Helen Macpherson Smith Trust

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Case Study: Victorian Association of State Secondary Principals

ProjectOurschool - helping state secondary schools build thriving alumni communities to benefit current students




This grant was approved under previous grants policy (2014-2017)
Rural and regional Victoria Enabling students to participate in innovative education programs through VASSP’s regional infrastructure and grassroots presence
Reducing inequality Increasing opportunities for state school students to access work experience, volunteering and mentoring opportunities through alumni networks
Building organisational capacity Empowering schools to develop and embed their own alumni culture into their school community to benefit  past, current and future students

Ourschool alumni service - motivating students to work harder and aim higher

Alumni are inspirational, relatable role models for students because they are proof that ‘people like me’ can succeed. Ourschool is a service that helps state schools reach out and connect with their past students to build valuable alumni networks in order to provide better opportunities for their current students and lead to systemic change.

Image Ourschool in action: Fountain Gate Secondary College alumni and small business owners, Lukas, an electrician, and Dannii, a personal trainer, talk to students about study and career pathways.


  • The Ourschool service helps state schools build their alumni and encourages former students to give back through work experience placements for current students, volunteering and mentoring, and donations. It provides past students with the personal and career benefits of belonging to an alumni community.
  • Alumni networks can broaden students’ opportunities, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, by opening their eyes to career possibilities, lifting aspirations and achievement. Unlike private schools, state schools lack the resources, time and expertise to harness the potential of their alumni.
  • In the first two years, more than 4000 students have taken part in the program’s alumni career pathway sessions, where alumni are invited back to school to speak to students about their study and career pathways since leaving school.
  • More than 70 work experience placements have been offered by alumni.
  • The program has been piloted across 19 regional and metropolitan Victorian schools. An expanded service is planned for 2020 and will be based on a geographic cluster of schools, with plans to offer the service in Geelong, Ballarat and several regions in Melbourne subject to securing further funding.
  • An independent evaluation report shows the program is having a strong, positive impact on students, alumni and teachers involved.
  • Ourschool will operate on a subscription basis, tailored to the needs of each school. It will work with staff and volunteers to build each school’s alumni community and embed a sustainable alumni culture across the school.
  • Ourschool is based on a highly successful alumni program called Future First, which operates in 400 state secondary schools in the UK.



Last updated 28 May 2019


“It’s important for young people to see themselves in role models. For me, coming back to school is about trying to inspire new Australians to see themselves in roles that exist for everybody; to see themselves as part of this country.” Samuel Malual, a Diversity and Inclusion Coordinator at North Melbourne Football Club and a Keysborough College alum who has taken part in the program’s career pathway sessions.