The Jordan River Learning Federation
 
The Jordan River Learning Federation is a bold and exciting innovation in education and community learning and development. The Federation originated from a community-based planning group entitled the Bridgewater and Southern Midlands Education Renewal Taskforce (BASMERT). This task force researched worldwide best practice in education, assessed the needs of the community and established a successful Birth to Adult model for education and training.
 
Planning and development for the Federation commenced in 2008. As an established organisation, the Federation has existed for a year. It has involved a major restructure and re-organisation of education and training in the Bridgewater/Gagebrook area, complemented by a significant rebuilding program ($42 million capital investment from State and Federal Governments).
 
It combines best practice in education in three core areas (Birth-4, Years 5-8 and Years 9-12) and also fully integrates them with a Trade Training Centre, an Aboriginal Child and Family Centre and the LINC (formerly the State Library of Tasmania and associated services).

A major building program nears completion and this has involved construction of the new Senior School (Years 9-12), the Bridgewater Regional Trade Training Centre, the Middle School, the Aboriginal Child and Family Centre and the LINC.
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All resources in the Jordan River Learning Federation, both human and physical, are used to provide every learner with optimum support and opportunities for success. Students from all campuses (primary, middle and senior) benefit from the programs and facilities on offer across the Federation. For example, Year 4 students in primary school campuses utilise the Federation Dance Studio or horticulture facilities in the Federation Science Centre. Middle School students use the Trade Training Centre, and Senior School students utilise the LINC and the Trade Training Centre. The coordinated and integrated Federation structure opens up a world of opportunity for all learners in all age groups.

Seven campuses, including Gagebrook Primary Campus, Herdsmans Cove Primary Campus, East Derwent Primary Campus, the JRLF Middle School and Senior School, the Trade Training Centre and the Farm, are resourced as one organisation. Cohesive planning and coordination matches this resourcing model so all learners receive optimum benefit.
 
Purpose and Goals
Significant ongoing improvement in school readiness, literacy, numeracy, school attendance, retention and retainment provide us with vital goals to be reached in the near future. We aim to establish a model for educational and community improvement to guide future planning for educational provision in Australia.
 
Governance
Coordinated by the Federation Lead Principal, governance is built around the Federation Leadership Board. Members of the board include the five campus principals, the Federation Business Manager, the Trade Training Centre coordinator, the Aboriginal Child and Family Centre manager and the manager of LINC Tasmania. Various groups within and beyond the Federation have important advisory roles. These groups include the Federation School Association, campus Parents and Friends groups, campus SRC groups and Federation staff teams. Partnership organisations such as Young People In Action (YPIA)  and the Police and Citizens Youth Club (PCYC) also provide the Federation Governing Board with valued advice. The Federation Leadership Board works holistically and strategically and provides enabling decisions to support key goals in the Federation Improvement Plan.
 
Launching Into Learning
Engaging our young parents and their children with learning is a Federation Priority. The Aboriginal Child and Family Centre provides a focal point to engage and coordinate learning for pre kinder aged children in our community. ‘Launching Into Learning’ Centres in all our primary school campuses provide a foundation to prepare children for successful life at school.
 
Years 11-12 and Adult Learning
Adult Literacy and Adult Learning is another crucial element of the Federation model. The relationship between the Federation Partners - LINC, the Tasmanian Polytechnic, Skills Tasmania and in the 11-12 area of the Senior School Campus - is of pivotal importance for the improvement of retention, retainment of young people in training for employment and levels of employment in the community.
 
Interagency Strategic Group
Supporting a full service and coordinated approach, and the streamlining of resources, an interagency strategic group meets six times a year. This team of people, representing all government agencies working in the area, works strategically to support three common goals: school attendance, retention and employability. A recent focus for the group has been planning training and learning options for young mothers. The long term success of the Federation will be dependent on the effectiveness of this group.
 
The Jordan River Learning Federation in 2012 and Beyond
Our Federation is well and truly underway but it is still developing and by no means has it reached its full potential to achieve outstanding results. We look forward to 2012 with all building programs completed and new systems and educational programs in place. 
 
We who work across our Federation believe we can realise the vision of BASMERT.
 
 
Steve Lewis
Lead Principal
Jordan River Learning Federation
 
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