Award-winning material: Melbourne Girls’ College

​​​Melbourne Girls' College's Operational Integrity Team took on the challenging task of changing practices within their school community and won a Victorian Education Excellence Award for their efforts.

Melbourne Girls' College's Operational Integrity team

​The Operational Integrity team won Outstanding Education Support Team in the 2018 Victorian Education Excellence Awards (VEEA).​

Melbourne Girls' College Business Manager Nancy Sandilands says that the team have helped the school achieve better outcomes by taking a collaborative approach to their work and putting students at the centre of their decisions.​

As a result, the school have higher VET enrolments, better relationships with families, and improved wellbeing for students and teachers.

Nancy says the VEEA acknowledged the team's hard work and success.

'It has also provided us with more opportunities to improve attitude and performance within our school community,' Nancy says.

Bringing change

With a focus on student achievement in a student population that Nancy describes as 'diverse leaders who are socially conscious', the team worked with stakeholders within their school community to understand student needs.

Nancy says the Operational Integrity Team involved parents in stakeholder groups to get a greater understanding of the needs, expectations and values of their diverse school community to create a positive climate for learning.

Students also contributed. 'We conducted a student survey to provide feedback on how the school can improve our practice in all educational support areas to reinforce student agency and commitment to student achievement,' Nancy says.

From the feedback, the team created new processes to better work with the school community. The team examined and made improvements to all aspects of the school, including budgets, processes, strategy, values, staff professional development, support for families experiencing financial hardship, and school activities.

They did this by streamlining budget processes, connecting with families at a deeper level and communicating with leaders. One of their actions was carefully planning school activities that would have a financial impact on families.

'We have managed to plan better and allow families time to prepare for upcoming costs, rather than ad-hoc charges throughout the school year,' Nancy says.

Another project was to use written-off library books to resource classrooms. Not only was it a way to reuse the books, but students are now able to access books more easily.

Nancy says that the most powerful impact on their school community was a positive culture shift and a shared understanding and support for school values.  

'Every person understood the importance of what it takes to keep students at the centre of all our decisions,' Nancy says.

The 2019 Victorian Education Excellence Awards

The Victorian Education Excellence Awards recognise outstanding school professionals in Victorian government schools.

They celebrate outstanding principals, teachers, business managers and education support staff who make a positive difference, inspire young minds, drive educational outcomes and deliver innovative learning experiences.

Winners are awarded up to $25,000 in professional learning grants to continue in their endeavour for education excellence.

Celebrate your success – or the success of your colleagues – and nominate for a 2019 Victorian Education Excellence Award.​