MacKillop Specialist School, Whittington

MacKillop Specialist School, Whittington

Principal:  Ms Anne Henderson

E No.  E1397

Year Levels:  2 to 12

Phone Number:  5248 2557

Email Website


MacKillop Family Services, a Catholic community agency formed in 1997, continues the work undertaken by the Sisters of Mercy, the Christian Brothers and the Sisters of St Joseph. The values that underpin our work are: Justice, Hope, Compassion, Collaboration and Respect.

MacKillop exists to support, foster hope and promote justice for children, young people and their families, particularly those who are marginalised and who experience distress, disadvantage and abuse. We follow the Sanctuary Model to ensure that, as an organisation, we are a trauma-informed community, guided by the commitments that promote emotional intelligence, non-violence, democracy, growth and change, social responsibility, social learning and open communication.

In 1997–2013, MacKillop Specialist School provided an outward bound program, in Geelong, for children and young people (Foundation - Year 10), who were disengaged or at risk of disengaging from education in a mainstream setting. MacKillop continues to ensure that the students access learning and teaching in line with the Australian and Victorian Curriculum Frameworks.

In 2016, MacKillop Specialist School gained registration to offer the Victorian Certificate of Applied Learning (VCAL) at the Geelong Campus and, in 2017, opened a primary school Campus, in Maidstone.


MacKillop Specialist School is part of the education services provided by MacKillop Family Services. The School provides an individualised education program for young people, Foundation - VCAL (Geelong), Years 3–6 (Maidstone), who are disengaged or, at risk of disengaging from learning. The young people referred to our settings have not been able to access learning in a mainstream setting and significant adjustments are made in order to respond to the cognitive and/or social and emotional disability which has compromised their learning success. The students are referred to Mackillop Specialist School by primary and secondary schools in the region, Melbourne Archdiocese Catholic Schools (MACS), the Department of Education and Training, the Department of Families, Fairness and Housing, mental health and community service organisations.

The School aims to assist students to overcome barriers to learning and to experience success in learning. Individual Education Plans identify goals that will enable the student to develop knowledge, skills and understanding across a range of subject areas and the general capabilities. We aim to support students to transition back to mainstream education or, for the senior students, to support ongoing engagement in alternative pathways.

The Wellbeing Team provides additional support to the students and families/carers. This wellbeing support might be provided by the school or by other agencies, that we encourage students, families/carers to access. Teaching staff are responsible for the development, implementation and review of Individual Education and Safety Plans, co-ordinating the student’s transition into our specialist setting and supporting the development of plans to identify transition goals or future pathways, for each student.

We are committed to working, in a collaborative manner, as part of an interdisciplinary team, to ensure the complex and diverse needs of our children and young people are catered for effectively. We draw on the skills and expertise of different professionals who are supporting the student, to enhance their academic, emotional and social learning outcomes.


1. MacKillop Education Services offers programs to children and young people from Catholic, state and independent schools who:

• have an identified disability (cognitive, social or emotional)
• are disengaged or who are at risk of disengaging from education
• are identified as having mental health challenges including anxiety and depression
• have a history and/or ongoing experience of trauma that impacts on their learning.

2. Classes have a ratio of 1 key teacher to 8 students. In both the primary and secondary levels, Education Support Staff provide additional support in the classroom or in small groups.

3. Student Support Group Meetings are held each term. Every student has an Individual Education Plan and Safety Plan.

4. Care Team Meetings ensure ongoing collaboration with parents/guardians, professionals and key support personnel to enhance the educational outcomes for students.

5. Alternative programs, including 1:1 support, are available for children and young people who are not able to engage in learning in a classroom environment, due to significant barriers.

6. Host schools who refer a student to MacKillop Specialist School, agree to provide ongoing support to the student by attending :
i) Referral Interviews
ii) Student Support Group Meetings
iii) Transition Meetings and collaborating with MacKillop to develop a transition plan that supports the student's return to their host school.

School location

Address:  25 - 33 Oxford Street
Whittington VIC 3219

Diocese:  Archdiocese of Melbourne

Region:  Western

Parish:  St Mary of the Angels

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