Partnerships are central to the work of the School of Education and we place immense value on our collaborative working relationships with a range of key partners, including Australian and international universities, schools, teachers, principals, professional organisations, and the wider community served by our University. We are continually seeking ways to extend our collaborative work with existing partners and to develop mutually beneficial and productive relationships with new partners.

We are establishing strong partnerships with an increasing number of schools across Sydney. We are committed to developing sustained, long-term partnerships where a school’s strategic objectives can be supported through a negotiated program of professional learning, consultancy and/or action research in the School of Education’s areas of expertise, including gifted education, special education, teacher development, educational policy, TELT , TESOL and assessment for learning.

Our partnership schools have innovative programs running that provide a model of excellence for our pre-service teachers. The experience of working in (or even observing) cutting-edge programs is invaluable for creating in students a sense of the potential that can be tapped in education, and of the excitement of educational initiatives. Our students see first hand, the best, most exciting things that are happening in schools.

We are pursuing flexible modes of teacher education in which there is a genuine partnership between the school and the university in developing and delivering the program.

To find out more about being a UNSW Partnership School please contact our staff in the Professional Experience Office.
+61 (2) 9385 9388 |


UNSW Department of Education Partnership

The announcement on 16 October 2015 of formal agreements between the universities that provide the majority of professional experience placements in schools in NSW aims to create higher benchmarks and more consistent quality teaching experiences for both schools and universities in our region. The Minister of Education Adrian Piccoli’s recent announcement regarding this initiative outlines best-practice guidelines and expected performance reporting that will come into play in 2016.

Professional Experience Hub schools have been designated as sites for demonstrating, developing and sharing high quality professional experience in conjunction with a partner university. Beverly Hills Girls High School (BHGHS) has been partnered with the UNSW School of Education as its hub school: it has long been an important partner in teacher education for the School of Education at UNSW, having previously been a Centre of Excellence. This two-year funding agreement will allow BHGHS and UNSW School of Education to create transformative experiences for our teacher education students who undertake professional experience at BHGHS. The goal is then to scale up these transformations to the diverse range of 148 metropolitan and rural partner secondary schools in our professional experience network though our innovative online web platform and planned video cases studies of exemplary mentoring practice.

The specific goals set by the NSW Department of Education for the hub school partnerships are:

  • Fostering strong links between BHGHS and the School of Education staff, including with tertiary supervisors (TS) and supervising teachers (ST), to investigate innovative practices in teacher education student supervision and support.
  • The School of Education working closely with the Hub school to deliver the highest quality of support and supervision to teacher education students (TES) including as required reviewing aspects of the initial teacher education  course provision.
  • The School of Education to provide quality professional learning in aspects of professional experience provision including mentoring and enhancing expertise in the APST at graduate level.
  • SOE working with the Hub school to develop and deliver additional professional learning focussed on supporting professional experience with other schools.
  • Providing opportunities for collaborative school based research in the area of professional experience.

The government’s announcement and the creation of hub schools, building on the expertise of schools such as Beverly Hills, together with the School of Education’s strong community engagement and applied research, our leading profile in Teacher Professional Learning, and our extensive program of public lectures, intensive courses and ongoing teacher accreditation workshops, will help build a new level of collaboration between our University and the teaching profession.

Our twin strategies - UNSW School of Education and Beverly Hills Girls High School:

  • Enhancing practising teacher/supervisor mentoring /professional learning side, developing a tailor-made website as an online platform to communicate with our 150 partner schools, drawing on hub school expertise and personnel as resources and active co-participants in professional learning and applied research (in progress)
  • Enhancing student engagement and the practical experience of student teachers, using our student engagement program in MTeach to focus specifically in 2016-17 on building the ability of student teachers and their mentors to use assessment information to improve learning through the development of diagnostic decision-making and targeted mentoring of under-achieving students, involving school-based workshops for both staff and student teachers and targeted mentoring and evaluation of impact (2016 onwards).

Dr Tony Loughland, Director of the UNSW MENTOR strategic initiative in Teacher Professional Learning at UNSW School of Education, has kicked off the provision of quality professional learning for the partnership through the presentation of a three hour BOSTES accredited workshop to all BHGHS staff in October. The workshop was on Mentoring for Adaptability. Teacher adaptability is a key disposition in the complex working environment of schools and classrooms, and a key selection criteria for future teachers. As a central component of its activity, this partnership plans to trial an adaptability scale that provides the opportunity for teacher adaptability to become part of the professional learning repertoire for teachers across the career span. A symposium we are holding in November will explore some of the latest findings from this and other research programs - and explore next steps for teachers, teacher educators, and policy makers.

The Hub School was launched on Friday, 11 December at Beverly Hills Girls High School. The Hon. Adrian Piccoli, Minister of Education spoke of the importance of ensuring that the best quality teachers graduate and are available to teach our greatest capital, our children. Colin Skene, principal of BHGHS, agreed and expressed how much he valued working with Professor Chris Davison and UNSW in the past and the importance of that relationship moving forward. Approximately 80 UNSW students will be placed in Beverly Hills Girls High School during their degree and will get a hands-on experience of teaching from the get-go. Professor Chris Davison reiterated that the formalisation of the DoE Partnership Schools will ensure the quality of teacher education and she wholeheartedly thanked all those involved, in particular the Minister, Lorraine White, Diane Wasson, Cheryl Best, and Dr Tony Loughland for their sensitivity, attention to detail and focus in putting this initiative together.


Partnership with The Association of Independent Schools (AIS)

We are pleased to announce the recent signing of a three year memorandum of understanding with The AIS to extend and strengthen their partnership in the following activities:

  • Exemplary education for pre-service teachers
  • Teachers’ professional learning
  • Professional learning for leaders and aspiring leaders
  • Collaborative, sustainable research in areas of mutual interest

Over the coming years, we will be collaborating in areas such as enhancing professional experience for pre service teachers, cooperative seminars, symposiums, workshops and conferences for teachers and aspiring leaders and joint hosting of high profile international visitors in key areas of educational innovation.

Our first joint research project for 2012 and 2013 funded through the Smarter Schools National Partnership on Improving Teacher Quality, titled “Improving the Quality of the Teacher Education Practicum Experiences” aims to strengthen the quality of the UNSW practicum experience and enhance school teacher expertise and professional leadership in practicum supervision. Dr. Lynn Sheridan from the School of Education leads this research project and is joined by Dr. Matthew Clarke and Dr. Michael Michell also from the School of Education. The research team are working closely with teachers from five independent schools and Ms. Julie Sheridan, National Partnerships Consultant from The AIS. The project will culminate in a report including mentoring protocols, feedback tools and best practice case studies.

The School of Education has forged strong connections with a number of international partners. Our international engagement includes the provision of English language immersion programs for pre-service and in-service teachers from Hong Kong, Vietnam and Singapore, as well as research and development projects with government departments of education in the Asia-Pacific region.


Hong Kong English Immersion

The School of Education has a strong partnership with the University of Hong Kong hosting preservice teachers each year for an intensive 8-week English immersion program.

The main aim of our program is to enhance Hong Kong students’ English language proficiency and understanding of an education system in an English speaking country through language and cultural immersion. We provide participating students with a variety of intercultural and pedagogical experiences, both in the classroom and in the wider community.

Our program is tailored to meet the needs of the preservice teachers involved each year.

A typical program includes:

  • Homestay and pastoral care
  • School experience
  • Pre and post English language testing
  • English Language Enrichment module
  • Academic modules (e.g. Language and Society, Australian Approaches to English Language Teaching, Assessment for learning, ICT in Education)
  • Education and cultural activities
  • Buddy program
  • Self study


Singapore Immersion

In recent years the School of Education has forged a strong partnership with the Singapore Ministry of Education. In June 2011, a group of 10 leading senior teachers visited to participate in a week long intensive course on Assessment for Learning.

The program was specifically tailored to meet the needs of senior teachers who were then able to share what they had learned with colleagues at home.


Katoke Trust

The Katoke Trust for Overseas Aid is making a difference to the lives of tens of thousands of people, especially children, in a remote part of Tanzania, one of the poorest nations in the world. Real change has taken place through educational and economic improvement and in health and personal growth.

A/Prof Alan Watson from the School of Education is president for the Katoke Trust for Overseas Aid and which has recently helped to open the Katoke Secondary School in April 27, 2009 after three years of planning and one year of building. In 2011 there are 130 students enrolled: in each of Forms 2 and 3, and 60 in Form 1 - 320 in total, over 200 of whom are boarders"..

Stage 1 of building is now complete with seven major structures, including an administration block, classrooms, computer and science laboratories and teacher housing. Stage 2 of the building program begun in 2010 and includes dormitories for boys and girls, a dining/assembly hall, a Guest House and more classrooms.

The school is a Lighthouse School with a program for the improvement of education in surrounding schools. Its motto is “Strive for the goal” and a major purpose is to “educate leaders for tomorrow”.

Students from the School of Education have worked in the school as part of their alternative professional experience program. Click here for a report of recent student participation.


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