Dimension: networks with schools, services and agencies

This dimension is part of the Community Engagement in Learning priority.


  • Schools that partner with community-based organisations, government and non-government organisations and their Communities of Practice, create a network of support for student health, wellbeing, engagement, inclusion and student learning. These partnerships mitigate barriers to student learning, such as ill-health and isolation, or limited positive family and peer influences on learning. To be effective, partnerships need to focus on potential impediments to student learning, address risk factors and promote proven protective practices.
  • School based community hubs and/or co-located services facilitate timely access by families and children to the services they need, while developing an improved understanding of the school culture and school connectedness.

Essential Elements

A number of elements are essential to enable effective work within the Framework for Improving Student Outcomes. Eight Essential Elements form the foundation upon which improvement is built. The Essential Element for Networks with schools, services and agencies is:

Essential Element 5: Whole-school approach to health, wellbeing, inclusion and engagement

The Essential Elements are evident at the Evolving stage of each Continuum (below) and are further articulated in the Embedding and Excelling stages in some dimensions.


The Continuum for Networks with schools, services and agencies describes a range of proficiency levels (Emerging, Evolving, Embedding and Excelling) that assists principals and teachers to identify areas of practice that require attention in order to deliver improved student outcomes.

Component: The school establishes partnerships

The school explores opportunities to collaborate with external agencies such as other schools, universities, health service providers and community organisations, to provide additional health and wellbeing support and learning opportunities for students. Consideration is given to using school facilities for the delivery of services.

The school identifies other schools, (both government and non-government), services and agencies on the basis of their capacity to provide health and wellbeing support and intellectual and/or physical resources not available within the school. The school commits resources to develop a network that supports the health, wellbeing, inclusion and engagement of students.

The school collaborates through its Community of Practice and with external partners to create a networked learning community where specific needs can be addressed through the shared facilities, expertise and knowledge of all. The school effectively uses these partnerships to identify and address specific needs, enrich student learning opportunities, address issues of disadvantage and inclusion, facilitate successful transitions, and promote student and staff health, well-being, inclusion and engagement.

The school leads aspects of a well-developed Community of Practice, featuring collective commitment to maximising educational impact. The school functions as a community hub providing access and referral pathways to community supports and providing improved service delivery to students and their families. Co-located services share information that enables them to collectively address complex social barriers to participation in learning and development. Partnerships strategically plan, develop joint actions and collectively monitor progress at regular intervals.

Component: Partnerships support student health and wellbeing

The school works with specialist services involved with individual children who have significant health or learning issues. The school approach to supporting student wellbeing is communicated to parents/carers.

The school has well-established links with community services for promoting positive health and wellbeing in both staff and students, and for supporting the specific health and wellbeing needs of individual students. The school provides opportunities for parents/carers and students to have input into programs that support student health and wellbeing.

The school works proactively to link students into active lifestyle and wellbeing programs in the local community. It collaborates with network partners to create opportunities designed to mitigate disadvantage and ensure inclusion. Parents/carers and students are key partners in decision-making. Staff health and wellbeing is regularly monitored and supported.

The school is an active partner with community organisations that support staff and students' physical and mental health. It continually seeks to develop and diversify the network through partnerships with a range of service providers and agencies that can meet the specific needs of their students. The school partners with specialists in planning and delivering the health curriculum in collaboration with staff, students and parents/carers.

Component: Partnerships support student confidence in learning and achievement

The school takes opportunities to engage with other schools and community organisations that offer support to individual students in their learning.

The school connects students with community organisations and institutions to support individual learning needs and build confidence including access to broader or deeper learning opportunities. The school works with other agencies to create specific strategies for students with additional needs.

The school works with network partners to offer resources and activities that support student academic and social/emotional success for all students. The school collaborates with partners and networks to challenge low expectations and close gaps in achievement for specific groups.

The effective use of school, system and community expertise and resources meets the identified learning and development needs of all students. The school is actively involved in networks and partnerships that support students' development and learning. Students, staff and partners collaborate to design and deliver inclusive programs that build confidence in learning and achievement of all students.

Printable resources

Continuum as an A3 print out (pdf - 147.22kb)

Case studies

To see examples of how schools in Victoria are implementing the FISO dimension: Networks with schools, services and agencies see: Networks with schools, services and agencies case studies.

Evidence base

To view the Evidence Base for the FISO dimension: Networks with schools, services and agencies see:  Evidence- Networks with schools, services and agencies. /span>


Why should my school engage with this dimension?

Research has found that when schools establish strong partnerships and links with parents/carers, other schools, business, industry, and community organisations, student health, wellbeing and learning outcomes are enhanced.

These network partners share responsibility for, and commit to providing the support, expertise and resources required to address specific needs of students.

To what extent is this dimension being implemented in my school?

Consider whether your school has developed links and partnerships with members of the immediate and broader community to address the specific health, wellbeing and learning needs of its students.

What can my school focus on?
  • Strengthening school partnerships with parents/carers.
  • Establishing links with community organisations to provide support and resources to help students improve their confidence, health and learning.
  • Establishing network partnerships with other schools to share resources and expertise.
What does successful implementation look like?
  • Schools collaborate with parents/carers, community organisations and other schools to improve students' engagement and learning.
  • Schools establish links with community services that promote health and wellbeing of students and staff.
  • Schools utilise resources, expertise and support from community members to meet the specific identified health, wellbeing and/or learning needs of individual students to close gaps in achievement, particularly in cohorts of identified students.
  • Data is collected and shared among partners to evaluate the impact of these interventions on improved student learning and behaviour.
What strategies and actions can my school implement?
  • Establish an inclusive and welcoming school culture which embodies the school vision and values, in order to strengthen parent/carer partnerships.
  • Identify individual and particular cohort student health and wellbeing needs.
  • Seek out community organisations and NGOs able to provide health, wellbeing and learning support and expertise.
  • Establish links with network schools to share resources and expertise.

More information

For more information, see: Community Engagement in Learning Learning priority