Safari by the River

Echuca - May 2 and 3, 2019


Subject to change without notice

Join us in Echuca for a memorable Safari by the River! Steeped in history this unique overnight PD experience offers an insight in VCAL in Special Schools from a range of outstanding providers. With 3 presentations from regional specialist schools on Thursday, a visit to the Discovery Centre, a 2.5 hr river cruise aboard the PS Canberra, fireside chats and excursions to 2 of Echuca’s Special School’s outstanding projects, this Safari will leave you with plenty of new ideas, answers to your questions and contacts with other VCAL educators that will take your VCAL journey to the next level.

Limited places available, so book now!

Registration fee includes morning tea and lunch on both days, dinner on Thursday evening on the PS Canberra.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

9.30 am Registration opens at Back9 Golf Course.

Participants self-drive/carpool to The Back9 – ample car parking available.

Details and map

10.00 am Welcome from VALA

10.30 am Morning tea

11.00 am Echuca Special School VCAL program

 Presentation at the Golf Club

Winner of the 2018 Principal’s Association of Special Schools (PASS)  Most Outstanding Team Award. School website

The Echuca VCAL team created inclusive and innovative programs designed around student voice. Students were surveyed on their interests, what they are good at and what they want to learn. Staff and students were matched with a shared passion. Programs include off and on school campus, incorporating the local community, families and most importantly the student. All aspects of the FISO model were evident in their teaching. The change was evidenced by best practice planning, student selected courses and applied learning. Staff dedication, commitment, trust, trial, flexibility and error have led to a successful interest-based learning model.

12.00 noon Foundation VCAL @ Kalianna Specialist School

Presentation at the Golf Club

School website

In this presentation Christy and Seamus will cover the Kalianna Downtown VCAL campus location and facilities, VCAL programs (structure, delivery and outcome tracking) along with how they achieve VET in order for students to have every opportunity to graduate year 12 with a Foundation level VCAL certificate. They  facilitate student led programs through applied learning, including practical living skills and work experience for all students. Kalianna’s VCAL program has a very strong connection with their community and have different groups of students involved in various programs in the community each day.

Christy Pryor is a primary trained teacher with special education qualifications and has been teaching senior classes at Kalianna since 2014 after teaching many CRT classes during 2013. Christy started joined Kalianna’s dedicated VCAL team last year and really enjoys the flexibility in teaching it offers as well as being part of the senior students journey into adulthood.

Seamus Curtain-Magee graduated as a Secondary Drama/English/History teacher in 2011. He spend several years working in different areas at Maryborough Education Centre before starting at Kalianna. He has taught VCAL in mainstream and special education settings, and has special interest in the performing arts and STEM learning. He has been part of the VCAL teaching team at Kalianna since 2018.

1.00 pm – 1.45 pm BBQ Lunch provided by Echuca SS students.

1.45 pm Wangaratta Special School – VCAL Industries

 Presentation at the Golf Club

School website

VCAL Industries was an Integrated Project run at Wangaratta District Specialist School in 2018. It covered outcomes in each of the VCAL strands, and provided students with the opportunity to learn through hands on, authentic experiences.

VCAL Industries is a mini-business selling a variety of hand made products including polymer clay bead key chains, lanyards, necklaces, earrings and tie-dye clothing and environmental bags. Students were involved in the development and design of the business logo and products, through to the marketing and sales. Join us to find out more about their learning journey.


Jodie Webb is the VCAL coordinator at Wangaratta District Specialist School where she has taught VCAL since 2013, initially as the Literacy teacher, and now teaching all VCAL strands. She loves the varied VCAL curriculum which enables her to be flexible in her planning and delivery. ‘It’s fantastic to see students engaged in their learning, and learning through ‘hands on’, ‘real life’ activities’.

2.45 pm Check-in to accommodation

Transport from the Golf Club to accommodation (central Echuca) will be self-drive/carpooling)

4.00 pm Port of Echuca Discovery Centre and Historical Society

Accommodation to Discovery centre/Paddle steamer is walking distance.

Port of Echuca and Discovery Centre website

Meet us at the Discovery Centre in the historic Port of Echuca to trace the history of Echuca’s 19th-century river wharf, shipbuilders & sawmills. Be inspired and start exploring how you can bring your own local history into your classrooms.

5.00 pm Stepping back in time – Great Gatsby style

A short stroll from the Discovery Centre, we will arrive at the Port of Echuca where the PS Canberra will lay under steam ready to take us on a memorable journey on the Murray River

‘Stepping back in time – Great Gatsby Style’, celebrates the learning journey of the 2019 VCAL students, who stepped back in time to explore the history of the Port of Echuca.

A real feast for the senses, with inspiring VCAL stories, sharing of ideas and experiences on the menu as well a delicious spread of food and beverages. This evening will provide many opportunities to share stories, exchange engaging program ideas and build networks with your fellow VCAL teachers whilst absorbing the breathtaking views from aboard the PS Canberra!

Join us for a night of reflection, celebration and newly found friendships hosted by ESS’s VCAL students.

Dress code: Great Gatsby style

7.30 pm onwards – Fireside chats (optional)

Friday, May 3, 2019

9.30 am – Assemble at the Echuca Basketball Stadium. (parking available)

Friday morning participants self-drive/carpool to Echuca Basketball Stadium and leave the car there.


Travel by coach to the Twin Rivers Café

At the Twin Rivers café students learn barista, food and money handling skills by providing a functional café (small business) for members of the Twin Rivers School and wider Echuca community.

Students will present on their experience of working in the Twin Rivers Cafe

10.30 am Morning tea provided by ESS VCAL students

11.00 am Travel by coach to the Dairy Goat Farm

Each week, students travel to the farm to their classroom outside the classroom. Students will show us around the farm and explain different aspects of the farm and how they are developing work related skills specific to the farming industry.

1.30 pm Travel by coach to Echuca (packed lunch provided)

2.15 pm Return to Echuca

Participants will be dropped of at Echuca Basketball Stadium. Those travelling by train will be dropped off at the station.