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16 Oct 2023

Academy insights: Regional centre impact

Map of Victoria with Academy centre locations

Key insights: 

Access to local professional learning centres in regional Victoria: 

  • strengthens networking in local areas 
  • reduces disruption in schools by allowing educators to set up the school day, attend a program, and return to class for the afternoon 
  • helps the Academy better meet teachers and leaders at their point of need 
  • provides appealing, purpose-built facilities that make educators feel valued 
  • improves equity of access to professional learning for regional teachers and leaders 
  • reduces time and other costs associated with travelling to Melbourne for professional learning. 

The Academy offers professional learning across Victoria, at sites across East and North Melbourne, and at 7 new regional centres. Between Terms 1 and 3, 2023, more than 6,500 teachers and school leaders have attended the Academy’s 7 regional centres. Find out more about our official openings in Geelong, Moe or Mildura.

Map of Victoria with Academy centre locations

The Academy has been collating and analysing stories of impact from educators who have attended professional learning at regional centres, using the ‘Most Significant Change’ approach. The purpose of these stories is to understand the impact of attending professional learning at the Academy’s regional centres on local educators, their schools and students.

The stories provide a way to check whether the Academy is meeting its objectives, one of which is that these centres ‘increase equity of access to professional learning to lift the quality of teaching across Victoria’.

The stories from participants relate what significant changes (both positive and negative) have been seen through their use of the centre.

So far, the analysis of impact stories is very positive, indicating that:

  • local access (to Academy centres) can strengthen networking in an isolated area where travel to Melbourne is difficult

"Meeting facilitators and peers in person has been particularly valuable,
fostering connections among attendees - especially since most participants
are from the local area and strengthening ties between different schools."
(Geelong participant)

  • local access reduces disruption in schools, enabling teachers to set up the school day, attend a short course, and return to teaching in the afternoon and evening

"This will lead to more teachers being more likely to undertake professional
learning as it is easier and less time constraining than travelling to Melbourne."
(Shepparton Participant)

  • there is opportunity for the Academy to know our teachers and meet them at their point of need
  • facilities that are aesthetically appealing and positive, have the effect of people feeling valued

"It's a beautiful space. Very high quality. And having such a professional
space reinforces the department as a professional organisation." 
(Bairnsdale Participant)

  • more accessible spaces, support local learning for teachers who can’t take time out to travel or who would not have come if the session was held in Melbourne.

"Having a local site means that you can send more people [to participate in
PL events], which therefore broadens the impact [in your region]. You can
build connections and local network capacity here in outer Gippsland."
(Bairnsdale Participant)

The evaluation results show regional educators feel valued and important by attending high quality purpose built regional centres. Participants highlighted the investment in regional centres helps to show that:

  • education matters
  • regional schools and educators matter too
  • education is just as important regionally as it is in Melbourne
  • regional schools feel more relevant and connected to each other and the profession as a whole.

The Academy is thrilled with the positive response and impact, in particular that regional centres are raising the profile and status of regional schools, teachers and school leaders in local communities.

We are always looking for ways to improve and we take feedback seriously. The Academy is exploring how to continue to improve delivery in local areas, including alignment of professional learning in local centres to school improvement plans and local area initiatives. Our local centre managers work directly with regional school and system leaders to identify needs and provide activities that improve the experience and impact for local teachers and leaders.

To look for professional learning in your local area, or enquire about using an Academy centre for your next professional learning, visit our Contact and Locations page.

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