Overcoming barriers to student engagement and learning

Hands on Learning Australia: The Hands On Learning method

Hands On Learning (HOL) is a method used by schools to reengage students who otherwise fall between
the cracks. The HOL method is predicated on the formation of respectful relationships that are both enduring and endemic to the students’ normal environment. To these ends the structure of HOL is intended to establish an environment
within the school itself.
Read more about Hands On Learning (HOL)

Doxa Youth Foundation: Doxa Cadetship Program

Doxa Youth Foundation has been creating education-based opportunities for young people since 1973. Three programs
form Doxa’s core activities: a camps program located at Malmsbury and the Melbourne CBD; a school in Bendigo providing an alternative education program; and the Doxa Cadetship Program. Collectively, these programs reach 5,000 Victorian children and young people (8-24 year olds) each year. This case focuses on the Cadetship Program.
Read more about Doxa Youth Foundation

Tomorrow:Today Foundation – Education Benalla Program

The Education Benalla Program is a large-scale community initiative that works with Benalla and district families, all schools in Benalla, public sector agencies including local government, small and large community groups and businesses. Now in its fifth year of a planned 10-year implementation period, the desired outcome is that by 2030 the education and training completion rates for Benalla 17-24 year olds will equal or exceed the Victorian State average.
Read more about Tomorrow: Today Foundation

The Evolving Learning Program

Evolving The Evolving Learning Program is an experiential and applied learning program that provides young people with personal growth and development opportunities through educational and vocational engagement. It also provides skills development for teachers and leaders. Overall, the Program seeks to prevent early school leaving and/or engage young people into employment and vocational pathways. Read more.

School Passport System

Passport The Community Development Foundation initiated the School Passport System in Western Australia in low socio economic areas where student attendance and parent engagement are serious challenges. The initiative seeks to increase the active participation and engagement of parents in school and increase student attendance. Read more about the Program from 2012 and a follow-up case study in 2013.

Hands on Learning

HandsOn The in-school program, Hands on Learning, was developed for secondary school students most at risk of leaving school early. The program runs in 18 schools across Victoria and Queensland and acts to change the experience of learning at school for students. Students work on creative building projects that benefit the school and local community, in the process they develop confidence, new social networks of support and a sense of personal achievement. Read more about the Program from 2012 and a follow-up case study in 2013.

Beyond the School Gates

Beyond Beyond the School Gates aims to engage, build knowledge, skills and confidence to increase the employability and improve the quality of life for young people with intellectual disability and learning differences (15 years+), and their families. It focuses on out of school hours vocation, recreation, health and family support and aims to break down the barriers that prevent these young people from inclusion in the community. Read more.

Doveton Learning Centre

Doveton College is the first social-government partnership of its type in Victoria, embedding educational and family and children’s services both conceptually and through its service model. Four schools established the Doveton Learning Centre in response to community data that indicated some key barriers to learning in the area. The birth to Year 9 community learning centre has attracted a total of $A32 million, from state, federal and philanthropic funding (from the Colman Foundation). Read more.


The US DonorsChoose.org is a website that helps people give a donation to learners (students) from public schools most in need. Teachers post a brief synopsis of their project and donors can choose which project to fund and how much to give. The general public (local, national or international); philanthropic foundations or trusts; or businesses can donate. DonorsChoose.org uses free school meals as an indicator of need. Read more.

Race to the Top

Inspired by the Obama administration’s Race to the Top initiative in the USA, the UK Secretary of State for Education announced in late 2010 plans to establish an Education Endowment Foundation to help raise standards in challenging schools in England. The Foundation is designed as a vehicle to generate evidence of innovations that support pupils from low socio-economic families to fulfill their aspirations. The Foundation’s target groups are pupils eligible for free school meals in primary and secondary schools. Read more.