Shaping the WIL Vision Creating and sustaining WIL relationships Fostering WIL engagement Communicating and influencing Driving organisational outcomes WIL Context

The WIL Leadership Framework

WIL Leadership Vignette 09:

Working with industry partners to avert future school tragedies



Jim O'Kelly
University of Western Sydney

What was learned from this:

  • Engage early with WIL partners and work together to overcome common challenges and risks.
  • Keep all stakeholders informed. Effectively communicate with students, by providing context, background, rationale and clear instructions on how to meet prerequisite practicum special requirements.
  • Utilise and share specialist expertise to develop practical and sustainable process and system solutions.
  • It was evident individual School Principals see student well being as paramount, so be prepared to plan, act, and operationalise new processes and systems well before mandated deadlines.

Context of the event, experience or activity:

A tragic incident occurred in a state High School, where a 16 year old boy with a nut allergy died. He went into anaphylactic shock after he ate a biscuit baked by other students in a cooking class. This triggered changes in how schools deal with students who have dangerous allergies. In December 2012 the Director General of the NSW Department of Education and Communities (DEC), mandated the requirement for pre-service teachers to complete, by Semester 2, 2013, the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (ASCIA) anaphylaxis e-training course, prior to undertaking their practicum.

Description of the event, experience or activity:

At the beginning of the 2013 Academic year, it seemed there was at least six (6) months until Semester 2, 2013, to develop and implement new robust processes and systems to notify our pre-service teachers of this new prerequisite special requirement and capture, record and retrieve student completions. However it soon became apparent in February, 2013, when seeking Semester 1 placements this was not the case. Despite the Semester 2 timeframe from the DEC, a range of schools advised they would not accept any pre-service teacher for a Semester 1, 2013 practicum if they had not successfully completed the ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training course. Now faced with extremely shortened timelines in which to cater for this new requirement, we immediately began within the SOE to strategise and determine a course of action. It was obvious from the outset of our initial discussions, a solution would require engagement, consultation and input of a number of Schools/Divisions and Departments from within the University.


Following consultations with other Schools within the University, and with the cooperation of IT Services and the Academic Registrars office, a timely and automated solution, to meet the needs of all stakeholders was realised, despite the limited timeframe. Our Pre-service teachers were provided via electronic noticeboards with comprehensive information of the new requirement. Student had more than sufficient time to successfully complete the ASCIA anaphylaxis e-training course, become informed on the subject and lodge via email to a designated “drop-box” their certificate of course completion. Electronic lodgement of student course completions facilitated the capture of such onto the Student Management database and made for efficient recording and retrieval processes.

Jim O'Kelly is the Professional Experience Manager within the School of Education (SOE).





Last Update: 23 April, 2014
Reference: Page 23