Making Active Connections

Student planting treesStudents and staff of Independent Schools Victoria Member Schools contribute to a civil society by giving their time, resources, knowledge and skills to local, national and international projects.

Victorian independent schools have a long tradition of building links with their local communities. They have worked to nurture close relationships which benefit both students and wider community group members. In most schools this commitment to community service is embedded in the school ethos, its values and philosophy.

A growing body of literature is connecting community service with a variety of beneficial effects including higher levels of engagement in school, higher academic success, greater self-esteem and ongoing civic engagement. Research also indicates that whole-school ethos affects student engagement, participation and educational aspirations. Levels of education achieved and service during youth also correlate with increased engagement in community service in adulthood.

Schools with a strong ethos of service to the community have a highly positive impact which should be recognised and celebrated. Their students are more likely to have high self-esteem and social aptitude, and to be more aware of their responsibilities towards others in their community.