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 will help 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.


  • Ourschool is based on a highly successful alumni program called Future First, which operates in 400 state secondary schools in the UK.
  • 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.
  • The Ourschool service will help state schools build their alumni and encourage former students to give back through work experience placements for current students, volunteering and mentoring, and donations. It will provide past students with the personal and career benefits of belonging to an alumni community.
  • 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.
  • The program will be piloted over two years in eight regional and metropolitan Victorian schools including Princes Hill Secondary School, Sunshine College, Camperdown College, Geelong High School, Mount Waverley Secondary College, Warrnambool College, Fountain Gate Secondary College and Keysborough College.




"One of the things that is hard for students in disadvantaged schools is they don't have the networks. I hope that a network opens up where past students can support current students." Principal Tim Blunt, Sunshine College.