Friday 15 September 2017

New University Campus at Ivanhoe Grammar School

Ivanhoe Grammar School and La Trobe University have entered into an Australian-first partnership to establish a Year 9 campus to provide students with a university-school experience.

The unique educational initiative will give Year 9 students an early taste of university learning that will challenge them, inspire them and prepare them for the next stage of life. Commencing in the 2019 academic year, students from the Ivanhoe and Plenty campuses will relocate to the new Ivanhoe Grammar School University Campus in Macleod; a dedicated campus for Year 9 students on the outskirts of La Trobe University.

Principal Gerard Foley believes our school is leading the way in creating Australia’s first Year 9 campus, providing students with a year-long university-based learning experience. “At Ivanhoe Grammar School, we understand just how important it is to give our Year 9 students the opportunity to grow and become independent learners,” Mr Foley said. “Spending a year at our new University Campus will provide our Year 9s with new and exciting learning opportunities.”

Over the course of the year, they will be exposed to big ideas in a university environment. They will interact with researchers and academics, attend lecture presentations and develop skills that they will be able to apply to real-life situations. Upon arriving at Ivanhoe Grammar School’s University Campus and while on La Trobe grounds, our students will be appropriately supervised by Ivanhoe Grammar School staff at all times.

Providing students with a hybrid university-secondary school experience at such a significant time in their schooling has enormous benefits. It adds to their existing learning, increases their cultural understanding, helps them to become global citizens and prepares them for their senior school years and adult life.

“The experience will enhance and enrich our students’ academic and personal lives.” Mr Foley said.

Careful planning has gone into all aspects of this initiative – parents, students and the local community have been consulted and the new campus has the backing of Darebin City Council. La Trobe Acting Vice Chancellor Professor Tony McGrew said La Trobe was thrilled to be welcoming Ivanhoe Grammar School to La Trobe University.

“The new Ivanhoe Grammar School University Campus will be established in two terraces owned by the University in Macleod. The terraces will be completely renovated into modern open learning spaces, compliant with Heritage Victoria guidelines.” Professor McGrew said.

Students will be based at the terraces, but will also have access to other facilities at La Trobe University – including our scientific laboratories, finance trading room, a moot court and our Wildlife Sanctuary. Furthermore, La Trobe academics will contribute to students’ studies through our very successful joint educational program.

The partnership between Ivanhoe Grammar School and La Trobe is built on a successful Year 9 program that has run for the past 10 years. What began as a once a year university experience was extended to three times a year and will now become a dedicated campus in its own right. Year 9 Learning Facilitator Helen Marotta said “it has been delightful to see the growth in our program over the years to a point where it has a waiting list of academics who want to take part. Our collaboration with La Trobe is a win-win; a chance for academics to influence the younger generation and for our students to see what learning is like beyond the classroom, and how that translates to the real world.”

Student feedback from the current program has been positive. Year 9 students Isabella and Tara both attended La Trobe in June.

“I relished the opportunity to contact various academics regarding their research on our topic and it was great to experience the university-like nature of the program. It made me feel very grown up,” said Isabella.

“I enjoyed attending lectures as we were able to hear the views of current academics on our areas of study. We were also taught how to synthesise research and correctly acknowledge sources,” said Tara.

The School has appointed experienced educational leader Mrs Stella Batsanis to head the campus, leading a team of 20 school staff. Formerly the Head of Middle Years and currently the School’s Wellbeing Director, Mrs Batsanis brings a breadth of knowledge to the role and is excited about leading this unique university campus.

“At our new University Campus, students will have the opportunity to learn through authentic experiential learning, rich, varied and rigorous curriculum, university programs and community and international service activities, all of which give wonderful richness to the Year 9 experience,” said Mrs Batsanis.