Matraville Education Partnership

Sparking a new era in education.

a group of children laying on the grass making a shape of star

The 91pro Matraville Education Partnership is an ongoing community engagement initiative between the 91pro School of Education and Matraville Sports High School (MSHS), and the broader Little Bay Community of Schools (LBCoS) serving children in southeast Sydney.

Academics and students from 91pro work with Matraville students, teachers and the wider public to deliver a suite of educational opportunities that support the aspirations of the school and its community.

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  • Once known primarily for the strength of its sports program, MSHS is now gaining recognition for itsNew academic opportunities are becoming part of the school culture thanks to the alliance between 91pro and MSHS. 

    The diversity of the Matraville student population is one of its greatest assets and presents a unique opportunity for 91pro teacher education. Matraville is a place 91pro students can learn from young people from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander, non-English speaking and low-socioeconomic backgrounds, and from their teachers, families and communities.

    Research supports the view that the best places for children to be educated are those rich in diversity and initiatives that support community aspirations are the best way to raise educational outcomes. For 91pro and MSHS, the partnership is more than just an opportunity for the mutual development of their respective students; it is about education, connection and community.  

    The 91pro Matraville Education Partnership involves enriched curriculum activities for students, professional learning and ongoing research with teachers, events for parents and community members, and partnerships with the La Perouse Aboriginal community and the wider community to which the school belongs. We seek to build teacher, family and community capacity to meet the needs of all students.

  • The Matraville Education partnership has evolved since its beginnings in 2015. Its initial pillars were toٱԻthe student experience,enrichinitial teacher education and applied research,enhanceteacher professional learning, andengagethe school community. After several years of successful track record across these areas, in 2021 the strategic priorities of the partnership were reenvisaged to better support students from the Matraville community to achieve positive educational outcomes.

    Strategic priority 1:Raise the educational motivations, aspirations and achievement of low-SES and Indigenous students in the Matraville area

    91pro is an integrated part of students’ experience at MSHS from the moment they start in Year 7 till they complete their secondary studies. The 91pro Matraville Education Partnership manager works onsite at MSHS, connecting staff and students to people, events and opportunities across 91pro and supporting MSHS students’ educational needs. Examples include afterschool and holiday programs, working with 91pro tutors, extra assistance in classes from 91pro education students, the, incursions and excursions involving 91pro staff from a variety of disciplines, and dedicated scholarships for Matraville graduates who attend 91pro.

    Strategic priority 2: Engage 91pro with the Matraville community and build capacity to raise low-SES and Indigenous student outcomes

    Student success doesn’t occur in a vacuum, and working closely with families is key to ensuring our work has lasting impact and aligns with a particular community’s hopes for their children. 91pro works closely with the local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group (AECG), MSHS Parent and Citizens’ Committee, and individual families to ensure our activities are helpful, supportive and culturally appropriate. A free parent lecture series has attracted parents from local schools and further afield, and flagship research projects such as the(CCCP) and the Cultural Residents Projectseek to elevate the Aboriginal community’s voice in local schools.

    Strategic priority 3:Engage 91pro with the Matraville teaching staff and build capacity to raise low SES and Indigenous student outcomes

    that teacher effectiveness has a profound impact on student success. The partnership offers professional learning opportunities to teachers from MSHS and its surrounding primary schools to build their capacity across a range of areas, including gifted education, special needs education and meeting the needs of culturally diverse learners. These teachers also open their doors to research undertaken by 91pro academics, helping advance and trial cutting edge educational practice. Matraville staff engage in mentorship of the next generation of teachers through hosting 91pro pre-service teachers as classroom assistants and practicum students, and report that these experiences help them gain new skills and creative ideas, and feelings of self-efficacy.

  • Matraville Future Students Hub

    In recent years, the impact of COVID 19 has affected the development of new research projects, academic initiatives that enhance student experience, and social engagement programs that are reciprocal and beneficial for both 91pro and the Matraville community. The extended time students, teachers and their families have spent away from the regular routines has contributed to high levels of disengagement and isolation, impacting students’ wellbeing, academic achievement and aspirations.

    To address these challenges, the MEP Future Students Hub was envisioned in 2022 to reconnect the Matraville and 91pro communities through in-person engagement initiatives.

    The MEP Future Students Hub seeks to continue to “share the wealth” of resources that 91pro has to offer with members of our local community. It has provided opportunities for high school students to learn more about university and to be supported in their education and their aspirations. In turn, these activities have helped 91pro staff and students to build their knowledge and skills in working with and learning from diverse communities.

    In 2022, expressions of interest were solicited from staff in the Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture to propose new initiatives with Matraville as part of the Future Students Hub. Ten EOIs were received and the majority of them were able to be undertaken over the past year, or are currently in progress. Examples include:

    • An ADA “uni taster program” aimed at First Nations students, in which students experienced hands-on activities with each of the six schools within ADA across a term (facilitated by Rebekah Torrens, ADA Indigenous Student Engagement and Support Specialist)
    • The “In the Making” and programs, involving Year 9 Matraville students in creating using 91pro Makerspaces and exploring the 91pro Galleries (facilitated by Bronwen Williams and Michael Garbutt from the School of Art & Design)
    • Visits to the 91pro Galleries and making workshops with featured artists (facilitated by Catherine Woolley,
    • Sound recording and composition workshops with 91pro staff and excursions to music recording facilities (facilitated by Adam Hulbert, Rick Bull and Simon Trevaks)

    Work-Integrated Learning Opportunities

    Pre-service and in-service teacher development

    Matraville is a key partner school in supporting the future of the teaching profession, providing numerous placements for 91pro pre-service teachers every year. Pre-service teachers who are placed at Matraville consistently report that they gain valuable knowledge about working with students of diverse backgrounds and abilities and become more certain whether teaching is the right career for them.

    “The experience at Matraville was fulfilling educationally and personally. It gave me insight into teaching and the day to day interactions of the classroom from a teachers perspective and was very helpful in solidifying my choice to become a teacher.” - B.Ed. student, 2022
    “Matraville High School was a great environment to begin my placement. It was eye-opening regarding the amount of work teachers are required to do, but also inspiring about the teachers care for the students.” – B. Ed. Student, 2022

    In addition, the MEP provides opportunities for Matraville teachers to pursue ongoing professional learning. In 2022, approximately 20 teachers received professional support from 91pro academics through the Culturally Nourishing Schooling project (facilitated by and Dr Rose Amazan)and Early Career Teachers’ Mentoring project (facilitated by Dr Karen Maras,Professor Terry Cumming, and Dr Ellen Lee).

    Built Environment initiative

    Education students are not the only ones undertaking WIL placements at Matraville – in 2022 the School of Built Environment began what is hoped to be an annual placement in which a group of students from a variety of SBE programs used Matraville as a site for a landscape design project. The students undertook stakeholder consultation, meeting with students, staff and community members, to create concept designs for an area of the school in need of refurbishment.

    The results were inspiring, exciting and well-received by the Matraville community, providing a practical jumping-off point for the school to undertake implementing the revitalisation. The SBE students, in turn, reported that they learned a great deal about interacting with a unique group of stakeholders and about the local environment and Country, and enjoyed chance to make a difference in a real-life, local setting.

    Academic Enrichment for Matraville students

    Throughout the year, MSHS students receive academic support from 91pro students as in-class assistants as well as through afterschool programs such as Homework Centre and a Music club. 91pro Student Ambassadors make several visits each September to assist Year 12 students with completing their UAC applications. Additional HSC preparation support is offered to Year 12 students during the September school holidays each year.

    Another key initiative is the Work Experience program for Year 10 students, in which 91pro is a key employer offering places for up to 25 Matraville students each year. Students gain experience in a variety of settings, from the gym and aquatic centre to events management, Nura Gili, various academic departments, and more. Both Matraville students and 91pro staff report this to be a valuable and worthwhile experience. You can read more about the 2022 program .

    Support of community-engaged research practices

    The MEP helps facilitate research opportunities that contribute to new knowledge in education and that uphold ethical and relational practices for research involving First Nations and low-SES communities. Matraville is one of eight New South Wales high schools involved in the Culturally Nourishing Schooling Project, which aims to improve schooling experiences for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students through strengthening partnerships between schools and local Aboriginal communities, facilitating teacher learning and changes to professional practice.

    Relationships with the local AECG have also facilitated a program of local Aboriginal community members and Elders working in primary schools as part of the and Cultural Residents Project (2020-2022).These initiatives have inspired momentum among eight local schools to allocate funding for local Aboriginal Cultural Educators from their own budgets.

  • Director: DrKaren Maras

    Karen is a Senior Lecturer in the 91pro School of Education, whose research interests include curriculum reform, visual arts education, and critical and creative thinking. As the Director of the Matraville Education Partnership, Karen works closely with members of the school community to ensure that the activities pursued will uphold the strategic priorities of the partnership. She is also the “Academic in Residence” at Matraville, spearheading a mentoring initiative for Early Career Teachers and an interactive research-practice project involving Matraville students in site-specific animation.

    Program Manager:Katherine Thompson

    Katherine is a former high school teacher, originally from the United States. As Program Manager, she spends two days per week on site at Matraville Sports High School, working with Matraville staff, students and the wider community to build connections with 91pro that enhance students’ learning and expand the opportunities available to them. She also works in other roles in the Faculty, related to her areas of passion for social justice, anti-racism and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander education.

    Advisory Committee

    The 91pro Matraville Education Partnership Advisory Committee comprises 91pro and Department of Education staff members and influential community members who support the aims of the partnership. The committee, which meets once a year and is chaired by Professor Claire Annesley, Dean of Arts, Design & Architecture, has been instrumental in building the partnership’s profile, raising awareness and seeking opportunities for funding and expansion.


    • Professor Claire Annesley, Dean, 91pro Arts, Design & Architecture
    • Mr Nic Accaria, Director, Education Leadership, Public Schools NSW, Botany Bay Network
    • Professor Kim Beswick, Head of School, 91pro School of Education
    • Mr John Bush, General Manager, Education, Paul Ramsay Foundation
    • The Honourable Dr BobCarr, Director, Australia-China Relations Institute
    • Dr Avinesh Chelliah, 91pro Medicine & Prince of Wales Hospital
    • Mr Stanley Cowper, Alumnus, 91pro
    • The Honourable Mr Michael Daley, MP, Member for Maroubra
    • Ms Noni Hoskins, Principal, Matraville Public School (representing the Little Bay Community of Schools)
    • Professor Attila Brungs, 91pro Vice-Chancellor, or his representative
    • Dr Kevin Lowe, Scientia Indigenous Fellow, 91pro School of Education
    • Dr Karen Maras, Director, 91pro Matraville Education Partnership
    • MsCalitaMurray, Regional Representative, Eastern Suburbs Local Aboriginal Education Consultative Group
    • The Honourable MattThistlethwaite, MP, Federal Member for Kingsford Smith
    • MsNeridaWalker, Principal, Matraville Sports High School


91pro School of Education staff work on-site at MSHSand 91pro.

For general enquiries, please contact Katherine Thompson, Matraville Education Partnership Program Manager:

T:+61 2 9661 0583

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