More than a school

Dusseldorp Forum has announced a commitment of $1.5 million over 10 years to strengthen and replicate the Doveton College model in Victoria, recognising that meaningful change takes time and should be funded accordingly.

“Doveton is focused on building and embedding a new model of education to significantly lift the educational outcomes of children in our most disadvantaged communities. To work at this systemic level requires committed, long-term funding to be in place,” says Teya Dusseldorp, Executive Director at Dusseldorp Forum.

Doveton College, located in the south east of Melbourne, is a government school designed to holistically meet the needs of children from birth to Year 9 and their families. Founded in 2012 through a unique partnership between local, state and federal government and the Colman Foundation, the College has an Early Learning Centre and Prep-Year 9 school at its centre, with wrap-around health, family and children’s services on site.

“All parties agreed that a minimum 10-year philanthropic commitment was needed if one of our aims is to change the way education, health and social systems work together to benefit young people,” said Julius Colman of the Colman Foundation.

The College is focused on creating a significant change environment for children and families by engaging the children, their parents and the entire Doveton neighbourhood.
“And we are seeing some incredible signs”, says Julius Colman. “Some 140 parents in this very disadvantaged neighbourhood are currently studying through our Adult Education program – from basic language and literacy right up to Certificate III. More than 70 parents are volunteering at the school. Many of the parents who have undertaken study are, some for the first time, engaged in sound employment. We have the possibility of bringing about very significant change.”

Dusseldorp Forum is partnering with Doveton College to strengthen their evidence base of early childhood practice, impact and improvement over time.

“Current research suggests that generating significant change at a community level takes time and effort if we are to make a sustainable, positive difference for children and families. As we won’t see effective change for at least five to eight years, this long-term philanthropic commitment demonstrates strong support for Doveton families” says June McLoughlin, Director of Family and Children’s Services at Doveton College.

Philanthropy can provide longer-term funding beyond the political cycle. This is required so that systemic innovation such as the Doveton model has the time to fully develop and deliver population level change across communities. And that is very exciting. says Teya.