MS TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — I rise to congratulate two outstanding educational institutions — Warrnambool Primary School and Maryborough Education Centre — and their exceptional staff, most notably Warrnambool’s Jacqui Gore and Maryborough’s education support staff team. Both schools and Jacqui were recipients of 2016 Victorian Education Excellence Awards. The student bodies in these schools are very different, yet the schools share the same goal — to promote and celebrate inclusion and to enhance the lives of children and families in their wider communities. Jacqui won the Lindsay Thompson Award for leading Warrnambool Primary’s Changing the Tide @ Jamo program, developed in conjunction with local Koori elders over 10 years. This program, for which the school won the Outstanding Koorie Education Award, brings together Indigenous and non-Indigenous students and builds Indigenous awareness, identity and pride. There are positives for all students at the school, which has around 10 per cent Koori students. Jacqui developed two other programs that encourage good global citizenship and foster resilience.
Maryborough is just one of two combined P–12 and special schools in Victoria. The specialist setting teacher assistants won their award for outstanding education support, offering about 20 special needs students the chance to learn in the same school community with 900 mainstream students. Their learning is tailored to their needs, and they can move between the specialist setting and mainstream in a very flexible way that fits their individual education plan. In both schools the value of all people is recognised — Maryborough staff call it ‘an unexpected magic’ — and it is clear that respect for diversity and inclusiveness are their core values. The passion of the teaching staff is an inspiration, and each is an exemplar to other schools.