Community Groups Leading the Way in School Partnerships
16 June 2011 at 12:50 pm
Australian businesses are lagging behind community organisations in forming partnerships with schools, and should be doing more to assist in achieving strong student outcomes, according to a report by NAB Schools First.
School-Community Partnerships in Australian Schools report found that only 20 per cent of school partnerships in Australia are with business – significantly less than the international trend. According to education industry experts, this shows that Australian businesses need to be doing more to invest in the nation’s future workforce.
The report also found that 45 per cent of school-community partnerships are between schools and community groups, in contrast to the international trend where the majority of partnerships are with business
The report, however, also reveals that school-community partnerships are having a significant impact on Australian students and that these positive impacts can be enhanced with further investment.
NAB Schools First is a partnership between NAB, the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA) and Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER). The program rewards school-community partnerships that lead to improved student outcomes. The School-Community Partnerships in Australian Schools report has been compiled following a review by ACER of all 801 primary and secondary schools that applied for a 2009 NAB Schools First Impact Award.
ACER CEO, Professor Geoff Masters, says this is the first analysis of its kind to evaluate such a large number of school-community partnerships.
Professor Masters says the report sheds light on what type of organisations schools are partnering with, why they have established these partnerships and the positive student outcomes they are achieving.
Among the most revealing findings of the School-Community Partnerships in Australian Schools report:
- 98 per cent of the school-community partnerships analysed are benefiting students
- Of the schools that are partnering with business, 53 per cent are with state or national corporates and 47 per cent with local business
- Catholic institutions are more likely to be partnered exclusively with a business (19.6 per cent) versus other sectors (14 per cent)
- The reasons that prompt the establishment of school-community partnerships are: improved student engagement, improved academic outcomes, enhanced social well-being and a broadening of vocational skills and options
- A large majority of partnerships focus on addressing issues associated with ‘at risk’ male students in Year 9 and 10
- Refugee, English as Second Language, Indigenous and/or partnerships concentrated on students at risk of leaving school early are also strongly represented
CEO of the Foundation for Young Australians, Jan Owen says this information provides the strongest evidence yet
that students thrive when schools partner with the community, and furthermore that these partnerships need to be
Owen says what this research shows is that there is a need for industry, business and government to invest more
heavily in school-community partnerships.
She says she would go so far as to suggest that school-community partnerships be enshrined in the National
Curriculum and be invested in by the corporate sector accordingly.
Click here to view the reports:
- First interim report of Schools First: Evaluation of the 2009 awards – http://research.acer.edu.au/policy_analysis_misc/6/
- School-community partnerships in Australian schools – http://www.apo.org.au/research/school-community-partnerships-australian-schools