Education Partner News – 2021, Term 3

Welcome to Ardoch’s Education Partner newsletter.

Unfortunately, Term 3 has not started the way most of us hoped, with most of our education partners experiencing at least some period of lockdown and remote schooling, with NSW partners particularly impacted.

With most of the Ardoch team having endured the extended lockdown in Melbourne in 2020 we empathise with the challenges that this poses for each of you personally and professionally, and we’re committed to supporting children’s learning by maintaining programs to the extent that we can in these times.

We know that booking excursions is facing disruption at the moment, so we will be sending out a very short survey soon to hear how you would prefer to be planning and what type of activities would work best for you for the remainder of 2021. Meanwhile, our workplace program coordinators continue to liaise with both our workplace partners and you to ensure that letters and blogs can continue to be exchanged between students and their big buddies.Though we are all increasingly adept at moving between onsite and remote learning, we are hopeful that an increase in community vaccination rates will result in less disruption to children’s learning.

In the meantime, check out the opportunity below to utilise and engage with our STEM careers virtual resources to support student learning.

Thank you again for your incredible support,

Kylee Bates
Chief Executive Officer

Key Ardoch Contacts

We’ve had  a few changes in the Ardoch Programs Team over the past year, but with a full complement of staff now firmly in place, it’s timely to update you on the key contacts for your school or early years centre.  Individual staff emails are provided, but you can also contact us by calling 1300 ARDOCH or via [email protected].
View our contact list.

Primary and Secondary School Partners
Early Years Partners

Should you have difficulty reaching your key contact or have any concerns, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Joe Reed, Programs Manager, Program Delivery Team at [email protected]

Welcome to New Education Partners

Thanks to funding secured from the Victorian Department of Education, Credit Suisse and William Buckland Foundation, we are pleased to welcome the following schools and early years partners to the Ardoch network – it’s great to be working with you.

  • Ardmona Primary School
  • Bankstown North Public School
  • Broken Creek Primary School
  • Cabramatta High School
  • Cranbourne West Secondary College
  • Forest Street Primary School
  • Glengala Primary School
  • Guildford Public School
  • Guildford West Public School
  • Holyroyd High School
  • Horsham West and Haven Primary School (Horsham West and Haven Campuses)
  • Hume City Council Pre-schools
    • Bluebird Way Preschool
    • Campbellfield Preschool
    • Tarcoola Preschool
    • Westmere Childrens Centre
  • Hume Valley School
  • Lansvale East Public School
  • MacArthur Street Primary School
  • Mount Pleasant Primary School
  • Northern Bay College Peacock Hubs
  • Punchbowl Boys’ High School
  • Punchbowl Public School
  • Ranfurly Primary School
  • Riverwood Public School

We look forward to working with you and providing increased opportunities for your students.

Virtual delivery opportunity to join your robotics program with learning about careers in STEM

For those Ardoch school partners who have received robotics Tech Boxes from us in the past two years, please get in touch if you would like a series of three STEM-themed career videos aimed at primary age students or secondary aged students (please specify so we can send you the correct links). These videos can be used to build student aspiration and provoke in-class or online discussion about what kind of surprising jobs use STEM skills! Clips are just 7 minutes long, and feature interviews with the following student-friendly representatives:

  1. The person who makes the music playlists in every store you visit
  2. The engineering new graduate who has found themselves working in Madrid, solving complex problems, using 3D printing
  3. The accountant who makes numbers interesting
  4. The person who calculates the sports statistics you see and hear on tv during AFL and cricket
  5. The paramedic who works in ambulances in Melbourne’s West

Get in touch with us at [email protected] to let us know your school name and preferences and school name, and we will send you all you need. If you do not yet have a robotics box but would like to express interest in receiving one we may be able to assist, so, please contact us at this email as well.

Education Partner Capacity Measurement Framework

We would like to thank those partners who participated in one-on-one interviews and focus groups, with ORIMA Research to provide input to the development of a draft survey instrument to assist us to measure the extent to which we build and support the capacity of our education partners to engage with the external community.

We also thank those partners who took the time to piloted the survey and provide feedback on the questions, format and approach. The framework has now been finalised and we will be looking at how we incorporate the survey questions into our end of year survey of school principals and centre directors, mindful of your time and the amount of information we ask of you.

We look forward to sharing aggregated results of the survey with you early in 2022.

Education Volunteer Program Update

A core program of Ardoch is our Education Volunteer Program in which we recruit, train, place and manage volunteers in partner schools and early years services, with volunteers committing to attend for two hours a week during term time to assist with children’s classroom learning, and in the case of early years services, deliver our Early Language and Literacy (ELL) or Curious Young Minds (STEM) Programs.

As you might expect, this program is heavily impacted when schools are in remote learning or restrictions are in place for non-essential school personnel, however Ardoch remains committed to recruiting and preparing volunteers so that they are ‘ready to go’ and offers increased numbers of professional development sessions to continue to engage existing volunteers while they are unable to attend their volunteering onsite.

Currently we offer this program to partner schools and early years services in greater metropolitan Melbourne (including Geelong) and to partner primary schools in Sydney.  If you would like to know more about the role of an Ardoch volunteer and how they can support you by hearing from some of our terrific volunteers, I encourage you to take a look at a recent PD session delivered for volunteers  called “Journey of an Ardoch Volunteer” – PD Session – The Journey of an Ardoch Volunteer – YouTube

If you would like to know more about the program, or express interest in having more Ardoch volunteers please contact our Program Coordinators, Maiaan Galant or Sarah Segal at [email protected]

Education Volunteer Program Evaluations

Understanding the impact of our programs is critical for Ardoch. It enables us to refine our program offering to better meet the needs of your students and educators and it plays a critical role in influencing funders to provide us with the resources that we need to deliver.

Ardoch currently has two evaluations underway to measure the impact of our Education Volunteers Program and in both instances your participation and support will be critical to our data collection phase..

Early Years Programs Evaluation.

We have engaged Clear Horizon to undertake an external evaluation of the Ardoch Early Language & Literacy and Curious Young Minds Early Years Programs. This evaluation will help Ardoch understand the impact of these programs from the perspective of early years centre directors, educators and Ardoch volunteers, as well as providing us recommendations to improve the programs for 2022 onwards. The evaluation will run throughout 2021, with interviews and focus groups around September/October and a final report to be prepared before the end of the year.

Education Volunteers (primary) Evaluation

Ardoch is working with Urbis to implement a two-year evaluation of the Education Volunteers program in primary school settings across Victoria and NSW. The evaluation will involve collecting data through surveys, interviews and focus groups with Ardoch volunteers, teachers, and principals. An interim report will be written in late 2021 and a final evaluation report at the end of 2022. This will enable Ardoch to implement recommendations from the interim report and evaluate changes throughout 2022. Work is currently focused on working through the ethics process across the different school jurisdictions.

Schools Plus grant applications open until 20 August

Schools seeking funding for projects that improve student outcomes can now apply for a Smart Giving grant through Schools Plus.

$20,000 to $60,000 in funding is available for individual and cluster schools. Until 20 August, schools can submit a simple application to receive funding for their strategic project.

Schools Plus is a national not-for-profit that helps children facing disadvantage succeed at school. Since 2015, Schools Plus has funded over ­­­1000 school projects, benefiting more than 300,000 students.

Schools eligible for support through Schools Plus must have a value below 1000 on the Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA).