River Nile School has been announced as a finalist in the Education category in this year’s
Premier’s Sustainability Awards.
The Awards is one of Victoria’s major sustainability programs, celebrating people working to reduce the impact of climate change. The River Nile School, located in North Melbourne, offers full-time programs delivering the
VCAL curriculum to re-engage refugee and asylum seeker young women (15–22 years of age) who may have experienced disrupted schooling, are newly arrived to Australia, or find a flexible learning environment most suitable to their learning. The school also has a dedicated focus on developing students’ English literacy and oracy, alongside the VCAL curriculum.
The school delivers an integrated program that incorporates literacy, numeracy, personal development skills and work related skills into the delivery of projects. It has been nominated for two projects it delivered in 2018: the Sustainability Expo and Sustainability Market.
In Semester 1, as part of the VCAL Literacy Skills Strand Reading and Writing unit, the students read about sustainability issues, such as the impact of single-use plastic bags and fast fashion. They then wrote an instructional text on how to reduce waste and presented this to their class. This culminated in the Sustainability Expo, in which students educated visitors about the sustainability issue that they had investigated, including ‘How to make your own natural beauty products’, ‘How to compost’ and ‘How to reduce waste by making vegetable stock’. The expo was held at the school and the students ran a communications campaign to invite members of the community and stakeholders to attend.
In Semester 2, as part of their Personal Development Skills Unit, the students developed interview questions for an Australian environmental organisation. The answers they received gave them an insight into various sustainable processes, which they used to inform the products they made and sold at the Sustainability Market. The market was also held at the school and proceeds were donated to CERES. Planning and organising the market formed part of their Work Related Skills unit, and Numeracy was incorporated in creating budgets and timelines.
The school’s two core VCAL teachers, Francesca Pisano and Maggie Bradley, designed and initiated the projects. ‘It is an honour to be nominated as a finalist for the small part our school played in raising awareness on climate change and sustainability,’ said Francesca. Maggie echoed the sentiment, ‘It is wonderful to be recognised for our developing VCAL program at River Nile School.’
The winners of the Premier’s Sustainability Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony on Thursday 10 October 2019 at the Melbourne Forum.