Sparking a new era in education.
An exciting new era in education has emerged in Sydney’s south-eastern suburb of Matraville. The UNSW Matraville Education Partnership is an ongoing initiative between the UNSW School of Education and Matraville Sports High School (MSHS), and the broader Little Bay Community of Schools (LBCoS).
The UNSW Matraville Education Partnership is a first-of-its-kind school-based university education program. Academics and students from UNSW work with Matraville students, teachers and the wider public to deliver a suite of educational opportunities that support the aspirations of the school and its community.
For more information about the achievements of the partnership between Matraville and UNSW, view our infographic.
Get involved with the program.
Once known primarily for the strength of its sports program, MSHS is now gaining recognition for its success in improving student educational outcomes. New academic opportunities are becoming part of the school culture thanks to the growing alliance between UNSW and MSHS.
The diversity of the Matraville student population is one of its greatest assets and presents a unique opportunity for UNSW teacher education. Matraville is a place UNSW students can learn from young people from Indigenous, non-English speaking and low-socioeconomic backgrounds, and from their teachers, families and communities.
Research supports the view that the best places for children to be educated are those rich in diversity and initiatives that unite communities are the best way to raise educational outcomes. For UNSW and MSHS, the partnership is more than just an opportunity for the mutual development of their respective students; it is about education, connection and community.
The UNSW Matraville Education Partnership involves enriched curriculum activities for students, professional learning and ongoing research with teachers, events for parents and evolving partnerships with the Aboriginal and wider community. We look to increase both novice and experienced teacher capacity, and parent confidence to meet the needs of all students.
The Matraville Education partnership has grown from strength to strength since 2015. Its initial pillars were to extend the student experience, enrich initial teacher education and applied research, enhance teacher professional learning, and engage the school community. After several years of successful track record across these areas, in 2021 the strategic priorities of the partnership have been reenvisaged to more specifically support students from the Matraville community to achieve positive educational outcomes.
Strategic priority 1: Raise the educational motivations, aspirations and achievement of low-SES and Indigenous students in the Matraville area
UNSW is an integrated part of students’ experience at MSHS from the moment they start in Year 7 till they complete their secondary studies. The UNSW Matraville Education Partnership manager works onsite at MSHS, connecting staff and students to people, events and opportunities across UNSW and supporting MSHS students’ educational needs. Examples include afterschool and holiday programs, working with UNSW tutors, extra assistance in classes from UNSW education students, the UNSW Gateway Program assisting Year 12 students in completing their UAC applications, guest speakers from UNSW in HSC classes, and a dedicated scholarship for Matraville graduates who attend UNSW.
Strategic priority 2: Engage UNSW with the Matraville community and build capacity to raise low SES and Indigenous student outcomes
Student success doesn’t occur in a vacuum and working closely with families is key to ensuring our work has lasting impact and aligns with a particular community’s hopes for their children. UNSW works closely with the local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG), MSHS Parent and Citizens’ Committee, and individual families to ensure our activities are helpful, supportive and culturally sensitive. A free parent lecture series has attracted parents from local schools and further afield, and flagship research projects such as the Culture, Community, and Curriculum Project (CCCP) seek to elevate the Aboriginal community’s voice in local schools.
Strategic priority 3: Engage UNSW with the Matraville teaching staff and build capacity to raise low SES and Indigenous student outcomes
Research shows that teacher effectiveness has a profound impact on student success. The partnership offers professional learning opportunities to MSHS and LBCoS teachers to build their capacity across a range of areas, including gifted education, special needs education and meeting the needs of culturally diverse learners. These teachers also open their doors to research undertaken by UNSW academics, helping advance and trial cutting edge educational practice. All staff engage in mentorship of the next generation of teachers through hosting UNSW pre-service teachers as classroom assistants and practicum students, and report that these experiences help them gain new skills and creative ideas, and feelings of self-efficacy.
The UNSW Matraville Education Partnership Advisory Committee comprises UNSW and Department of Education staff members and influential community members who support the aims of the partnership. The committee, which meets once a year and is chaired by Professor Kim Beswick, Head of School of Education, has been instrumental in building the partnership’s profile, raising awareness and seeking opportunities for funding and expansion.