Purpose of this policy

To ensure schools maximise education partnership opportunities.


Schools must:

  • only enter into partnerships that are able to demonstrate a contribution to improve learning, development and wellbeing outcomes for children and young people
  • establish partnership relationships with organisations whose values, products, purposes and objectives are consistent with the schools as well as Department and Government’s policies, values, priorities and objectives
  • apply the information privacy principles of the Information Privacy Act 2000 to all partnerships.

Schools must not:

  • engage in partnerships with organisations for the primary purpose of creating profit
  • engage in partnership activity with any organisation requiring the department to directly endorse or promote it’s product and/or services
  • engage in a partnership with political parties, tobacco companies, gaming venues, companies involved in the sale/promotion of alcohol, companies involved in the sale/promotion of firearms and organisations involved in offensive or inappropriate activity
  • disclose to an external organisation any school records containing private information about staff, parents and students, including names or addresses, without the explicit consent of those individuals
  • allow pop ups or links to external websites that have inappropriate content when using information and communication technology. 

Definition - Partnerships

Effective education partnerships are mutually beneficial relationships that extend beyond what schools and organisations can accomplish in isolation and provide opportunities to:

  • achieve improved learning
  • enhance engagement, wellbeing and development
  • contribute to successful transitions.

A partnership is a relationship between a school and an organisation where all partners engage in the relationship to seek a common outcome of maximising learning and development outcomes for children and young people.

A partnership is not:

  • a contract arrangement to purchase services or activities
  • a sponsorship, see: Sponsorships within Related policies below
  • the hiring of school space for the exclusive benefit of an external organisation.

Establishing partnerships

This table describes how to establish effective partnerships.

Stage     Description

Schools should include partnerships as part of the school strategic and annual implementation plan.


Schools should discuss partnership with the school leadership (staff and school council) with the intent to:

  • produce a partnership policy highlighting the:

    • principles, options and methods to guide the school through a partnership

    • authorisation process for entering a partnership

    • process to assess the suitability of potential partners according to whether they:

      • align with the values of the school community

      • comply with school and Department policies

      • have goals that align with the school’s strategic and annual implementation plan

      • are not seeking to make direct profit from the partnership; and will not make the school a place for marketing goods or services

  • establish a mechanism to record partnership activity, if required by the Department for audit purposes.

  • establish leadership support for the partnership

Note: Partnerships must not be entered into on a confidential basis.

Engage and seek support from the school community. Schools should consider:

  • engaging children, young people and their families to help determine the suitability of any partnership by determining whether it complies with the values and goals of the school community

  • discussing partnerships with neighbouring schools or the regional network leader to determine what other partnership activity is occurring in the community, network or region.

4Identify potential partners Schools should consider
  • whether the potential partner meets educational requirements including specific school and Department policies
  • the risks and rewards that may arise from being involved in a partnership
  • whether there are mutual benefits for each partner
  • how the organisation and its activities can address issues identified through data analysis or outlined in the school strategic or annual implementation plan.
5Plan and formalise the partnership Schools should:
  • document the relationship and the agreed partnership goals
  • identify, allocate and document resources to maintain and sustain the partnership
  • document agreed roles of all partners
  • establish a governance structure and work plan to guide and manage the partnership.

These arrangements should be documented in a Terms of Reference or Memorandum of Understanding.

6School should evaluate the partnership:
  • throughout the life of the partnership, not just at its conclusion
  • as part of a school’s review of strategic or annual implementation plans
  • using simple methods such as questionnaires or staff discussion groups.
Evaluation findings should be used to develop further partnership planning.

Phianthropic partnerships

The motivation and potential of philanthropic sectors to partner with government schools is increasing. Factors contributing to this include the enhancement and expansion of philanthropic and corporate responsibility and the increasing recognition of the importance of education in meeting social and economic goals.

Schools interested in establishing a partnership with philanthropic organisations will need to become a Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) see: Tax Compliance.

Other considerations/requirements

Canteen services

Schools can establish relationships with external community organisations to provide canteen services. The school council should develop appropriate guidelines for this service. 

See: Canteen Operations

Co-location and shared use of facilities

Formal written agreements, authorised by the school council, are required for shared facility agreements between schools and the community.

See: Hiring, Licensing and Shared Use of School Facilities

Related policies

Related legislation

  • Information Privacy Act 2000 (Vic)

Department resources

For more information on: