Review of the Victorian College for the Deaf

In June 2018, the Minister for Education called for an independent review into the Victorian College for the Deaf in response to concerns raised by the school community.

The review was overseen by a panel which included representatives from the Deaf and hard of hearing community and was led by an independent chair, Ms Veronica Pardo.

This review has provided a unique opportunity for the school and broader community to come together to develop and deliver a shared vision for the College’s future.

This includes the educators and specialist support staff, parents and carers, extended family members, students, service providers, peak bodies, and the broader community who help support and contribute to lifelong achievements for students who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

Progress updates

January 2020

Dear parents, carers, students, staff and supporters of the Victorian College for the Deaf community,

I would like to thank you once again for your continued interest in and support of the College and our shared vision for its future. I was particularly thrilled to see the success of the Class of 2019 recognised in the Herald Sun for their impressive VCE achievements taking out the highest median study score of 42, and I too would like to congratulate them on their success. 

As many of you are aware, the findings of the Victorian College for the Deaf Review were released on Wednesday 4 September 2019 at the Victorian Deaf Education Institute (VDEI). During the event we committed to providing a quarterly update on the progress to the school and broader community. I am pleased to provide you with the following updates.  

The Acting Principal has been working closely with the VDEI and the school’s Senior Education Improvement Leader to progress a number of actions and priorities identified to improve student outcomes. Most notably:   

Staff development and professional practice 

The VDEI has engaged with experts and researchers to identify teaching strategies for developing phonemic awareness in all students, and has provided resource kits and training opportunities to VCD staff to support this.

VCD staff participated in two two-day workshops organised by the VDEI focusing on literacy development and phonological awareness.

Additional support at school

The new Pathways Coordinator, who commenced at the school in Term 3 2019, has developed a Pathways Plan for the next three years, with support from the Region. This work has also included whole-of-pathways network meetings, meetings with agencies, and supporting students and families to identify pathways options for their futures.  

The school has also held family information sessions with facilitators of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), providing a range of advice including how to get started with the NDIS and how to review a plan.  

The College has also recently appointed a Community Liaison Officer, who will commence in Term 1 2020. This role has been created to: 

  • connect families and the wider community to the school as well as relationships between families to help create social events for students outside of the school
  • facilitate home visits and support families to engage with seeking support through the National Disability Insurance Scheme for their child

Along with many other school staff, the Community Liaison Officer will be a strong Deaf role model for students.  

Annual Implementation Plan 

The school leadership team has been working closely with the school’s Senior Education Improvement Leader to develop the school’s 2020 Annual Implementation Plan. This plan focuses on three goals:

  • Goal 1:  To improve students’ language acquisition and communication skills – a consistent school-wide focus and understanding on teaching and learning that supports the skills students need.
  • Goal 2:  Improve individual students’ learning growth and achievement – the school needs to provide a tailored and targeted approach to teaching and learning for the students at their school. 
  • Goal 3:  To improve and enrich deaf and hard of hearing students’ engagement and wellbeing – the wellbeing of young Deaf and hard of hearing students must be enhanced and supported so they develop their deaf life skills.

Principal recruitment 

I am pleased to advise that the recruitment process for the principal role will commence early in Term 1, with the substantive principal starting on day one of Term 2.  The position was advertised over the Christmas period for four weeks.  

The recruitment panel will consist of the Senior Education Improvement Leader as the Regional representative, School Council President, a parent from school council, a staff representative, and a practising school principal.

Applicants will need to prepare a written application addressing six statewide selection criteria and one local selection criteria developed by school council.  The panel will shortlist on the basis of the written applications, conduct interviews and contact referees in making a decision.

Thank you once again for your interest in and support of the Victorian College for the Deaf. 

Yours sincerely,

John Dainutis
Area Executive Director, Western Melbourne
January 2020

Report and findings

The report submitted by Ms Pardo in April 2019 details the analysis and findings collected through a series of stakeholder meetings, a community workshop and an online survey, and provides a set of recommendations aimed to position the College for success.

The report highlights that more needs to be done to improve student outcomes and their aspirations. This will be a significant focus for the Department and the school leadership team in the coming years.

The Department of Education and Training has accepted all of the report’s recommendations, and has been working to develop an action plan in consultation with the College to act on these recommendations.

Ms Pardo’s report also found that there are a number of broader systemic challenges in the education of Deaf and hard of hearing students including teacher education and pathways which will be the subject of further work by the Department.

Conclusion

There is a ‘universal hope that the College could be supported to grow and thrive as a centre of excellent practice in the education of Deaf children and as a focal point for connection with the Deaf community’.

The Department supports this view and is committed to working as partners with the school and broader community to develop and deliver a shared vision for the College’s future.

For more information on the review email: swvr@edumail.vic.gov.au

Minister’s Foreword and Summary Report
Minister’s Foreword and Summary Reportpdf 1.05mb   Minister’s Foreword and Summary Report docx 71.76kb
Statement from the Department of Education and Training
Statement from the Department of Education and Trainingpdf 36.41kb  Statement from the Department of Education and Trainingdocx 62.07kb

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