The Pavilion School aims to re-engage young people who are currently disengaged from any form of education, by providing students with a relevant and individually tailored education program.

What is The Pavilion School?

The Pavilion School is a proud Victorian Government School that seeks to provide the highest standard of public education for young people aged 13-20 who have been disengaged or excluded from mainstream education.

The Pavilion School offers the Victorian Pathways Certificate (VPC) and VCE-Vocational Major (VCE-VM), youth work support, electives, and extension activities. Support from the wellbeing team includes counselling, mediation, restorative practices and health and wellbeing curriculum.  The Pathways Program offers students a tailored transition into employment and further education.

Why was The Pavilion School established?

The Pavilion School was founded in 2007 by Josie Howie and Brendan Murray who developed the model in response to community pressure and lobbying for more educational options for young people who had disengaged from mainstream education.  The Department of Education, along with a group of dedicated partners worked alongside the founders to establish this alternative program which has grown from a group of 20 students in its first year to having 220 students, across two campuses in Epping and Preston.  The Pavilion School is seen by many as an innovative program, delivering best practice education for our most disengaged and marginalised young people.

What is the aim of The Pavilion School?

The Pavilion School aims to re-engage young people who are currently disengaged from any form of education, by providing students with a relevant and individually tailored education program.  The Pavilion School aims to provide students with a learning environment that is supportive and productive and seeks to create literate, numerate and curious learners.  The Pavilion School staff members achieve this by creating and maintaining an environment that is quiet, calm and collaborative so that the whole young person can develop safely. Teachers and support staff primarily seek to create and maintain a positive environment by following a student-centred approach that is consistent and reliable whilst adhering to the fundamental principles of unconditional positive regard, respect, congruence, sincerity, honesty and empathy.

The Pavilion School aims to provide its students with the opportunity to enhance their education in tandem with their social development, and to negotiate their transition into further education, employment or training at their own pace.  The Pavilion School staff value the importance of setting high academic expectations which are both realistic and challenging in order to offer all students equal education opportunities.

Our Classes

Students are divided into groups of 15 students and each group has one teacher, one youth worker and one teacher assistant allocated to it.  The classes within The Pavilion School are structured so that the absolute focus of the program is on quality teaching and learning.  The structure of each class involves students commencing with a group discussion known as Circle Time in which students negotiate learning outcomes and set personal and academic goals for a particular class. During this time teachers use clear, explicit teaching strategies to prepare students for class and to ensure each student has a thorough understanding of what the focus and goal for class are.  Students are also reminded of the importance of respect and productivity in the classroom and they are asked to make a commitment to these values whilst in class. Homework is optional but many students choose to continue working on projects at home.

Elective Program

Further to this, The Pavilion School conducts weekly electives which rotate each term in order to provide students, who are able and willing, to participate in a more complete timetable with multiple interest areas. The electives each year are jointly decided upon by staff and students. Regular electives include; art, personal training, boxing, music, drug and alcohol education, mental health awareness and anger management.

While the smaller and more intensive hours offered at The Pavilion School would not be normally considered a full time program, The Pavilion School creates a full time timetable for its students by organising external services and educational programs for each student, and importantly negotiated by each student.  The Pavilion School staff and students work together to create a timetable that is suitable to each student’s particular needs. For some students this might mean being linked to another accredited educational program, while for others the aim is to link them to part time work or to welfare and support agencies. It is important to note that some students present at The Pavilion School completely disengaged from education, health and support services. Staff, combined with community partners, will then endeavour to create an individual timetable that caters for each individual’s needs.

Enrolment Process


Student self-refers or is referred by a family member, case worker or significant other by submitting an expression of interest form by fax or online.

Intake Process

Prospective students will meet with the Wellbeing Coordinator to discuss suitability for the programme. Over several meetings information is gathered regarding the students’ needs and an enrolment form is given to student. An Individual Learning Plan that consists of a negotiated curriculum, assessment and reporting process and contractual agreements regarding participation, transition and behaviour is developed.

Engagement Process

Staff work collaboratively with students in the creation of a Student Learning Plan. Staff members support students to reach their personal goals and assist students with transition to desired pathways if necessary. Both the student and staff negotiate the appropriate pace at which to integrate the student into a suitably matched, small learning group that will support their personal, social and academic development.

Pathways Program

The Pavilion Pathways program assists students to transition from school and into further education and training.  All students participate in courses both at school and out in the community that help them to build self-esteem, practice job interview techniques and develop skills that they will need for further study and employment.  Students visit universities to expose them to the world of higher education to help grow high expectations and aspirations for their future.  The Pavilion School has partnerships with the Beacon Foundation, AIME, The Institute for Koorie Education, Melbourne Polytechnic and Local Learning & Employment networks.