MacKillop Education’s Specialist School celebrated the opening of its third campus on Tuesday 15 August, when Dr Michelle Ananda-Rajah MP, Member for Higgins, and Dr Robyn Miller, CEO of MacKillop Family Services, officially opened the school in Caulfield.

Situated on the site of the former St Aloysius Primary School, North Caulfield, the MacKillop Education campus has been receiving students since April 2020; however, as the school opened during the COVID pandemic, the official opening was postponed until this year.

MacKillop Specialist Schools provide a positive learning environment to support students who are disengaged or at risk of disengaging from school. The three campuses at Maidstone, Geelong and Caulfield are suited to students whose learning needs and social or emotional challenges cannot be adequately supported in a mainstream setting.

Anne Henderson, Group Director of the MacKillop Institute and MacKillop Education, said the official opening was a great opportunity for the school community to celebrate the inclusive and welcoming learning environment that is provided at the Caulfield campus.

‘In two and a half years, we’ve grown from a campus of just a few students and are now at capacity with a significant waiting list. We look forward to our new building project being completed in 2024; the new VCE Learning Centre will enable us to increase enrolments, so that we can support even more children and young people in this region of Melbourne.

‘Our Specialist Schools focus on both academic outcomes and social and emotional wellbeing so that students can flourish. We implement MacKillop’s ReLATE modelReframing Learning and Teaching Environment—which provides a whole-of-school approach to cultural change, focussing on safety, strong relationships and wellbeing as the preconditions for learning.’

Ms Henderson added, ‘Our schools provide an environment that empowers students to re-engage in education and supports them academically and socially so they can experience success in learning. Students return to their host school, when possible, or they can continue and complete their senior years of education at MacKillop.’

Leonie, a mother of a student at MacKillop Education Caulfield, shared her appreciation of the school’s model. ‘When I think of MacKillop Education Caulfield, I think of the children experiencing a strong sense of belonging,’ she said.

Our children are welcomed into their learning spaces, at the gate, greeted by big smiles, a joke or two and a warm welcome. They are accepted for who they are and admired for the individual qualities each of them brings to school each day.