The Matraville Education partnership has grown from strength to strength since 2015. Its initial pillars were to extend the student experience, enrich initial teacher education and applied research, enhance teacher professional learning, and engage the school community. After several years of successful track record across these areas, in 2020 the strategic priorities of the partnership have been reenvisaged to more specifically support students from the Matraville community to achieve positive educational outcomes.
Strategic Priority 1: Raise the educational motivations, aspirations and achievement of low-SES and Indigenous students in the Matraville area
UNSW is an integrated part of students’ experience at MSHS from the moment they start in Year 7 till they complete their secondary studies. The UNSW Matraville Education Partnership manager works on site at MSHS, connecting staff and students to people, events and opportunities across UNSW and supporting MSHS students’ educational needs. Examples include afterschool and holiday programs working with UNSW tutors, extra assistance in classes from UNSW education students, the UNSW Gateway Program assisting Year 12 students in completing their UAC applications, guest speakers from UNSW in HSC classes, and a dedicated scholarship for Matraville graduates who attend UNSW.
Strategic Priority 2: Engage UNSW with the Matraville community and build capacity to raise low SES and Indigenous student outcomes
Student success doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and working closely with families is key to ensuring our work has lasting impact and aligns with a particular community’s hopes for their children. UNSW works closely with the local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG), MSHS Parent and Citizens’ Committee, and individual families to ensure our activities are helpful, supportive, and culturally sensitive. A free parent lecture series has attracted parents from local schools and further afield, and flagship research projects such as the Culture, Community, and Curriculum Project (CCCP) seek to elevate the Aboriginal community’s voice in local schools.
Strategic Priority 3: Engage UNSW with the Matraville teaching staff and build capacity to raise low SES and Indigenous student outcomes
Research shows that teacher effectiveness has a profound impact on student success. The Partnership offers professional learning opportunities to MSHS and LBCoS teachers to build their capacity across a range of areas, including gifted education, special needs education, and meeting the needs of culturally diverse learners. These teachers also open their doors to research undertaken by UNSW academics, helping advance and trial cutting edge educational practice. All staff engage in mentorship of the next generation of teachers through hosting UNSW pre-service teachers as classroom assistants and practicum students, and report that these experiences help them gain new skills and creative ideas, as well as feelings of self-efficacy.