bairnsdale (covering Lakes Entrance, Bairnsdale, Sale)
The delivery of the KAE program will be facilitated by KAE Liaison Officers (KAELOs) working out of the different DET regions. The 2020 KAE Statewide Planning Workshop was an opportunity for VAEAI and DET to support the KAELOs to build a strong community of practice within their respective regions, as well as developing collaborative mechanisms between their networks.
The collaborative discussions and workshop activities undertaken by the participants highlighted three main reasons for the success of the KAE program to date:
- Peer interactions
- Parent/Carer/Guardian involvement
- Community support
The workshop facilitators highlighted to the KAELOs and other DET staff the need for the reasons identified above to be implemented in their respective regions, to ensure the continued success of the program.
The KAELOs working out of the assigned DET regions are as follows:
- North Western – Metro: Sharna Coglan and Tyson Austin
- South West Wimmera – Warrnambool: Joey Chatfield and Denise Lovett
- North East Ovens Murray – Wodonga: Nicholas Ingram and Brandon Ryan
- South East Outer Gippsland – Bairnsdale: Lois Whelan (*one position still vacant)
The 2020 KAE Statewide Planning Workshop was attended by the VAEAI General Manager, Programs and Policy Manager, LAECG Members, Marrung Community Engagement Team Leader, KAE Facilitator, Toorong Marnong Project Officer, Wurreker Coordinator, Marrung Facilitators, DET Service Support officers, DET Area Directors and Koorie Outcomes Division staff members.