2018 Secondary Parent Handbook

2018 – Secondary School Handbook – Parents

Welcome to Collingwood College.

The school community are pleased that you have chosen Collingwood for your child. The school leadership are confident that your child will find it to be a rewarding and enriching experience as they move through the different transition points of secondary school. The school community will endeavour to fully support you as you oversee your child’s journey. Collingwood College looks forward to a very happy association with your family and hope to see you on a regular basis at class meetings, information nights and functions.

This Handbook is designed as a ready reference for the many aspects of school life that are part of your child’s journey. It is one part of the process which the school has designed to make the orientation process as easy as possible.

If you have any comments to make on the usefulness of this Handbook, or if you are interested in joining a school sub-committee, please contact one of the Principals.

Best wishes,

Judith McClellan

Secondary Principal

School Profile

Collingwood College is a government P-12 school located in the inner-city suburb of Collingwood, close to Melbourne’s CBD. We currently have 850 students enrolled, with strong growth predicted for the future.

The College offers a wide range of educational programs in an outstanding environment to meet the individual needs of students. It is a warm and welcoming school with a strong commitment to partnerships with parents and the wider community.

We have developed a structure that best suits the learning needs of students at different ages. The main campus is arranged with two sub-schools: Primary and Secondary. Each sub-school is arranged to create the most appropriate setting and approach for children at the different stages of their development.

At Collingwood College, students, teachers and parents come together to work collaboratively to continue our long tradition of setting high expectations, giving our students the confidence to strive for outstanding achievements in a wide range of fields.  As well as achieving outstanding results in academic disciplines, students also excel in creative fields and in the sporting arena.

Our students are innovators who all have unique talents and strengths.  As innovators they are encouraged to think outside the box and push the boundaries of what is possible.  The school supports them and helps them make the best choices about their learning programs and their individual pathways.

Creativity underpins our school’s curriculum and the learning opportunities our students receive.  At Collingwood College, creative students are not just artistic students, they are also our problems-solvers, our innovators and our change agents.  Our most creative students are also our highest achievers.

Relationships are built through the promotion of mutual responsibility, respect and trust. Students regularly engage with the broader community creating lasting partnerships in curricular and co-curricular programs.  These programs help develop a deeper appreciation of current social and environmental issues and encourage students to take meaningful action.

Our diverse and caring school community provides students with richer learning experiences and allows them to feel safe to be themselves without prejudice.  This diverse and harmonious learning environment helps us to create individuals equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.  We also want to nurture the unique strengths and skills of our students, which is why leadership opportunities are available to students from the beginning to the end of their school journey

Well known as the pioneer school for the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden program, Collingwood College offers both innovative and progressive teaching and learning at primary and secondary level. This includes new design options for senior students, particularly through our partnership with the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE) in the field of Animation.

The Educational Programs consists of: a P-4 Main Program (inspired by a Reggio Emilia approach); a 5-10 Main AusVELS Program; and a specialist P-10 Steiner Program. At the Senior Level we offer both VCE and VCAL. The choice of subjects available is increased by a partnership arrangement with Fitzroy High School.

The school has 60 equivalent full-time staff: 3 Principal class, 60 teachers and 15 Education Support Staff.

General Information


Compass is used as a parent portal system at Collingwood College. It provides a link between the school, class teachers, students and parents. Through the portal you can: check your child’s attendance; view assessment tasks; read teacher feedback; view school reports; book parent-teacher conferences; pay for school fees, photos and excursions; and contact teachers.

You can access Compass from the school’s website with a unique username and password issued when you join the school. If you lose or forget your password you can use the reset facility on the Compass home page or you can contact the school’s general office. The office staff will happily reset your password.  

You MUST keep your details safe. They are different from your child’s login details.

It is important to keep your email address and mobile number up to date to ensure you do not miss any information about your child.

Secondary Communication Tree

It is important that when you have a query you are helped by the person most likely to have the answer you are looking for. We have a communication tree for helping to identify where you should start with your query:

  • Firstly you should talk to your child’s home group or advisory teacher.
  • Secondly you should speak to your child’s Learning Community Leader (LCL).
  • After speaking to your child’s teachers and LCL you may wish to contact a School principal.

Making contact

Making contact with a teacher is easy. We recognise you are busy so we have made Compass our preferred method of contact. It has every teacher’s email address included. Teachers will respond within school hours, they are not expected to make contact after hours or at weekends. As teaching can be quite a busy profession a response can take a few working days. We thank you in advance for being patient. Please use Compass to make the initial contact – if required a time can be then made to meet in person. We recognise that online is not everyone’s preferred way and we welcome contact by telephone as well. Please see key contacts for individual emails.

Key Contacts

College Principal

Dale Perichon

03 9417 6681





Secondary Principal

Judith McClellan

03 9412 7728

Year 7&8 Learning Community Leader

Liria Stratus

03 94127733

Year 9&10 Learning Community Leader

Jen  Campbell

03 94127730

VCAL Coordinator

Jason Drew

03 94127796

International Coordinator

Lucy Wang

03 94127729

General Office

The General Office is open 8.30-4pm Monday to Friday. They are happy to help and assist you with queries relating to your child, including school payments and absences.

The office phone number is (03) 9417 6681 and the school’s email address is collingwood.co@edumail.vic.gov.au. 


If your child is absent, please complete one of the following steps:

  1. Log on to Compass and select ‘+ADD Note/Approval’ and select a suitable reason
  2. Email your child’s home group teacher
  3. Call (03)94176681 and leave a message prior to the start of the school day

NB: All absences should be followed up with a medical note supplied to the home group teacher or advisor.

Change of details

Email and contact numbers can be changed through Compass. Address changes, changes to parental access rights and medical updates must be changed at the General Office. A copy of the changes authorised with a signatory will be stored on your child’s records.  

School Fees

Collingwood College has a Parent Payment Policy that outlines the reasons for charging families for a range of educational items. This Policy is available to view on the College website.

State Government funding provides for basic educational outcomes.  At Collingwood College we believe that the best possible opportunities should be provided to all students. This allows them to be engaged and extended whilst pursuing both a valuable learning experience and offering affordable educational opportunities. Collingwood College Council does recognise that there are costs associated with educating our children, however these costs are kept to a minimum.  

Government funding is not sufficient to provide our children with educational programs of the standard and quality expected by our community today. Collingwood College, like most other Victorian State Schools, invoices families to provide additional student resources.  We ask you to contribute towards the difference between total expenditure and Government funding in order to support your child’s learning experience.

Essential Learning Items

Essential items and activities support students learning the standard curriculum. Students do take possession of items used, such as in technology, art, photocopying, Mathletics programs, and the like.

Optional Items

These are activities in addition to the standard curriculum and are provided on a user-pays basis.  In the secondary school the Instrumental Music Program fits into this category.  If you choose to access these programs, you are required to pay for them.  

Voluntary Items

Parents can make donations to particular items that contribute to the maintenance and running of College facilities such as our Grounds, Library or for general Student Support activities.  These are purely voluntary financial contributions.  

Payment options

Where there is a family with three or more children, the first two children will pay as per their grade invoice, with the third or consecutive children discounted by 25%.

Families who do not have an immediate capacity to pay are encouraged to enter into an alternative and confidential payment arrangement with the school.

Payment may be made online through the Compass portal or BPay (details are on your Statement) or by EFTPOS cash, cheque at the College. If you do use BPAY please include a reference to specify what the payment is for. If you do not specify, the payment will be used for school fees.


All excursions are created and issued via Compass in advance of the excursion date. These can be accessed through the portal. Excursions can be paid for and permission granted using Compass. Alternatively, you can print the excursion form and return it with payment to the General Office prior to the excursion date.

Camps, Excursions, Sports Fund (CESF)

If you have a health care card, your child may be eligible for the CESF fund. This provides $225 for each eligible student, every year. To access this fund please complete a form in Term 1 and return the form to school. The fund is automatically added to your child’s account and can be used for a range of events. It cannot be used for school fees. We also need a valid copy of a health care card. The end date is the last day of term 1 for submitting forms.

Complaints Policy

If you have a concern, please talk to your child’s teacher initially to see if the concern can be resolved. If the concern requires further escalation, your child’s teacher will be able to advise you on what the next stage is to finding a resolution. The school has a complaints policy. The policy can be found on the school website.

Secondary School Arrangement

The Secondary school has been created comprising of two Learning Communities or LCs. They are divided into Year 7, 8 and 9 and 10, 11 and 12. Each Learning Community has a team of teachers (who support the students within the community) and a Learning Community Leader (see Key Contacts).

At each year level there will be year level coordinators.

The teachers in the Learning Community mainly teach at those year levels. The advantage to this arrangement is that the teachers really get to know and understand the needs of students within the Learning Community.

We use an Advisory system in all year levels. Students have an advisor and a home room. Most of their lessons will take place in their home room. This arrangement is planned and creates a calmer school as there is less movement of students. The advisory time is at the start of every day and it aims to create strong relationships between students and their advisor. The focus is on health, wellbeing, school supports and citizenship.


We have a 6 period, two week timetable to allow for the flexibility of our secondary students and the programs we offer. Students are expected to at school at 8.40am and the first class starts at 8.45am. School ends at 3.00pm. We open the Library between 8-8.40am for students to read quietly or study.


We follow the Department of Education and Training (DET) attendance policy of ‘Everyday Counts’. We expect all students that are fit and well to be at school every day. We also expect them to be on time to school. Students that are consistently late will be asked to make up the lost time and will be subject to the school’s disciplinary policy.

If your child is unwell, please follow the steps for contacting the school listed under Absences. Please ensure a valid reason is given and a medical note supplied. At the Senior level ALL absences must have a medical note.

We ask that holidays are kept to the DET defined school holidays and that any holiday outside of this has the permission of the Secondary School Principal.

We thank you in advance for your support with attendance and lateness.


Regular homework is set most nights for students. We expect as a school that teachers set meaningful homework which enhances and extends the learning of students during lessons. When homework is set, we expect students to complete it to the highest standard and to meet their deadlines. In Year 7 we would expect around 30 minutes per night, increasing to two hours per night for a student studying for VCE. Although every attempt is made by teachers to distribute homework evenly across the week, there are times when students may have work due at the same time. Please communicate any concerns with your class teacher.  

Homework Club (HC) runs on Monday to Thursday from 3-5pm in the school library. Teachers and tutors from Melbourne University are available to support. Students are also able to use the computer facilities.  


We do not have a traditional uniform. We do have an expectation that students will attend school in clothing that is ‘workplace’ suitable. This is clothing that would be accepted at any workplace and in line with the school’s sunsmart policy. We do not accept thongs, singlets, mid-riff tops, ‘short’ shorts or any item of clothing that carries offensive logos or words. Items that could hurt another student are also not allowed. In our Steiner classrooms, students are expected to wear clothes that do not have logos.

Sport Uniform – students are expected to wear suitable ‘sport attire’ for all sport and PE classes. Our recommendation is sport shoes, shorts and t-shirt in the summer and sport shoes, tracksuit, t-shirt or hoodie in the winter. We do offer a school sport shirt at a reasonable cost. The material is high quality and will last more than one school year. We do not accept boots, shoes, jeans, jumpers etc. Students that wear the incorrect clothing will be subject to the school’s disciplinary policy.

Curriculum Area Overviews

Year 7

The Main program consists of English, Mathematics, Science, Humanities, a Language Other Than English (LOTE, Mandarin) Art, Technology, Sport, Physical Education, Health and Music. These subjects follow the guidelines and criteria set by VIC Curriculum.

The Steiner program consists of a series of rotating Main Lessons at the start of the school day delivered by the class teacher. The program also includes English, Mathematics, Science, LOTE (Mandarin) Art, Technology, Sport, Physical Education, Health and Music. These subjects follow the guidelines and criteria set by VIC Curriculum.

The students are in their class groups for most lessons and share Technology and Sport as a mixed cohort.

There is also a Promoting Alternative Thinking Strategies (PATHS) program running within Advisory time. PATHS is a program created to help and support students with self-control, emotional understanding, self-esteem, peer relationships and interpersonal problem solving.


There is a City based transition camp in Term 1 for all Year 7 students. This supports the students to connect with their peers across the year group as well as a range of Year 7 teachers. Students also have an opportunity to learn about safe travel and to understand some unfamiliar aspects of the City they live in.

The Main program also has an end of year camp to either Yarra Junction or to Phillip Island. The Steiner program has a Horse Riding camp and a Bike Riding Camp.

Year 8

The curriculum structure is very similar to Year 7 but now also includes a shared elective offering with the Year 9 students. The introduction coincides with need for students to have choice in their curriculum and offers connections to a new set of peers. As the Year 9s have already completed one year of electives, they move into a mentor role for the Year 8s. Electives offered include Creative Writing, Animation, Drama, Further English, Food Technology, Philosophy and Forensic Science. The technology choices also differ from Year 7 and in include Photography and Architecture.  

The Main program also has an end of year camp to either Yarra Junction or to Phillip Island. The Steiner program has a Surf Camp.

Year 9

The Main program includes a new subject called Art, Recreation and Community. In this subject students study a number of artistic pursuits, sports outside of their normal selection and involve themselves in community projects. In the middle of the year there is an exhibition of their Art work. Their LOTE subject also offers two distinct pathways. One is towards a language competency that includes the prospect of six weeks in China. The other is towards a Travel, Tourism and Art exploration of China and Asian cultures.

The Steiner program’s ‘Class Teacher’ period ends at Year 8 and moves into a stage of forming new connections. The students will enjoy a rotation of main lessons with different teachers between Year 9 and 10 teachers, covering English, The Arts, Science and Mathematics.

The Steiner program offers students the chance to enjoy four weeks of outdoor hikes linked to their main lessons. The destinations are Hattah, the Grampians, the Great Ocean Road and the High Country. The students are really pushed to their limits, forging a bond with each other that will carry them beyond Year 9.

In Year 9 the Advisory time is used to help students investigate a range of vocations, set goals and identify skills to develop. Students will create a Managed Individual Plan that will help guide them through their transition to the end of school.

Year 10

At Year 10 the curriculum differs completely and begins to focus on Senior classes by offering tasters and pathways through to VCE and VCAL subjects. The curriculum is elective-based with students choosing a range of subjects that will help identify what they wish to study at the senior level. The core subjects of English, Maths and Main Lesson (for students in the Steiner program) are still present but all other subjects are chosen by students. Some students may also like to enhance their studies by electing to start a VCE subject early. Students are also able to choose a VET subject from the VETiS offerings.

In addition to Main Lesson, the Year 10 Steiner program includes a Farming camp and a Rock climbing/Surveying camp.

The Year 10 Main program camp is to Wollangarra. This is a challenging camp for year 10 students who may not have completed a camp program quite like Wollangara in previous years.


Please see our website for details on our Year 7-10 curriculum programs.

Senior Programs

Students entering Years 11 and 12 are classed as Senior year students. Students choose a VCE (Victorian Certificate of Education) or VCAL (Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning) pathway. We share both of our programs with Fitzroy High School. This offers both schools the opportunity to provide a larger range of subject offerings for students. This enables students to have more choice, fewer clashes and a better individual pathway.  

VCE consists of six subjects in Year 11 and five subjects in Year 12. Students must undertake an English subject. They can include VET subjects in their subject selections. Please see the VCAA website for full details on the VCE program or our website for latest course handbook. https://www.collingwood.vic.edu.au/our-programs/vce/

We are pleased to offer VCAL Foundation, Intermediate and Senior awards as a Senior pathway. VCAL is a hands-on option for Year 11 and 12 students, offering practical work-related experience and the development of literacy and numeracy skills.

Like VCE, students are required to select six subjects in Year 11. These must include English, Mathematics, VET and a VCAL subject called Work Related Skills/Personal Development Skills.

VCAL is an accredited secondary school certificate which is also offered at TAFE (Technical and Further Education) institutes and a number of Learn Local organisations. Students who complete VCAL have several career options, including transferring to VCE, studying at TAFE, doing an apprenticeship or traineeship or starting a job once school has finished.


All Senior Program students are also expected to attend 90% of the time. They are also required to attend a morning Advisory session. These sessions are aimed at keeping students on track with their progression towards success.


Vocational Educational Training or VET is a range of subjects offered through the Inner Melbourne VET Cluster (IMVC). The IMVC offers a range of Vocational subjects through many schools within their area. At Collingwood College we offer Certificate II and III in Screen and Media, with a specialism in Animation. Students from our school and any school in the cluster can apply in Year 10, 11 or 12 to attend our classes. Similarly our students can express an interest in attending a class outside of our school. VET classes usually occur on a Wednesday afternoon. Expressions of interests can be submitted in August for the following year. Attending an information night is essential to be enrolled onto the course. Further details can be found here on the IMVC website. https://imvc.com.au/

Policies and Procedures

Student Engagement Mission Statement

  • Our school endeavours to foster a sense of connectedness and a stimulating, safe, supportive and inclusive environment for all learners.
  • To endeavour to provide all students with the opportunity to develop all of their potential and capabilities.
  • In order to create a stimulating, learning environment for all students, the school will continue to initiate and embed innovative pedagogy and maintain programs that challenge, engage and inspire student learning.
  • The school welcomes and encourages student feedback and involvement in their learning through the Student Voice and Leadership roles.

Student Wellbeing

We are focused on the social, emotional and academic well-being of all students. We believe these are the foundations of keeping students engaged at school. All teachers are expected to attend to students’ needs in this area – this extends above and beyond the classroom. We have a home group program in Years 7-9 and an advisory program in Years 10-12. We have dedicated Learning Community Leaders (LCL) for Early Years 7, 8 and 9 and Years 10, 11 and 12 (Senior Years). Additionally, we have a VCAL coordinator to support the VCAL program.

Regular Learning Community meetings are held to discuss how best to support all students. Sometimes this requires outside agencies like Headspace, Austin CAMHS, Rotary, Yarra Youth Services, Smith Family etc. We partner with over forty external agencies to ensure that students have access to support whenever the need arises. We offer student scholarships to ensure all students have fair and equal access to educational opportunities.

Gareth Rego and Nisa Venerosa are our well-being coordinators. They are both trained social workers and they are available for student appointments Monday to Friday. They can be contacted through Compass or by telephone 03 94127700.  


Students are nominated by their peers to join our Student Representative Council. The SRC takes part in class, year level and whole school events promoting the spirit of community. They are involved in leading many school events.  

Information Technology

All users of Information Technology at Collingwood College are required to sign our ‘Acceptable Use Policy’ (AUP) before access to the school network is granted. A username and password are issued for use on our school network, online services and Compass.  Students are encouraged to use notebooks at school. We have two programs:

School managed notebook program

The first is a program where families purchase a notebook through the school. This provides a service for three school years. You receive a notebook computer, software and an insurance package against accidental damage. All faults, either software or hardware will be fixed by our IT team or our service provider. Full details can be found on the Collingwood College website.

Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) program

The second is a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). You can bring a device to school that is a match for our school device or better. The IT team will connect this device to the school network, provide internet, provide printer access and network access. They will not be able to troubleshoot outside of this service agreement. The device will also not be covered for loss, accidental or deliberate damage and theft. You provide a device at your own risk.


We take Cybersafety seriously which is why we have an AUP for all users. If a user is found to be deliberately harassing another person they will be subject to the school’s disciplinary policy. As a school we are a proud member of the eSmart program offered through The Alannah and Madeline Foundation. We provide positive online education every year to our students and to our parents through a family forum.  


Students will take part in a range of technology subjects. Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is an important part of preparing for these classes. At the start of the year students will complete a short induction in their first Technology class and will sign a copy of the ‘Responsible & Safe Tool Handling Agreement’. This will cover a range of technology areas including wood, metal, food and VETiS. The signed copy will be kept on file at school.

Instrumental Music Program  

All students have access to an Instrumental Music program in addition to their curriculum music lessons. Student can learn a string or non string instrument as an individual or in a group setting. Available music lessons include cello, viola, violin, guitar, keyboard/piano, singing, woodwind, and ukulele. For further details please contact the school office 03 9417 6681.

Collingwood College is on Instagram. Follow us for all the latest photos, news and more!

Compass Parent Portal helps keep families & students involved and informed. Access reports, timetables, and communication tools. Read more…
Copyright © 2019, Collingwood College | Collingwood College is accredited under the Department of Education and Training's CRICOS registration (Department of Education and Training, 00861K). For further information refer to www.study.vic.gov.au. | Privacy Policy