Victorian teachers, students, principals, schools and community workers are launching a campaign to make inclusive education a top-tier election issue.
The STRONGER SCHOOLS campaign kicks off today (25 May, to mark the end of Education Week) and will run through until November’s Victorian election.
The campaign has the backing of more than 35 organisations including the Victorian Council of Social Service, the Victorian Principals Association, Foster Care Association, Melbourne City Mission, VicSRC and the Youth Affairs Council.
VCOSS CEO Emma King said the campaign’s message was simple.
“Strong schools are inclusive, engaging, supportive and accessible. Strong schools are well-funded and welcoming,” she said.
“This is a campaign about making sure all our children receive a world-class, tailored education—regardless of who they are or what challenges they face.”
“We want every candidate in every electorate to know that strong, inclusive schools matter to voters,” Ms King said.
The STRONGER SCHOOLS campaign will highlight the link between a supportive education and a good life. It has long been known a positive school experience lays the foundations for a life of health and opportunity, while a bad experience at school exacerbates a range of social challenges.
Melbourne City Mission CEO Vicki Sutton said ‘stronger schools’ are about more than bricks and mortar.
“Schools must also be managed with heart, compassion and care—and funded accordingly.”
“And we need well-supported options for when a young person becomes disengaged or needs extra help.”
The STRONGER SCHOOLS campaign will involve public events, private lobbying of politicians and policymakers, online campaigning and knocking on doors.
Campaign organisers are also releasing an Inclusive Education Action Plan for Victoria detailing eight goals for Victoria to deliver stronger schools.
These include measures to:
- MAKE public education affordable for every Victorian family
- INCREASE resources and support to students facing disadvantage and their schools
- BOOST funding and support to students with disability
- GIVE teachers and schools the tools, training and resources they need to help all students
- GIVE students a greater voice in shaping their own education
- MAKE sure every student is healthy, resilient and supported to participate fully in school
- KEEP students and families connected to education
- WELCOME and support children and young people back into education